Good evening readers! I know I said that this would likely be going up at the weekend, but as it happens, I have time now, so I might as well get on with another bit of Yes based rambling. The main reason for this is that, as I said in my last post, a number of cinemas across Scotland are now refusing to show Independence Referendum related campaign material following complaints from people watching the films. The number one reason for such complaints is that people are sick and tired of being bombarded with material from both sides, many of them are likely confused by the sheer volume of “facts” and “information” being thrown at them. Another reason was when I discovered just how many of my close friends intend to vote “no”. In response, I felt it would be a dashed good idea to put up a very simple reasoning behind why I am voting “yes” and why I believe that you should too.
If you’re undecided or a “no” voter, I beseech you read on. Show you have the strength of character to listen to the opposing view once in a while, show that you have the character lacked by our politicians.
So what is this very simple reasoning? Well, it was actually in the Sunday Herald a few weeks back – to quote them; “The Prize is a Better Country. It’s as Simple as That.” Frankly, the Sunday Herald said what most of us are thinking and very well too, it gave a sound and simply argument that the politicians, in all of their debates, questions and arguments, could not. This basic stance has been the reasoning behind my desire for Scottish Independence from the day the SNP got into government in 2007.
There are many fears about Independence that have been put about, most of which have some basis. For example, what currency would we use? This is a burning question that even I have wanted answers on. We were told point blank by the Chancellor of the Exchequer that a currency union was out of the question, only to have his answer crumble to pieces under scrutiny from various financial lawyers and institutions. Secondly, the United Kingdom is quite powerless to stop Scotland continuing to use Sterling after independence outside of a formal currency union.
What about the European Union? From various polls, surveys and various elections, Scotland can be seen to be much more pro-Europe than England. We are told then that in 2017 we will be subject to an in-out referendum on Europe during which Scotland may well be dragged out of Europe unwillingly. Then we are told that Scotland, independent, would have to reapply for EU membership (i.e., get the boot upon Independence and have to renegotiate entry). This has been shot down by a number of legal experts and leading EU politicians. Scotland outside of the EU would cause more hassle than good given how much trade, money and resources flow between Scotland and the rest of Europe, there is also no real legal precedent for removing part of an existing member and forcing negotiations for re-entry.
My point is this, there have been many scare stories spun by Better Together, most of which unravel quite easily. This is not mentioning the lies cast out by No Borders and a certain Chief Secretary to the Treasury. That is not to say that an independent Scotland would have no worries, to say that would be callus and downright stupid. We will face uncertainty and dilemmas along the way, but these are nothing in comparison to what we face as part of the United Kingdom.
The United Kingdom is currently the 4th most unequal country in the developed world. Now, that might just sound like a slogan that someone with dreadlocks and a colourful tee-shirt came up with, but it’s rather sadly based on cold hard numbers. We just need to look at the recent news of the number of billionaires residing in London, the increasing wealth of our richest people; follow this with a quick glimpse at the inner city streets and high-rise blocks in Glasgow and Dundee – just quick glimpse, mind, wouldn’t want to make you feel too uncomfortable, would we?
For the decades since the discovery of North Sea oil and gas, Norway has been putting money into an oil fund to save for a rainy day. Currently this oil fund is valued at over 853 billion dollars. That’s $853’900’000’000 in the pocket of the Norwegian Government to provide for its people as and when the time demands it. The United Kingdom, after hiding the true projected size and values of the oil fields for fear that the Scots might actually want a piece of it, proceeded to set up no such oil fund and squandered the money away, with Scotland seeing not so much as a drop of it.
As for the Scots mooching off of the English, for each of the past 33 years, Scots have contributed more money per head in taxation to the United Kingdom treasury than any of the other constituent countries. A Government Expenditure and Revenue in Scotland report in November of 2011 showed that on average, Scots produced 9.9% of the total tax based income of the United Kingdom, this is despite Scotland only being home to 8.3% of the total population of the United Kingdom.
The fact is, that whilst the UK is currently the 4th most unequal country in the world, an independent Scotland – should it use its resources properly – would stand to be the 8th most wealthy country in the world. That’s not a bad wee leap, eh? I do apologise, enough numbers.
You look at Europe, in the UK, there’s uncertainty there. Wealth and income inequality, increasing austerity measures… well there’s almost certainty there, but not in a very reassuring manner. At best, remaining in the UK gives us the status-quo, which is not something I particularly like. At the worst, Scotland voting “no” could be seen as a mandate for the Westminster government to begin stripping powers from Holyrood and destroying much of what we have fought so hard for already.
People tell me that they have concerns about independence and ask why should they vote for it if there is so much uncertainty. The truth is that there is more uncertainty on the side of Better Together than they’d let on. Independence comes with many questions, but one thing is certain with independence: We will have the chance to change our country for the better.
We will be given a chance to say no to nuclear weapons, no to foreign wars, no to further rightward leaning governments, no to austerity, no to increased privatisation of our essential services, no to increasing wage gaps and wealth inequality. We will be given the chance to say yes to free heath care, yes to the European Union, yes to a peaceful and prosperous Scotland.
What’s more, we will be saying no to a government where we, as a nation, are represented by less than 10% of the representatives, that sits hundreds of miles away in a city a world apart from our country. A government where, no matter how Scotland votes, England will always have an overwhelming majority with no kind of accountability to the Scottish People.
Instead we will be saying yes to a government based close by, in our land, where 100% of the representatives are voted for by our people. A government where all the representatives can be held to account by the Scottish People and that can be changed should we not like it.
It really is as simple as putting the future of Scotland into the hands of the People of Scotland. A Better Country, as Simple as that. In around 100 days, we shall be faced with the most important decision that we, as a country, will likely ever make, and I do sincerely hope that we do not shy away from the challenge through fear of the unknown.
I shall leave a link to the Sunday Herald’s editorial at the end as it argues this case to a far greater degreee of eloquence than that which I could ever hope to.
If you’ve read this far, especially if you’re undecided, wavering, BT, or even a Yes supporter, I thank you heartily and ask that you take a moment or two to share this article, comment your thoughts and generally make your opinion known. But once again, thank you my dear readers. Have a wonderful weekend.
[ Link to Sunday Herald Editorial, 04/May/2014; http://www.heraldscotland.com/comment/sunday-herald-view/the-prize-is-a-better-country-it-is-as-simple-as-that-why-the-sunday-hera.24133829 ]