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Why Scotland? – The Hitchhikers’ Guide To Scottish Independence (Part 5)

September 17, 2014

And so the day is almost upon us. The most interesting, and most important, thing that has happened to our country in 307 years. There might not be another time like this again, or at least not in our lifetimes. The campaign has lasted for over two years. In the course of it a huge number of people have become engaged, many of them people who have never voted before. People who have always felt disenfranchised, alienated from the political process. We’ve discussed the issues and, in this series, the importance of history, politics and economics. Now that we come to what may be the last hours of the Union, what have we learned? And what, finally, does it all come down to?

Who Do We Think We Are?

I believe that is the first question we must ask ourselves. Scottish or British? Can we in any way feel that we are one people within these islands? This is not merely a question of identity, important though that is. It’s also a question of society, of community. Here’s how I see it.

I am Scottish. Passionately so. Head, heart and soul. I am not UKish. My loyalties lie with Scotland, first and foremost. I believe that is the feeling of most of my compatriots. I am British only in the sense that I am a native of these islands, and to the extent that I am also a product of a certain amount of shared culture. You know, Doctor Who and all that, the BBC (as it once was, not the travesty it has become in the course of this campaign), the Guardian, etc. But then I am also a European, not EUish. The UK is not a country, not a nation, any more than the EU is. It, like the EU, is a union. No amount of threats and promises will ever change that. We have been a part of this union for 307 years. You’d think if it was going to catch on, if it was going to result in a shared identity, it would have happened by now. It categorically has not. We are not one people.

We are not one society. We know this because we are not one body politic. The political landscape is distinctly different, with different parties. The one party that is a serious force in both Holyrood and Westminster is finding that its own supporters in Scotland are increasingly inclined to vote ‘Yes’ because they feel that the Westminster Labour Party is no longer the Labour party they want to vote for. They are as a result falling out of love with it. Many of them, including many party members, now feel that the best way to regenerate that party, to bring it back to its roots and to the values it once represented, is to separate it forcibly from the corruption and decadence of Westminster, an aim that can only be achieved through independence.

We are not one community either. We have different values. Sure, some people in England, and particularly in the North, do have values similar to our own, but not enough of them. Even if we and they work together politically speaking there are still not enough of us to constitute a majority. So we end up with governments we do not elect. Not always, but since the war more than half of the time. That is unacceptable. We want a society, and a community, that reflects our values. All of the time.

We are not one economy. We are really quite different in this respect too. Scotland is an exporting country, England is an importing country, to a massive degree. The two economies are so different in fact that they cannot be successfully managed as one. We have seen this divergence increase over the last thirty five years, and this has resulted in a decline of catastrophic proportions in our Scottish economy, while London and the South East, for whom UK economic policies are designed, have prospered. We have the fundamentals to prosper too, but only if our economy is managed appropriately for its characteristics. That has not been happening and does not appear likely to happen in the future whilst we remain in the UK.

There Are No Risks!

Despite all the lies you have been told by Unionist politicians, which have been accepted and regurgitated unquestioningly by a tame, compliant mainstream media, there are no inherent downside risks to Scotland associated with independence. All the downside risks are actually to the English economy, because of the massive effective subsidy it receives from Scotland (as discussed in Part 4), and to the personal fortunes of those politicians themselves. Especially the Scottish ones. They know that they will lose access to the gravy train that is Westminster corruption and the trough that is the House of Lords. This is why, despite their origins, they are so ready to lie to us and argue against the interests of their own country. They know that system is not replicated at Holyrood, and that any attempt to introduce it would not be tolerated by the Scottish electorate.

None of the so-called ‘risks’ they have warned us about are real. They are entirely invented, and what’s more the people telling us that they are real must know this. They are not stupid people. You might be forgiven for thinking that they are given the standard of the arguments they deploy, but we know that they are the products of some of our finest educational institutions. Have they deluded themselves? Are they experiencing cognitive dissonance? Possibly. All we can be certain of is that they are lying to us, consistently and apparently shamelessly, with the possible exception of Alistair Darling, who blinks furiously when he is lying, which means pretty much every time he opens his mouth. He’d make a lousy poker player with such an obvious ‘tell’ but that has not prevented the ‘No’ campaign continuing to leave many leadership tasks, including the most important of the debates, to him for far longer than many of us, including myself, thought that they would. Only in the last couple of weeks have they drafted in his former boss Gordon Brown, a far better liar, to attempt to persuade us that a bunch of rehashed empty promises actually represent the ‘better offer’ that they have not been prepared to make us all along.

Devo-max or Devo-nix?

We have heard a great deal in the last two weeks about ‘more powers’ and ‘greater autonomy’ if we vote ‘No.’ But the so-called increased autonomy that has been ‘promised’ is meaningless unless it’s legislated before the referendum. And it’s a bit late for that. After a ‘No’ vote there would be absolutely no need to honour those ‘commitments’ and they would never get through Westminster in a million years. We have already heard the voices of backbench revolt raised in the Conservative Party. Gordon Brown, the front man for this last ditch attempt to sway us and weaken our resolve, is of course himself only a backbencher these days, and an opposition one at that. And in any case, they are not new, just re-hashed versions of things said, and discounted, months ago. They very much fall under the heading of ‘Same shit, different bucket.’

So Who Do We Want To Be?

I stopped writing this at about six this morning, thinking I’d get a few hours of nervous sleep before returning for my final rhetorical flourish. But sometimes you get lucky. Sometimes someone else says exactly what you want to say, and says it with a measure of eloquence that you could never hope to surpass. When I got up, this was waiting in my inbox, sent to me by a friend. Sometimes the best political speeches are made by actors. They have the delivery skills to make it sound the way it should. This was made by Scotland’s David Hayman, inspired by Charlie Chaplin’s ‘The Great Dictator.’ I’ll be honest, it had me in tears by the time it was over. It speaks of a future pregnant with possibilities, potential and promise. This is the Scotland I want to see. The kind of country I’d be proud to leave to my children, and their descendants. Please watch it. I defy anyone who loves this nation of ours to view it without being moved by it.

 

Other articles in this series:

The Hitchhikers’ Guide To Scottish Independence (Part 1)

The Hitchhikers’ Guide To Scottish Independence (Part 2 – History)

The Hitchhikers’ Guide To Scottish Independence (Part 3 – Politics)

The Hitchhikers’ Guide To Scottish Independence (Part 4 – Economics)

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