Hello once again, readers. Today’s post is happening slightly later than usual today, it’s ten to one in the morning here as I post this. The reason for that is the fact that I have had a bit of an odd day with various things going on, no less the fight I had with Jahshaka video editing software before deciding “fuck it, I’m using Windows Movie Maker”, hence I have had a little bit of a block today and I really didn’t know what to write about. I sort of got the vlog entry up and went to the blog, only to find my mind completely devoid of anything; an interesting, if not slightly alarming experience. However, it dawned on me, that, whilst I have spoken about Scottish Independence and said that I am in favour of independence, I have never really said why. So here it goes.
It’s a question people all over Scotland ask each other; “Are you for independence, then?” And very often the political debate ends there and then with a simple yes/no answer. Occasionally you will come across someone who is genuinely interested and wants a discussion on the matter, however this generally only happens once every blue moon, which sadly means when one does get asked “why?”, it becomes difficult to formulate a coherent answer.
The fact is, that there are lot’s of reasons to support independence for Scotland, and worshiping Alex Salmond and hating the English are not among them. To put it simply, the main reason behind saying yes, for me at least, is a chance for change.
To me, saying no to independence will mean that nothing changes, now that may sound rather trivial to most people, but to me, that’s quite a big deal. You see, the Union represents an old idea, one that has refused to change to any great deal over the last number of centuries and is now beginning to pay the price, and to say, “no, we don’t want change from this” is to me the height of political apathy. The UK is now one of the most unequal countries in the world in terms of wealth, it has levels of unemployment that refuse to decrease to any real degree, and it is still stuck in the same financial mess that presented itself in 2008.
In Scotland, we are told by the UK government that we matter and that our opinions will be heard, but they are not; Scottish politics have traditionally been quite different to English politics, with the people having different needs and wants. Under the current system, because England is the largest constituent country, it has more sway and it’s opinions are listen to above those of the Scottish, or indeed Welsh and Norther Irish views. Westminster is so far removed from Scotland, that it’s no wonder only 18% of people surveyed in September of 2012 in Scotland felt confident in Westminster to run Scotland’s affairs.
Devolution has given Scotland a good start, it has allowed us to run a number of our own affairs, from Healthcare to tuition, to transport etc. However there are still fundamental powers that the Scottish government lacks, chiefly, the ability to raise its own revenue. Scotland relies on being handed money by Westminster, money that is raised in Scotland and sent to Westminster, only to have a slightly smaller amount sent back. The Scottish Parliament has proved that it can govern Scotland and serve the interests of the Scottish people, Westminster has proven that it cannot do the same, so why shouldn’t we have Holyrood running the show?
What annoys me most, is that the UK bang on about democracy across the world, yet at home, it’s non-existent. The most democratic way to run things is to have the people of a country able to run their own affairs, with a government voted for by them. Yet it’s not the case here. Whilst the Scottish Parliament is made up of the people we voted for as Scots, it still doesn’t hold the reigns. In Scotland, in the past three or four decades, we have voted Labour most of the time in Scotland, yet we are constantly landed with Tory governments, more recently the coalition government which none of us vote for – Scotland voted overwhelmingly in favour of Labour, with the Highlands and Islands going Lib Dem. However, even the Lib Dem voters were landed with a Tory government when the party they supported jumped into bed with David Cameron in a desperate bid to get into government for once.
That then leaves Scotland being ruled by Westminster by a government that it didn’t vote for, yet still gets the final say on all the important issues affecting Scotland. The Scottish Government, that being the people we actually voted for, on the other hand, has basic powers and is constantly at the mercy of Westminster regarding spending, and anything they feel is too important for us silly Scots to manage on our own.
But to go back to my original point, what is it for me is change, and a chance to make things better. People on the other side of the fence accuse the Yes Voters of being blinded by nationalism, there seems to be this idea that we think once we vote yes, things automatically get better. We know that they won’t get better overnight, but with full powers given to the Scottish people to govern themselves, we get a chance at making the real changes we want to see. We know that there is a long road after independence to making things better, it’s going to be a struggle, of that there is no doubt. However given the other option, which is sitting in a mess, complaining about it and digging ourselves in deeper, it is a chance I would take.
The idea that we are all nationalists with no real idea of what we’re doing is, to me, quite insulting, but I’ve come to expect that from Westminster. Most of us are not nationalists, but people who simply want the chance to make their own decisions and make their own way in the world. To me, the nationalists in this debate are the Better Together lot, clinging onto an old idea for the sake of our past and traditions, choosing to ignore the problems in the old system purely because the idea of change from their norm terrifies them.
I’m not in it for oil, for nationalism, for separatism, for nationalism, or even for watching Britain crumble (we’re apparently all evil and brainwashed that way). I am in it for a chance, a chance at change and a better tomorrow for the people of Scotland. For me, Yes is the future.
Anyway, that’s all for me just now, please do feel free to keep the debate going in the comments, tell me how you’ll be voting and why, and until next time, thanks for reading.
Post Script: I know that this has actually gone up very late now, but it got to two in the morning while I was writing this and I sort of just went to bed… still it’s up now, isn’t it?