2007 - 2020

Don’t Know 6

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Every night on the news recently, we’ve been exposed to the barbarism of civil war in Syria – rebels fight for their freedom from an oppressed Government, willing to lay down their lives for the cause. It serves as a reminder as to how fortunate we are to have been born British, into civilised society, where democracy matters. The question for me, and every other Scot, is whether we’ll die British.

A perfect storm is brewing. A nationalist Government is putting Scotland’s interests first, while in Westminster, coalition policies have provoked anger not seen since the poll tax. And here’s someone dangling a piece of paper in front of me, saying ‘put your X next to that “yes” box and all that will disappear – you will never again be governed by Tories.’

And I won’t be. That at least, I’m certain of. Scotland has a greater socialist disposition than England and while it may have once leant to the right, I can’t see it swinging back there in my lifetime. So, can a socialist democratic country thrive? Yes. Can Scotland be that country? Yes! It must be a Yes vote then?

Well, no. Not yet. There’s a list of questions in my head the length of Hadrian’s Wall. There is commendable passion on the Yes side, their argument is louder and that can give the misconception that it is the better argument. If you’re voting with your heart, for ideological reasons, then your mind was made up long before September 18th became a date etched in future history. I’m voting for what I think will provide me and my family with the brightest future and I don’t know what that is, because neither side has presented a reasoned case to me yet.

But it’s impossible to be emotionally detached. For a start, I don’t like the Scottish Government. I find them arrogant, dictatorial. A Government is there to educate, not dictate and the SNP, since gaining a majority at the last election, has been increasingly unwilling to listen to anything that doesn’t fit their agenda. For me, this has been proven through an arrogance over questions on Scotland’s place in the EU and the currency an independent Scotland would adopt.

I’m aware I can vote Yes in 2014, then Labour in 2016 – but the Labour party in 2016 is a far greater unknown than independence itself. A party still recovering from an election defeat six years ago does not fill me with hope. In short, I fear Scotland will become a one party state. Another quandary then.

And so I sit on the fence. I need answers. More than I could list here. Hopefully November’s White Paper will provide them. In the hoopla and excitement it’s easy to forget there is still over a year to go until this vote – let’s hope both parties put posturing aside and paint a picture that people like me need to study intently in order to make an informed choice that we believe to be our best interests.

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  1. Boorach says:

    The first step has got to be that YES vote after that the country is what we the people choose to make it. There will be political parties of all hues and 2016 is when the real changes will begin as we vote for the actual policies which will map Scotland’s future.

  2. Les says:

    If the people vote ‘Yes’ in 2014 then a new centre left party and a new centre right party will evolve between that point and the first ever independent Scots general election in 2016.

    1. Very likely. Given the focus on irrelevant minutiae of the hypothetical post-independence Scotland, there has been very little comment on the future democratic debates. Personally I find the idea of meaningful elections quite enticing.

  3. Recently I have came to the conclusion that we the people of this country are no longer citizens,with rights and aspirations,but commodities to be used and then discarded,and this will get worse unless we break the disgusting Westminster Party,independence for Scotland will go a long way to getting rid of these people who suck the very life from all the workers.

  4. Cath says:

    I suspect hoping for the current Westminster Labour party to come up with any policies for a post independence Scotland is futile. Unless they have a radical conversion and break free of Westminster, it’s not in their interests to even provide any discussion about what they’d stand for post independence: they stand for independence not happening, sticking their fingers in their ears and praying their “one nation” strategy leaves their MPs in jobs. They are veering ever further to the right to win in the South East and “Scottish” Labour are going along with that.

    Best to look towards those who are thinking about more radical, left wing and traditional Labour policies, such as the Jimmy Reid Foundation, Radical Independence, Trade Unions for independence, and those in the Labour party who are less against (of whom there are quite a few, not just the official Labour for Indy). These groups are more likely to make up a real, independent Scottish Labour/left grouping post independence, and a lot of what they’re doing is pretty exciting. Check out the Jimmy Reid Foundations Common Weal project, for one example.

  5. polwarthian says:

    Kevin,
    You seem so disillusioned with the Labour party, recognising that they have completely lost their way in Scotland, yet still you seem to cling to the labour party anti-SNP hatred, which blinds them to the reality that the SNP’s policies are shaped by the same core socialist values which used to underpin Labour.

    The word and phrases you use in the paragraph where you describe the Scottish Government do seem shaped by the daily demonisation process that Labour has embarked on. They have succeeded in persuading people that the SNP are somehow dictatorial, simply by following the democratic process. Don’t fall into the trap of repeating Labour’s new reality that black is white – you seem much smarter than that.

  6. keirliddle says:

    The idea of a future Scitland being a one party state seems distinctly untenable.

    Given the more proportional electoral system we have in Scotland the SNP landslide last time round seems distinctly unlikely to be repeated. It is also worth noting that for Westminster and European elections voting intentions and voting patterns are entirely different.

    Scotland would become, in the event of independence, a country run by coalitions. Now that might be a scary proposition to some (who favour “strong” governments over alternatives) but ignores that even under a FPTP system political parties are in effect coalitions of a broad spectrum of views. The difference between a coalition government and a political party is that the compromises that each arrive at in forming policy are either decided at party conferences or with the influence of the ballot box.

    An independent Scotland could be ruled over by a politics of coalitions, compromise and consensus rather than back and forth point scoring.

    Not that this would disagree but by design the Scottish parliament would represent more people’s views.

    The idea of a “one party state” Scotland is little more than a fantasy.

  7. Dave mcewan Hill says:

    I would be verycareful about deciding who are the good gys and who are the bad guys in Syria. I suspect that the “rebels” may be acting with the connivance and support of US and UK who see Syria’s support for Iran as reason enough to bring Assad down. The Syrian regime is not particularly oppressive by Middle Eastern standards and many of Iraq’s now persecuted Christian minority have found asylum there

  8. thomas says:

    Ignoring the presumed typo in the first sentence –oppressed should be oppressive? Important as it changes the entire meaning of the sentence, from simply the mendacious to totally absurd

    There isn’t and never was a civil war in Syria, there are around 10,000 outsider mercenaries, finanched and armed by amongst others, the UK, US, Quatar, Saudi Arabia, Israel, wreaking havoc in what was a stable, secular, socialist multi-faith and multi-sect society.

    Obviously you’ve had too much exposure to the BBC and other elite-stream media, pumping bare faced lies over the real circumstances surrounding the events in Syria.

    Your entire article is prefaced by an outrageous lie. It follows from that anything you may say thereafter should be treated with scepticism and suspicion. Reading on -it seems incoherent and irrational and clueless as expected.

    You’re not sitting on the fence, you’re off and running, trailing impenetrable clouds of FUD.

    You’re unredeemable and very much part of the problem.

    1. Dave mcewan Hill says:

      Exactly, Thomas

    2. andyshall says:

      http://www.lrb.co.uk/v35/n11/patrick-cockburn/is-it-the-end-of-sykes-picot

      If you can get past this being published in a (shock, horror) English publication then read it and get over your Stalinist drivel.

  9. BPowell says:

    Words like ‘arrogance’ and ‘one party state’ makes me wonder if the author has been examining what has been going on in politics in Scotland and the UK.
    Labour behaves as if it owns the Labour vote in Scotland. Over decades they have made political capital from the Thatcher policies and the damage they did in Scotland but have done little to reverse these or repair the damage. It simply used Thatcher to ensure their own re-election.
    Labour voters would have their own say in an Independent Scotland.

  10. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    They did exactly that as Thatcher destroyed the Scottish steel industry. The “feeble fifty” made a bit of noise but watched with satisfaction as this went on knowing that it would guarantee extra votes for them. The could have told Thatcher to stop or they would come home and set up a free Scottish parliament. With a huge parliamentary Scottish majority they could have genuinely made this threat and saved Scottish Steel but only the late Allen Adams expressed any support for that. Feeble indeed then and feeble today

  11. Doug Daniel says:

    “For me, this has been proven through an arrogance over questions on Scotland’s place in the EU and the currency an independent Scotland would adopt.”

    Why is it arrogant? They’ve stated their position, and are ready to be proven wrong by asking the European Commission and the Bank Of England. Conversely, Westminster says “you’ll get kicked out of the EU and a Sterling zone is a preposterous idea – and we don’t need to ask the EC or the BoE to prove it”. I know which government is being arrogant, and it’s not the one in Edinburgh.

    “I’m aware I can vote Yes in 2014, then Labour in 2016 – but the Labour party in 2016 is a far greater unknown than independence itself. A party still recovering from an election defeat six years ago does not fill me with hope. In short, I fear Scotland will become a one party state. Another quandary then.”

    There are several problems with this. It relies on the SNP retaining the level of support they got in 2011, which is unlikely because even lifelong SNP supporters like me are liable to switch parties post-independence. If the SNP don’t offer something more progressive than cutting corporation tax, then I’ll be giving my vote to whoever offers things like increasing the top rate of income tax, changing Council Tax for LVT or local income tax, nationalising the trains and making buses free. In fact, I’ll vote for anyone who offers a referendum on the monarchy.

    There’s no reason to think Scotland will be even a two-party state, never mind a one-party state. Few countries in Europe (if any) operate anything other than a genuine multi-party system – mainly because the UK and Belarus are the only two countries in the whole of Europe still to use FPTP.

    Also, what makes a post-No Labour party any less of an unknown than a post-Yes Labour party? Well, I suppose there is one thing – having “beaten the SNP” (which is how they’ll see a No vote), they’ll decide it’s a massive vote in confidence in them, and carry on as they were. The only sign of life in Scottish Labour at the moment is Labour For Indy – with a Yes vote, there’s a great chance for Labour to get back to its roots; with a No vote, it’s just Ed Miliband’s dire “One Nation” Tory-lite nonsense.

    1. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      Doug Is entirely right and I am with him on all of his ambitions for the type of government we will have in a new Scotland but other people have other political ambitions. We need to carry them all over the line in the confident knowledge that their objectives wil be given every opportunity to seek support in an independent Scotland. We’re all on the same bus at the moment but we’re not all going to the same hoose when we get off at the terminus. It’s getting to the terminus that unites us at the moment.

    2. Macart says:

      Very much ditto. The political opportunities offered by an independent Scotland are huge. It should be a time of ideas as Holyrood reforms itself into a parliament and politics to fit a 21st century Scottish democracy.

      The alternative? The position of better the devil you know? Its not an argument anymore, its the position of those afraid to try in case they fail.

  12. pmcrek says:

    There are a few certainties about a no vote, 50,000 kids will be living in poverty by 2020, inequality will steadily increase and the private sector will continue to encroach on public services such as health/education and policing.

    Personally I see a yes vote as an opportunity to build a better country, while it doesnt necessarily mean we will, we have to take the chance because not only can we do so much better, frankly, we cannie dae much wurse.

  13. Fay Kennedy says:

    Is there still a 4th. world Charity shop in High Street Glasgow? I seem to remember seeing that some years ago when I came back to my home town to visit. The shame of seeing that still haunts. A yes vote is the only logical and decent vote to make.

  14. I’m not sure that it has been a privilege to have been born British at all. Britain is affected by a post imperialist hangover which hangs over every foreign policy decision. An independent Scotland gives a chance for a fresh start and a new democratic space. Beyond that yes initially Scotland will most likely be on the greenish left but that may not hold for ever. The real question is whether Scotland can thrive when foreign policy and defence, benefits etc are all controlled by a Government in London where 82% of the MP’s are English. I don’t think it can and I believe we can do better.

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