Since the prospect of Scotland gaining independence became an actual possibility, I’ve not really entered the debate. In some ways I’ve been burying my head in the sand, so I don’t have to be engaged in a topic that thoroughly depresses me.
I don’t feel I have it in me anymore to sit and listen to politicians arguing from both sides about what is best for the “the people” when we all know it’s their own career trajectory at the forefront of their minds, not the will of the people.
How much of this campaign is to do with Alex Salmond wanting to have Prime Minister written on his business card? How much is it about David Cameron not wanting to be the Prime Minister who manages to lose such an integral part of the Union? I despair when I hear these men debating because for as long as they debate, plan, spend time on the issues of independence they are no longer debating the deeply unfair policies of this Conservative government, who continue to ignore the pleas of the poor, and deliver up the ideals of the rich.
I don’t want the Union to split, but I do want a better Union. I hope the people of Scotland realise that a vote for the United Kingdom is not a vote for the destructive policies of the UK government – currently inhabited by a gaggle of filthy rich public school boys who have no idea what it’s like for a single mum bringing up her children on a Glasgow council estate and have no real desire to improve their understanding of the situation as they drink champagne from the purse strings of the top 1%.
That aside, my views on Scotland, the Union, and independence are strangely contradictory – even in my own thinking. I am a pro-republic socialist, where the power lies with the people – but I love the Queen and ceremonial duties and pomp of the Royal Family. I think the example of the Queen in her Christian faith has been exemplary and I applaud her for it. Perhaps democracy is the best option we have available to us, but just look at our own political system (and America’s) and we can see that it is broken, unfair and no longer working for the masses.
I love reading about the history of the British Empire, and feel proud that our small country has played such a large part in the world’s history. Yet today, I am probably the least patriotic person you will meet. I feel personally let down in so many ways by this country, I feel I’ve worked hard and gained nothing from it, I see poverty and disparity in society and a political sphere that does not represent me or those I care about. I see a crooked judicial system that criminalises the working class for small misdemeanours while those in power and wealth can hire the best lawyers and escape from their frauds and gross incompetence with ease. I see a foreign policy (across all political parties) that is built around oil, money, power and greed, and has no compassion for those desperately seeking help from such a powerful nation as ourselves. Look how slow we were to act against genocide in 1994 in Rwanda, and how quick we went to war in Iraq.
So I can understand the Scots thinking “let’s break free of all this and start again”. In some ways I’m a little jealous that they have this option, in the same way I am envious of their free university tuition and free doctors prescriptions. But I think even the Scots know, deep down in their hearts, that the same people claiming to want to start afresh, are the same establishment figures that have landed where they are today through political games, making connections with those in power, and very little of listening to the people.
Alex Salmond has only worked in two areas during his life – politics and the banking industry. Is he any different from those leading the line at Westminster? I’m not convinced. If Scotland gains it’s independence it will surely just be a smaller version of the UK with the same political point scoring, disparity between the rich and poor, and a culture of secret corruption as the rich lobby those in the power seats to achieve their own financial goals. How long before Salmond is enjoying trips on yachts with the oil magnates (if he isn’t already)?
In the end I guess my plea to Scottish voters is to vote no. We are better together, if only for one reason that supersedes everything I’ve just written. After the second world war, European nations decided to form the European Economic Community (now called the European Union) whose main aim was “to preserve peace and liberty and to lay the foundations of an ever closer union among the peoples of Europe.” We had understood, after years of war and killing, that humankind is better when tied together by common ideals and a desire to work together, live together, in peace.
In the same way as the EEC pulled European nations together, I feel that the United Kingdom does the same job for the countries and territories that still belong. If we are together we cannot be fighting against each other, no matter how remote that possibility is or could ever be. As long as Scotland is partnered with England, and the UK is partnered with the EU, it removes potential for war and the suffering seen in the first half of the last century. Let’s not become complacent, World War 1 and World War 2 were just a generation or two ago. This isn’t a dark distant past, but modern history. Those people were the same as you and me. The Scots and English fighting on the beaches of Normandy together, serving together, dying together. Let’s stick together for the sake of mutual goals and objectives, and long term – for the sake of peace.