Reflecting on Generation Yes

bijj9chieaa8vxxA newly politicized generation? We continue our series exploring the legacy of the referendum.

As young voters worldwide increasingly fail to use their vote, Scotland seems to have bucked the trend and politically mobilized a new generation of active voters keen to have their voice heard. The turning point came from the 2014 Scottish Referendum, the outcome of which was a profound moment for every Scot. ‘No’ campaigners breathed an uneasy sigh of relief knowing how close a call it had been, while pictures of distraught young ‘Yes’ campaigners with patriotic painted faces and Scottish flags were strewn across every newspaper’s front page. Never before has Scotland, let alone the UK, witnessed such an active political force of young people. Social media forums were filled with ‘#indyref’ in the weeks leading up to the vote and every corner of Scotland was buzzing with political debate and discussion. Described as a “strange, quirky outlier” in the realm of politics, the referendum recorded an astonishing turnout of 84.5 percent. (1)

What took most onlookers by surprise was the remarkable engagement of young people. Often bemoaned as politically disengaged and apathetic, the turnout for young voters was expected to remain low despite 16- and 17-year-olds being enfranchised for the first time. Yet it was these young voters that led the charge for their chosen side with 69 percent of 16-34 year-olds voting in the referendum – a remarkable 20 percent rise from the turnout of 18-34 year olds who voted in the 2010 General Election. (2) Many assumed this was an anomaly and considered lasting change merely “wishful thinking”. However such skeptics were effectively silenced following the 2015 UK General Election when Scotland recorded the highest turnout in the UK at 71.1 percent, a considerable rise from 63.8 percent in 2010. The young voter turnout in the whole of the UK rose from 44 percent in 2010 to 58 percent in 2015 and though official figures haven’t been published, it is widely believed that the higher political activity among youths in Scotland has vastly distorted the figures. Political Education for Students claims that if Scotland were removed from the 2015 General Election statistics, then the figures for both the overall and young voter turnout would decrease. (3) The resulting landslide saw the Scottish National Party (SNP) win 56 out of the 59 available seats for Scotland in Westminster. Young Scots (the majority of which voted yes in the referendum) seemed not to have been disillusioned with politics following their loss, but rather converted their engagement in the referendum into sustained political interest.

This turnaround remains a significant event in British politics and certain aspects of it offer lessons for all democratic states attempting to generate increased engagement with voters. Firstly, is it possible to assess how the young generation of voters became successfully engaged? Secondly, what legacy does this leave? Finally, what were the limits to success and what enduring lessons can other states learn?

Capturing the youths’ attention and more importantly their vote, has been a long-standing topic of debate in politics. Since both voting and abstention are habit-forming, (4) the importance of seizing the political attention of voters when they are young cannot be understated. Exactly how the SNP mobilized the younger generation should therefore be of interest and value to every democratic state. I would argue that the explanation is twofold – a result of the newfound sense of political power young voters felt in the referendum, and of the tactical campaigning and candidate demographic exercised by the SNP. ‘Should Scotland be an independent country?’ was one of the most important and daunting questions Scotland has asked itself since the new millennium. Such a profound question appeared to transcend daily politics, and gave young voters a sense of empowerment they had rarely been trusted with before. Enfranchising 16- and 17-year-olds delivered a strong message of faith in the maturity and political value of young adults, which they did not fail to recognize and respond to. Though the majority of young voters supported the ‘yes’ campaign, the vote was not about nationalistic idealism – it was about what people believed offered them the best future. The younger the voter, the longer they would have to live in a potentially independent Scotland. The significance of this was reflected in the manner of engagement. Social media generated heated debate among friends and strangers alike; cafes and bars became venues for discussion, town squares became platforms for speeches. As Dr. Craig McAngus from the University of Stirling explained, “…engagement in Scotland changed. People were sitting around talking about politics in ways that were different to the way they were before… The debate overtook the politics – the quality of the debate on the airwaves didn’t really reflect the quality of the debate on the ground, which was better.” (5)

For the first time among young voters, politics was no longer a taboo subject. For the SNP, the ace card played in the General Election was harnessing this feeling and fostering it. Their ‘Youth Manifesto’ established a commitment to supporting young people into employment, education, or training and pledging to extend the right to vote to 16- and 17-year-olds. SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon publicly stated “the biggest investment we can make in Scotland’s future is in our young people – and as First Minister I am determined to do everything I can to support and empower them.” (6) The demographic of the SNP’s candidates also reflected their commitment to young people. One of eight new SNP MPs under 30, Mhari Black is the youngest MP for over two centuries at just 20 years old. First-time voters suddenly didn’t feel so distanced from politicians, especially when they were often closer in age than their parents. The gap was bridged and thousands of young Scots began to cross it, leading to the emergence of the ‘Nats’ – an ever growing force of young SNP supporters. By redirecting the energy young voters had for the referendum to the General Election, the SNP proved how much impact young voters can have.

This leads to the question of the legacy left by the referendum and the likely consequences thereof. Among the possible outcomes is the permanent enfranchisement of 16- and 17-year-olds in future general elections. The referendum disproved the once-popular opinion that those below 18 are neither mature enough to know what they really want nor trustworthy enough to bother using their vote. Indeed, before the referendum 74 percent of 16- and 17-year-olds reported that they had sufficient information to decide how to vote, which was only 5 percent below that of adults. (7) The call to extend enfranchisement has consequently loudened and campaigns are mounting. Carwyn Jones, the Welsh First Minister stated “the case has been made much more strongly for 16-17 year-olds to get the vote more generally in elections across the UK… The mould has been broken and it now needs to be looked at with some urgency.” (8) A second possible outcome is another referendum. If youthful and national enthusiasm for the SNP continues to rise at the current rate, a UK vote to leave the EU in the upcoming referendum would most likely allow the call for another Scottish referendum to be answered. Since guaranteed EU membership was a critical argument for ‘no’ campaigners in the referendum, leaving the EU would probably prove to be an existential choice for the UK; if Britain leaves the EU, Scotland will leave Britain. Perhaps ‘yes’ campaigners may yet get to don their saltire flags and stickers again.

However, despite such significant progress caution must be exercised.

Complacency is dangerous since change will not last or develop unless politicians actively work to keep young voters interested. The rise in youth engagement in Scotland is indeed remarkable, but young voters still offer the lowest turnout in every election including the referendum. Significantly, where 16- and 17-year-olds presented a 75 percent turnout in the referendum, the turnout for 18-35 year-olds was only 69 percent. This highlights the importance of seizing the interest of young people long before they reach General Election enfranchisement age; failing to do so leads them to feel unappreciated and to fall into the habit of abstention. The power of the referendum came from its ability to make every generation in Scotland feel valued. This was especially true among first-time voters as young as 16-years-old, for whom the seeds were sown for continued engagement in years to come. Change may be developing, but breaking the habits of unenthused young voters whose first political experience was not the referendum will prove much more challenging. Nor should we simply assume youth engagement will naturally continue beyond the referendum and General Election. Participation in other elections such as the EU or local elections is likely to remain low since young voters still perceive their value to be vague and less tangible. There is therefore much work yet to be done and we certainly cannot congratulate ourselves on an outright, irreversible victory for youth political participation. What we can do, however, is remain cautiously optimistic that this is the beginning of real and lasting change in Scotland which can be encouraged and fostered in years to come.

There are a number of lessons that can be learned from the referendum in Scotland. The most critical of these is that political apathy among young people is not simply a given. The disinterest in politics seen worldwide among young adults is a direct result of exclusionary policies from parties who view them as relatively unimportant to an election outcome – it’s no coincidence that pension policies are always a higher priority than student policies when the voter turnout for the 55+ age group is usually at least 20 percent higher than their younger counterparts. This leads to a self-perpetuating cycle of exclusionary policies leading to apathy leading to further similar policies and so on. In order to stop this merry-go-round, young voters must be made to feel valued. Scotland has proven young people genuinely want to contribute to politics, but only when they are taken seriously. Policies must appeal to them in order to engage them and the SNP’s focus on improving future prospects for young adults was crucial to their success. Accepting and fostering this can lead to greater political participation and improved democracy. England would do well to take heed of such lessons rather than churlishly dismiss them as the result of some form of overhyped nationalist sentiment.

Tides are turning in Scotland. The SNP appear to have discovered the antidote to apathy among young voters and are rapidly gaining momentum. At 20 years old, I believe that I will live to see the day Scotland declares itself as independent. Whether or not I am for or against it is irrelevant; SNP have set the ball rolling and Nicola Sturgeon is proving a force to be reckoned with. A YouTube video of fellow 20-year-old Mhari Black’s maiden speech as an MP in Westminster posted on the 14 July gained nearly 200,000 views in just one day. In her surprisingly mature speech, she claimed “we [the SNP] have triumphed on a wave of hope.” It is on that wave that so many young Scots have seen the power of politics and their own voice.

Notes

1) http://www.channel4.com/news/scotland-voter-election-engagement-uk-debate-snp
2) http://www.channel4.com/news/scotland-voter-election-engagement-uk-debate-snp
3) http://pefs.co.uk/young-voter-turnout-rises-to-58-up-but-still-not-enough/
4) Goodyear-Grant, E. and Anderson, C. (2008) ‘Youth Turnout: Adolescents’ Attitudes in Ontario’, in Canadian Journal of Political Science, Vol 41:3, p. 697
5) http://www.channel4.com/news/scotland-voter-election-engagement-uk-debate-snp
6) http://www.snp.org/media-centre/news/2015/apr/snp-launch-manifesto-support-empower-youth
7) http://www.economist.com/news/britain/21654091-scotland-set-lower-voting-ageand-others-may-follow-ballots-bairns?zid=307&ah=5e80419d1bc9821ebe173f4f0f060a07
8) http://www.economist.com/news/britain/21654091-scotland-set-lower-voting-ageand-others-may-follow-ballots-bairns?zid=307&ah=5e80419d1bc9821ebe173f4f0f060a07

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  1. Neil says:

    I haven’t seen so much flagtabulous stuff since Ally McCloud said that Scotland would win the World Cup.

    If the majority of people are politically engaged, they will vote in council elections. If they don’t do that, its just pr and pop concerts. The last time there was a council election in Edinburgh, I think something like 80% of the electorate couldn’t give a toss.

    1. Brian Fleming says:

      Neil, it seems to me the proof of that particular pudding will come in 2017. For myself, I don’t care so much about the figures as long as the unionist parties get a good gubbing. They deserve it.

      1. Neil says:

        Do you think I should vote for a councilor based on bin cleaning and roads and schools, or on nationalism? I just can’t be bothered with the later mindset any more.

        1. leavergirl says:

          The article says that young people in Scotland vote to have their voices heard. There is a little truth in it, and a lot of fluff. Voting does very little to have one’s voice heard. There ought to be mechanisms locally, and regionally, and nationally, to have people set their own agenda as to what is being discussed, and have real input into those discussions, which would be collated and disseminated for all to see, and to have input into in the future if they so choose.

        2. muttley79 says:

          What nationalism are you referring to there Neil, Scottish or British?

  2. Jimbob says:

    Inspiring piece. If only the real world of politics were like this. Now that there has been a rush of positive hopeful democratic voices into the SNP, many have found themselves bullied into silence by the old warhorses and careerists (not all new kids on the block are Mhari Black) who feel their jobs threatened and the paranoia and insecurity of some SNP old guard is so disgraceful they have started a witch-hunt to find the entryist Leftists who have swarmed around them looking for open honest democratic debate and found out to their horror that in some narrow-minded places the SNP are as Stalinistic as the Labour careerists and want Yes Men and Yes Women who will lick their boots and grovel to the family dynasties set up in the days when only five or six lonely friends were the local snp branch. The fear and paranoia of some SNP old guard will force out and kill off much of the YES enthusiasm that still exists on Scottish political culture. Those in the snp who want boot-licking crawlers and new enthusiastic people to subsume their views to the old guard (some of these old guard are Tories! clad in tartan) are innately undemocratic. So there is a clash of cultures within the party and some of the old guard need to step aside and end their witch hunts.

    1. David Sangster says:

      I couldn’t agree more: I joined the Labour Party during the giddy whirl – giving away my age here – of the 1970 election in Edinburgh North as a rookie member of Team Robin Cook. I remember well the numbing sense of disappointment when, post election, I turned up at regular party meetings, encountering for the first time not only the old warhorses and careerists Jimbob refers to, but also the tedium of the formal meeting, with the Reading of the Minutes, the Secretary’s Report, the Treasurer’s Report, motions proposed, seconded, amended, composited, remitted, submitted, drone drone… It’s enough to dampen the spirits of the most ardent newbie.
      One of the intriguing features of the rise of Podemos was that its organisation seems to bypass the old-fashioned heirarchical structure of meetings at local and constituency branches, executive, and conference, in favour of a “flat structure” with members in direct contact by means of digital networks, making policy as individual voters. I confess I don’t entirely understand how it works, but it sounds a pretty good idea, and one which I daresay the young keenies in the SNP might well take to with enthusiasm.

    2. Fearchar says:

      And your evidence for these assertions, Jimbob?

  3. Alba Woman says:

    leaver girl totally agree plus I would like a much higher level of accountability by those elected . What in the end did they do that improved/ developed their communities.? They must be open to training in policy development and implementation. No more being elected and turning up five years later with no sign of any improvements or any ongoing accountability to their electorate.

    1. Neil says:

      I was hoping that people like Salmond, Robertson, and that Fergus Ewing guy would be drowned out by the women. Still waiting – they seem to have come back to the fore. Maybe that Mhari Black girl will get to make a speech that is a bit more reality based, instead of pretending she’s going to a food bank rather than being paid a mint, but there are too many fat men in suits with loud voices.

      1. Muscleguy says:

        Equality is not about silencing one group, but of empowering the group with fewer opportunities. Part of the problem is that the media are still obsessed with ‘big beasts’ and so Salmond gets invited onto the politics shows. Also if you are given a spokesperson role covering a particular brief you will have to talk about it regardless of your gender. In your attempts at trolling you are making yourself look ridiculous.

  4. Frank says:

    Did I just see Nicola Sturgeon on the BBC stating that it was ‘her’ decision on whether or not a second referendum is included in the SNP manifesto for 2016? I may have picked this up wrong but it would be useful if someone could confirm the process?

  5. Will says:

    Great article the young people of Scotland are a credit to all others of this island and are now leading the charge towards independence. SNP are fantastic with the young people at the helm. The challenge for the young people is to reason with the older generation ie grandparents and pensioners and convince them to make the sacrifice the next time and vote yes. Meantime they can help the elderly recover from the scary man standing on the irn bru crate shouting in the middle of the street as he has got off the bus, not to mention the fiery preacher spouting that they would lose there pensions and instilled them with fear as he has gone onto another mission. Young people of Scotland are the SNP and will gain independence.

    1. Crossest Man In Scotland says:

      Voting for independence as currently presented by the SNP would be economic suicide.

      The collapse in the oil price would have had a crippling effective on the economy of an independent Scotland.

      “Anti-austerity” policies favoured by left wingers have failed time and time again. Most people will have seen the result of the disastrous Syriza experiment in Greece which has led even Alexis Tsipras to conclude that the only alternative to austerity is bankruptcy.

      1. C Rober says:

        I am not an SNP lover , but still would like to see indy.

        However had the result of the previous indy vote , no not last years but the one that voted yes but was nullified actually been carried , then the oil fund as a reserve would more than have compensated for natural rise and fall of oil price through a SWF.

        Without the oil monies going almost wholly and directly to Westminster , the uk from 74-1984 would have been Greece.

        But I dont want to see a reliance on the Oil , rather it used to create eco power generation , where Scotland would be an exporter of Electricity through using a percentage of SWF profit , like the Nords do – leaving the vast amount of money invested Globally and outwith the industry of which it came from.

        So if we must use the oil price of today with 20/20 rear view mirror glasses , then we can talk about the 3 trillion in todays money from first drill to empty fields that Scotland could have prospered on. Money that could have been used to fund the benefits and pension bill for infinity , which would not mean austerity budgets ever again.

        Greece has no such income , so is hardly comparable to Scotland.

        The fiscal power of Greece over the last 100 years , pre socialism , pre austerity , shows they are incapable of running their own country , so put yet another party of promises into power , one just like the ones previously that grew the debt , but instead promising to remove it.

        It wasn’t the benefits bill that wrecked Greece , or its NHS , tax credits and so on , it was the civil service and pensions , along with the non payment of taxes at an unheard of scale , and of course those same dodgy bankers that used the taxpayers to bail them out.

        1. Fearchar says:

          The previous vote was not for independence but for devolution: it wouldn’t have changed the flow of oil income to Westminster.

        2. Crossest Man In Scotland says:

          We can’t build a time machine to go back to the 70’s and create a Sovereign Wealth Fund. I am not against Independence at any cost but am repelled by the SNP’s attempt to equate Scottishness with extreme socialism (aka fairness or anti austerity) which is an economic doctrine which has failed time and time again e.g Greece, Venezuela, North Korea. I would like to see those who bleat about Westminster and austerity sent on a tour of these countries to experience first hand the reality of what happens when the theories they promote are put into practice.

          1. leavergirl says:

            Well, now, socialism and anti-austerity are two very different things. (And austerity isn’t. It’s austerity for the poorer sort, and golden parachutes for the elite. Real austerity would put nations in the black. This phony austerity gets them more and more indebted and pushed into ruin.)

            Greece is a kleptocracy. North Korea is a pathocracy. Venezuela? Not sure. Scandinavians seem to have something close to socialism, and they seem doing pretty well.

  6. Neil says:

    That’s unrealistic. If there was another referendum and we voted ‘yes’ by 10% that would just mean yet another referendum after a couple of years. It would never end. There isn’t the collective will for it – it is just a swamp of ambiguity.

    1. leavergirl says:

      Neil, it’s a cultural fight. Yet right now nearly all the focus is on SNP. Of course they have flaws, and of course they will play all the old games. It’s time to shift focus and play another game alongside. Let the people lead, and the leaders will follow.

  7. Doon the A701 says:

    I remember as an 18-year old voting in the Dundee East by-election in 1973, which was my first opportunity to vote since the age was reduced from 21. Gordon Wilson (SNP) was narrowly defeated by Labour. As far as I can remember the 18-21 age group turned out in droves to vote. There was an overwhelming feeling that we now had a voice and didn’t have to do as we were told by our parents. All the young voters I knew or heard talking/campaigning were SNP supporters and as far as I can remember we felt much like the youth of today, we wanted something better. We didn’t understand why there was UK-wide industrial unrest, why we had joined the EEC, the on-going conflict in Ireland and all the bombings, rampant inflation, etc. Not direct parallels with the dissatisfactions of today, but we felt we deserved a better future than the one offered by ‘old people’. Then, as now, the SNP offered an alternative to distant Westminster rule. But being on the threshold of adulthood, my generation were more concerned with education, getting a job, courting, marrying, having kids .. and personally, I didn’t vote again until I was in my 30’s, as was the case with most of my mates. I suspect that it’s much the same thing today – young voters are not being deliberately excluded or under-valued, they are simply getting to grips with what’s to come in life?

  8. C Rober says:

    I might actually start to suggest that the future of Scotland lies in todays youth electorate , they are the ones that will have retirement age for the state pension moved out of their reach , they are the ones whose taxes will be paying for the pensions of the previous two generations….while being unable to afford affordable housing.

    Of course they should stand up and be counted , they should be defining a country they want to live , work and breed in , its future is their future , it affects them for more , and for far longer than it does a pensioner.

    So how about a debate on whether we should therefore exclude pensioners from a vote past pension age?After all their children should be the ones making their decisions for the last 15 years of their lives.

    The young as they grew up , first 16 years , had all their decisions made for them by their parents , at home or in parliament through a parental vote , so surely they should be returning the favour for their parents last 16 years?

    Now I am not for one moment suggesting that the pensioners cant do their part in the political spectrum , nor some sort of euthanasia by the back door ala Logans run or Soylent Green here , but rather that should retirement actually mean retirement.

    When it comes to the house of Lords for example its perhaps majority thinking that believe that the old are removed from reality , so should be prevented for making decisions on it and them , but mention the same about a pensioner and a vote ….. oh no, floodgates!

    1. David Sangster says:

      Ooh, now, C Rober, that is a very naughty post! While it is true that we oldies tend to be more conservative (small c, note) than the joyful inheritors of the Scotland to come, it is also the case that sometimes a wise head may temper the natural reckless exuberance of the young. In the run-up to the indyref, my gummy friends and I were much concerned that the SNP did not appear to have adequately settled the matters of the currency and lender of last resort. No surprise that analysis of voting showed that our age-group were not prepared to lend our support to the project as it stood. You will be aware that the party is now under renewed pressure to clarify their position on financial arrangements for an independent Scotland, and no referendum will succeed until it does. We were young and penniless once, chum, and one day you too will be a pensioner, think on’t.

      1. Lawrence Anderson Burley says:

        Wise post!

      2. C Rober says:

        Deliberate baiting fae me I am afraid David.Thanks for the input.

        Ye bang on though , if ye read a few of my posts , being a red clyde labour man I no longer see Labour , being a previous SNP man I no longer see the SNP as they once were neither , and are becoming the party of lies on their own mandates , so rightly we should scrutinise their economics too.

        I have also repeated the same argument as yours on financials fae the SNP in that they failed to address the question to the point of clarity for the masses , never mind to convince economics experts.

        Unlike most I have read and read just about everything on Indy with a clear mind , indy is the way forward , much like kicking the wains oot when they reach 21 , its to the better even with the tears.

        The pensioner has to contribute to the debate , but sadly most do not being simply voters of habit to a party of their faithers , one that does not exist apart from name only , one that has betrayed them over and over in Scotland , and as others say unless they get cast iron proof that they will not be worse off in indy – then they will always vote for the fear machine candidates.

        We cant expect people to make educated decisions , if they dont want to be educated – other than from biased news sources tailored to suit the agenda , owned by the wealthy or state themselves are in control of. The amount of lies repeated in papers , the bullying from Osborne on the pound when there is crown dependencies using it today , BBC Scotland bias , they just added some seasoning to the Snp economic soup.

        Its easier to scare those of whom you speak that have seen hardships , real wans , no jist that they canny afford a newer model BMW on lease or the iphone 10.

        The sad fact is that the pensioners Grandchildren as it stands can not afford to buy their own houses , pensioners have had the thick end of the wedge with HPI , yet the SNP says its wanting to build affordable housing costing 160k a pop …. more than 7x the net take home median wage , more than 3x is simply not affordable.

        While it is true that they have maybe lived through true hardships , being born in times pre NHS and Benefits , mair than wan depression , on picket lines where industry was replaced by coffe shops , even a war , it could also be argued that the old education is not current education and it is the next two generations that will be paying the cost of their pensions and healthcare…..so should they not have the final say , after all its them it will be paying for it.

        The pensioner has had the most from Socialism , the benefits system , housing , even 10 more pension years than their children , its time for change.

        If they did their job right as parents then surely they have nothing to fear from the generation they spawned voting for their last few reamaining years….

        But then again kin they afford to keep em alive sitting in that big appreciating hoose , “MAW , fancy a holiday to Swizterland , where ? , ah hink its called Dignitas”. …. “ye kin pack Light” , “here , Sign this visa” , “use the pen I used for ma new Beemer lease”. Then again ye mibbe are reet.

      3. James Dow A voice from the diaspora says:

        David Sangster you lack self belief and courage {not a typically Scottish trait} How comical to observe Scottish oldies approaching their own extinction being so concerned over their long term security, never mind the future of their descendants. Their finest contribution to Scotland will be delivered on their passing.

        1. C Rober says:

          A lot of the pro indy Brigade seem to think it was the pensioner alone that pushed the result in the wrong direction , its not really that true as a single cause , but it did help.

          The numerical difference for the 45ers wasnt 10 percent , the difference between 45 and 55 , the difference was 6 percent. Had the indy ref crawled over the line to 50.1 percent yes vote , it only needed a further 6 percent to do so , not 10.

          Statistically when i did the maths 76 percent of those born in England voted no , around 275k if mem serves. Which is 6.75 percent of the overall vote , more than enough to crawl over the line had they been barred by birthright.

          Only Scotland can let near 10 percent of its population vote on its future , those with a higher than normal employment rate statistic that moved there for employment taking jobs from born Scots , people that complain about cheap Polish tradesman doing the same from the EU in England. Luxembourg just took measures to prevent non born residents from voting in elections , the precedent is there for the SNP.

          These are same ones whom have and always will benefit from a biased union , they want to keep it that way , and to have the Scots then blame its own pensioner instead is a political misdirection bonus ,its traditional empire policy of divide and conquer , except that you cant really blame the OAP , they have been trained to be that way through bribe and bluster of successive govt policy , the media and the education system , the policy set and directed by Westminster and the wealthy elite.

          My argument though will always be that the next generation should protect the life and wellbeing of the pensioner , even from themselves , and that includes from the fear machine…. even if that means retirement , not just from working , but also from voting.

          What the pensioner should be worried about is that they become the new whipping boy of politics , like the immigrant we now need to fund their pensions – with the reducing birth rate of their children and their children.

          Has the SNP enacted any hard punishments for media bias during indy at legislature level , the so called project fear machine , to prevent it in round 2 , no , can they , yes.

          One therefore could rightly presume that the lie machine wasnt lying then at all , thus the pensioner wasn’t being bullied at all. Until the SNP and Hollyrood do something about the media , then they are the liars by omission.

          Its the pensioner that keeps putting the Govts in power , or should that be the apathy of the working age population , and not just in the Uk.

          Thats what needs addressing through mandatory voting , its especially important with the way demographics will be shifting over the next 20 years towards a population where the majority are over 65 simply to keep democracy alive.

          Think about it , a pensioner majority , where historically politics are driven by promises , what if a party gets elected on doubling the State pension and reducing the age , overnight we are Greece.

          Even in Russia through the same fears and bribery , the pensioner keeps Putin in power , and unlike the Uk and its millionaire politician – there instead its billionaires that are funded by the pensioner voting for them , they too remember real hardship that puts the UK OAP to shame , yet still delusively voting on communism , with its single party system , where some are more equal than others – historically through the OAP fear of change….not instead for hope of change.

          Then its a one party system , regardless of location , showing that bribes and bullying the oap into keeping the wealth of the wealthy is the policy , if the pensioners are the largest voting demographic , never-mind majority demographic that the politican need to get a majority , its fuck the rest.

          1. Anton says:

            Just a small point on currency – you mention “bullying…on the pound when there are crown dependencies using it today”. Yes, that’s one of the reasons they’re called dependencies.

            There’s no reason why an independent Scotland couldn’t use the pound outside of a formal currency union. However, it would have no right to issue sterling or control it in any way. The pound would effectively be a foreign currency. And adopting a foreign currency means giving up control of monetary policy to a foreign state – in this case, rUK.

            That’s dependence, not independence.

          2. C Rober says:

            Your right Anton it would be dependence , but a temporary measure , just like Eire had , and far faster than the 300 odd years of wait.

            This gives the time to set up a central bank proper , a state not privately owned one.

            But the SNP in Westminster would still have to play a dirty game about others using it , and Scotland having being denied it.

            Sure while England would be able to control the monentary levers in that interim use , Scotland would be able to redress it somewhat with autonomous tax controls like corporate taxation and all taxes remaining there.

            The true reason they dont want that is to prevent the export of wealth to Scotland with a lower taxation system , ala Swiss banking , offshoring etc. Until its in the favour of Westminster and the wealthy elite to do so , then it will always remain a pipe dream to have monetary independence….. with the EU ref and Scotland choosing in a majority to remain even if England votes to leave , it just may give the incentive for that export of wealth to Scotland for that to happen.

  9. Will says:

    SNP could do well to put into Scots law a Pensioners guarantee that for a figure yet to be determined at a later date post research and and consultation that pensioners levels of pension will be protected, and they will not be frightened by the scaremongers of project fear the next time they cast their vote in the not to distant referendum. ps just noticed productivity has risen with the output of oil and that means more cash from Scotland to fund the unelected House of Lords that should be scrapped.

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