Scottish Independence for the Common Man

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I’m finally getting around to the subject of Scottish Independence. I was really a bit lost on how to start this; I mean, it seems like there’s just so bastard much to consider, right? Currency, the EU, welfare… For what seems now to have been a shockingly long period of time, I couldn’t even understand the question. Identifying as I do with the term ‘British’ as much as I do ‘Scottish’, it seemed, well, just unnecessary.

But I’ve done a complete 180 on the issue, and I’ll tell you why. Firstly, the ‘Yes‘ and ‘No’ campaigns have been making the wrong arguments. Once you reject the economic scaremongering and condescension that has been the mark of the ‘No’ campaign, the minutiae of what we’re going to do once we become independent are not important right now – we can make up our mind about those things once we get there. The two sides of the debate have done nothing but argue at each other, when what they clearly ought to be doing is convincing us of their positions.

According to the BBC, the Scottish people agree with me. A recent independent poll shows that questions like the EU, the pound and welfare make little difference to how Scots intend to vote. It also shows that the weight of opinion is shifting to the ‘Yes’ side. So what’s made the difference?

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Seeing as I’m one of those swing voters, I hereby present my two cents: Britain has changed wildly since the last general election and the financial collapse; and not much for the better. The Tories in Westminster have instituted Austerity, ostensibly as the only way save the economy. They paid brief lip-service to ‘sharing the burden’, and then went right on and brutalised the poorest and least able in our nation to pay for the recovery whilst granting favours to Big Business. They have failed utterly to make the structural changes required to prevent exactly the same form of crisis from occurring again, and have incentivised the banks to take those same risks again with our futures and our money.

The worst part of it is, that you know that if the Conservatives had their way, it would be even worse; The LibDems have only been able to minimally curb the worst of their excesses. Obsessed as they are with their fake implementation of the so-called ‘free-market’, they have ploughed on with Thatcher’s insane plan to privatise the entire universe. They are busy gutting the welfare state that we fought through two World Wars to win (instead of real reform), whilst using paltry excuses to allow corporate enterprise to steal taxes they owe to us that would dwarf the savings made by fucking over the less privileged. It’s almost as if they really do still believe in ‘trickle-down’ economics. One could be forgiven for thinking that they are deliberately making our public services (the NHS and prison system in particular) unfit for service in order that they might quietly dispose of them without opposition…

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We Scots are a socially minded bunch. Just a quick gloss over our voting record in the last fifty or so years unequivocally shows that we vote on social justice issues every time – and that means we hardly ever vote Conservative. Yes, we care about economic issues, but we aren’t stuck in a mindset that allows only greed as the driving force of economic improvement. The United Kingdom’s alignment with the Unites States is, to us, clearly completely barmy and only serves to make our democracy look as deranged and dysfunctional as theirs.

I’ve started to realise that I’ve hated the government of my country for, well, most of my life. Obsessed as they are with Britain’s ‘prestige’ on the world stage, the immature yearning for that sense of superiority, long since departed. That arrogant self-importance that leads us to get involved in insane wars, the blatant disregard for social and economic equality that has been a hallmark of the British political and economic reality since Maggie’s ‘Big Bang’ of ’86. Noticing that we Scots hardly ever vote Tory, I suddenly realised that I too can’t fucking bear the bastard Tories, so why on God’s green Earth should we ever allow them to control our politics again?

Suddenly, I find myself getting excited. Excited at the possibilities, the endless possibilities. I couldn’t care less about what the SNP claims they’re going to do – if they don’t deliver then we can kick them right out the door as soon as we like. The White Paper means little to me, although it does give you an inkling of an idea of what could be possible in a Free Scotland. The ‘No’ campaign seems hell-bent on trying to convince us that poor little Scotland couldn’t possibly do anything by themselves. No, we need the austere guiding hand of Daddy Westminster to steer the course. I, along with innumerable others, find this haughty condescension completely intolerable. We can go it alone. The fact that they are trying so hard to convince us otherwise betrays the fact that they, too, know this fine well. So Downing Street can take their guiding fatherly hand and fist themselves with it. Fuck you.

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The economic arguments, as put to us by the self-serving blowhards in parliament are, I think, generally moot. The debt question is settled, so no problem there. The currency issue seems to be largely an issue used by either side to snipe at the other with – it’s not as if we can’t work out the answer to that question after the referendum. Frankly, given the positives of self-rule, if the English want to be dicks about it, then they can fucking have their Sterling.

There is no question that Scotland is large and diverse enough to build an impressive economy. The ConLibLabs in Westminster like to scare us with tales of how we just couldn’t afford the public spending that we currently enjoy. There is indeed a £13bn gap between spending and revenue generation north of the border, so assuming that we kept taxes, spending and incomes at the current level, then they are of course correct – but that’s the whole bastard point; We don’t need to remain at those levels. Higher taxes and incomes have worked well for the rest of Europe, and real reform of the welfare state and proper taxation collection will literally save billions. We will have the chance to re-structure our economy. So what if we’re not part of the sixth-largest world economy. It isn’t the size of the economy that matters, it’s our quality of life that’s important - one only need look as far as Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Finland and the like to see that.

The issue of currency merges into the question of EU membership, over which there has been some amount of fake furore of late. Listen, Spanish PMs with their own independence movements really can go hang if they expect anyone to take their statements threats seriously. There’s just so little chance that we wouldn’t be welcomed into the EU with open arms, it’s a non-argument. We would have to re-apply, and that carries with it the burden of adopting the Euro – something which puts the shits right up most folks, somewhat justifiably – but it’s not as if there won’t be transition, nor will there be no negotiating leverage on our part. And as for the ‘stronger negotiating position’ that we ostensibly have as part of the EU, well I gotta say that I think the UK has been a whiny bitch in the EU and I’m embarrassed to be British when I go to the continent because of it. At least we can vote with our conscience, and for that reason our position is stronger, not weaker.

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In the interests of making this article of readable length, I shall start to wrap up here. But know, Brothers and Sisters, that we have before us an historic opportunity here, a literal once-in-a-lifetime chance to re-imagine our society. As Salmond said, there is no need for me to choose between British and Scottish – A Scot will still be British, just as a Belgian is still a European. We just won’t be defined by England any more. And to the radicals – if you have longed for revolution, if you have hankered for sweeping change and a restoration of social equality, then I am telling you that right here, right now, you have the best opportunity to effect that change than you will likely ever get. Revolutions seldom end up serving those that instigate them but here we have a real, visceral chance to literally change our future. Let’s do it.

45 thoughts on “Scottish Independence for the Common Man

  1. It’s very reasssuring to see someone else aknowledge that the SNP aren’t going to magically become the only political party in Scotland if Independence passes; rather, that it is an opportunity to actually get who we vote for to have any appreciable power.

      • Surely there is even an argument for the SNP being disbanded if we achieve independence. Is that not their main political objective? Once we are a recognised nation in our own right, what would be the point of a nationalist party (unless they turn into a kind of BNP style nastiness)?

      • (First time commentator here!)

        I find it seems to be the Unionist parties that are constantly asking what the SNP will do in an indy Scotland, making out (without realising it!) that the only credible party to elect would be the SNP.

  2. also on EU membership thing – If Scotland wants to be in the EU then independence is a must. The better together campaign using EU membership as an argument against independence is absurd, when Westminster has just called a referendum on the UK’s membership!

      • It will not turn out well. At least if we are independent we can apply to be in the EU. If we stay in the UK, we will be out of it as all the media does is highlight negative aspects, like the mass immigration of Poles 10 years ago (I have yet to see the flood of Romanians materialise). If they took it to the people today, we would be out like a shot, forget freedom of movement, human rights, the Eurpoean Court which lets ordinary people hold their own governments to account, trade etc. etc. All they see is regulations on bananas and scares about migrant workers.

  3. Good article. I’m an Englishman who has been living in Scotland for 16 years. This is a great opportunity to shun the influence of short sighted Tory cretins, don’t waste it.

    If you asked “the English”, I think you’d find that many of us feel equally disillusioned

    • I am about as English as a Scotsman gets – went to school in England for 10 years, my dads English, so I sympathize. So many peoples the world over would jump at an opportunity like this, it would be a crying shame to miss it…

  4. It is nice to read that at least a few people can see beyond the political arguements… it’s all about self determination as far as I can see. Policies will be for the post-referendum elections, while the referendum is about deciding if we can have our own policies and elections.
    I would hate to think that we may squander this opportunity over whether we will all be £500 per year better or worse off (which is apparently according to one poll, the deciding issue). If we have freedom to decide how the country moves forward, who can say what our standard of living will be like or in which direction we will cast our gaze?

  5. “The ‘No’ campaign seems hell-bent on trying to convince us that poor little Scotland couldn’t possibly do anything by themselves. ”
    Utter bunkum.
    What part of the phrase “Better Together” are you having difficulty comprehending?
    I’m totally with you on the poison of the Tories, although the media is skewing how austerity is being shared. The rich are being targeted too, just not enough.
    It’s that old question: if you take one more penny in the pound from a million poor men, would you gain more than by taking one more penny in the pound from a hundred rich men? But the reailty is the poor have less to give and we care about them and, as you said, their quality of life. Fuck the fat cats.
    Also, it’s not England or Angelterre that is the problem. It’s Westminster, please remember the difference.
    Interesting article, but still not enough to nudge me into the Yes camp. Devo Max still has me in it’s grip: more self governance and some benefits of togetherness.

    • DevoMax still has you in its grip? What DevoMax? There is no DevoMax. Cameron made sure that there would only be one question on the ballot paper so that, in the event of a No vote, there would be no extra powers for Scotland.
      It’s Independence or a reduction in the powers already devolved. Even arch-unionist Andrew Neil has straight-out said as much. Also, if it’s Westminster that is the problem, how would staying shackled to it help us in the long run?
      The only way to get extra powers, and to see our country flourish in a variety of ways (culturally, socially, economically) is to vote YES and join together with the international community as a self-determining, confident, independent country with our own voice once again.

    • Yeah but Devo Max isn’t being offered so how can it continue to grip you? If you think it will be offered after a no vote, considering past promises and present actions, then cloud cuckoo land has you well and truly gripped.

  6. I have got to agree with others here that it is not England and us English that should be made out to be the baddies/oppressors and inflicters of all that is bad in the world. Like the Scots we’re equally as pissed off by the machinations of Westminster and the constant stream of lies, pettiness, backstabbing, self-aggrandisement and ego that emanates from there. Most notably that which came with the Gordon Brown package and the insanity that ran there. We’re all much worse off because of that robber twat and if I recall he wasn’t exactly an Englishman was he? Perhaps if Westminster was on wheels, pitching up in their caravans unannounced in one of the union states and “governing” for as long as it could before being evicted, at least then we’d all be able to express equal distaste for the way they operate….

    Alex Salmond and Gordon Brown, brothers by different mothers if you catch my drift….

  7. Nice article. It’s worth noting that entry into the EU does mean we’d have to agree to using the Euro at some point, but there’s a loophole whereas there are no restrictions on the timing of a switch over. Nations can literally wait as long as they like until they decide to officially adopt it which leaves the Euro question irrelevant.

  8. On 18th September you will go to vote as a ruled nation for a ruled nation is what you are.

    But what will you do with that vote? Will you use it to declare your nation’s independence and freedom or will you vote no.
    Vote no and you will still live at least awhile, but make no mistake your NATION will die, maybe not in name, but all hope and spirit will die as sure as if cut down with a redcoat sword.

    And dying in your bed many years from now, would you be willing to trade all the days from this day to that for one chance, just one chance, to come back here as Scots men and women to vote YES. YES. YES, Scotland is an independent NATION with our own identity, our own lives and our own FREEDOM

    • Ron get a grip! Redcoat?! Need to read up in your history. Jacobite rebellions for HIGHLAND freedom were faced by government soliders…mainly made up from you guessed it. Scots! Scots who stood up to idealists and dreamers. Vote no and take Braveheart film story and shove it. Remember how the union started, of course you don’t, it was with a Scottish King!

  9. Thanks for that, a good clear article on your views, which are very similar to my own. I would like to correct one thing, though if that’s okay? As for not needing to reapply for membership to the EU, unfortunately that is not correct.

    A wee while ago i wrote to the EU for clarification on EU citizenship and whether the EU could simply ask 5 million of its current citizens to leave simply by exercising their democratic right to be independent from a member country. Their reply follows:

    “Dear Mr Murray,

    Thank you for your message and for sharing your views with us.
    Please kindly note that according to primary EU law (Article 20 Treaty on the Functioning of the EU) every person holding the nationality of a Member State shall automatically be a citizen of the Union. Citizenship of the Union is additional to and does not replace national citizenship. Citizenship of the Union thus does not exist independently from citizenship of a State that is an EU Member State.
    We hope you find this information useful. Please contact us again if you have other questions.

    With kind regards,
    EUROPE DIRECT Contact Centre”

    I downloaded the EU Treaty of Function, it is quite a big document, but Article 20 is quite clear. So, if we vote Yes to independence (as I hope we do) we will also, by default, be voting to leave the EU under the EU Treaty of Function. Because EU citizenship is wholly dependent on member status, and the UK is the member state.

    However, it is not in the interest of the EU to lose a resource rich nation such as Scotland, of which a majority of its citizens actually voted to be part of it over 40 years ago when there were only six other members. Also, it will not be lost on many in the EU that a lot of the bargaining power of the UK comes from those very resources here in Scotland. There are also many EU citizens living, working and studying in Scotland (including English, Welsh and Irish folk). So, unless all the EU leaders want to shoot themselves in the foot we can, I am sure, safely and relatively quickly re-negotiate our membership of the EU – if we wish (I suspect it could be done within the 18 month transition period of separation of Scotland and the rUK). According to the (Westminster) All Party Parliamentary Group on Tax “… it is “not likely the EU would force an independent Scotland to join the Euro.”.

    In 1979 I would personally have recommended that we rejoin, but it was a “Common Market” back then. Today’s European Union is a very different animal and am more cautious about it. Though, looking at the shorter term, and from a purely business point of view, I probably would vote to rejoin. Mainly because it would be in the interest of the EU to ensure that we are fairly treated in the negotiations concerning asset redistribution in the separation process, and also any possible compensation claims for the mismanagement of north sea oil.
    Due to the rise in UKIP other BritNat groups, England will probably vote to leave the EU 2017.

    I am not a Scottish nationalist, I am a lifelong labour supporter who can no longer vote for Scottish labour. I believe if Scotland had been treated fairly within this union; if we had been shown the respect we were due for our contribution to it, and received our fair share of the resources we would probably not be having this referendum. We were not, and we are. So, in the words of the author of this article:

    ” … if you have hankered for sweeping change and a restoration of social equality, then I am telling you that right here, right now, you have the best opportunity to effect that change than you will likely ever get”.

    I wholeheartedly agree!

  10. ask the NO camp puppeteers….. if Scotland vote ‘YES’ to independence, will they withdraw themselves as prospective Governers Elect? I think a justifiable question, considering they all say Scotland simply can’t afford independence.

    I suspect we all know the answer to that question, and a simple ‘yes’ or ‘ no’ with no fancy arguments will do.

  11. I agree with most of what was said but don’t forget any country that can feed its self is doing well England cannot because off population size Scotland can

  12. I will always be amazed at the stupidity of some people. Lets be independent so we are no longer ruled by Westminster but ruled more strictly by Brussels. Lets leave the UK but keep the Queen as head of state. Lets leave the political union but let the Bank of England control our interest rates. Lets decide to have a conflicting immigration policy to the rest of the nations within Britain which will force the rest of the UK to set up boarder controls. The SNP’s plans for independence are anything but plans for independence. The current blueprint for independence is a joke and will harm the Scottish people for generations to come. Either go for total independence or don’t bother at all.

    • Well, okay, you say that, but here’s the rub. We are subject to EU directives all the time, but have no say in how they are formed. An independent Scotland within the EU would have a say in this. The Queen as head of state in and independent Scotland would be an honorary position and would be subject to the will of all Scots through our elected parliament – that is not the state of affairs now. The Bank of England controls the Scottish economy right now with Scots having little or no say in matters of economy. An independent Scotland would be a relative partner (in the true sense of the word) in financial decisions with the Bank of England. It makes sense on so many levels especially keeping the pound as our currency, most certainly in the short-term. However, we could if we choose to adopt another in the future which if BoE got too bullish would happen; we would have the right to choose to make that decision – there would be nothing to stop us doing so. The reason for keeping the pound is that it will greatly lessen the costs of transition and asset sharing for both sides. It also makes it easier for the continuing UK to trade with us. We could, of course, be petty about it all and shoot ourselves in the foot, if you prefer. These things you mention make little or no difference to “total independence” as you put it. Is any country truly independent from its neighbours? Co-operation with other countries is paramount for any nation. As it stands Scots are not able co-operate much with anyone at the moment as all important decisions are always made for us by others – others we never wanted or voted for.
      So, we can simply continue to sit here like nice wee pets – quiet wee dugs. Or, we can take control of our own affairs. You get to choose in September.

  13. I like comparing this topic to the situations where you have to break up with someone or leave a job you don’t like. You may be reluctant to go ahead because uncertainty lies in front of you, but in the long runs that’s what’s best for you.

  14. Not a bad article by any means, but you do miss a great deal with regards to Scotland’s economics!

    First of all the SNP’s manifesto is not a fantasy wish list… it’s actually VERY do-able and very affordable, and not necessarily with ANY tax rises at all! Why? Because Scotland generates higher revenues per person than ANY other part of the UK… so on that basis alone, we can afford to improve things from day one without adding anything to the taxation rate.

    Secondly, Scotland gets NOTHING… not one cent, from our offshore industries… EVERYTHING goes to London… all the revenues generated by the 9 Billion pound sub-seas sector, and then there’s the oil and gas revenues themselves… generating at least 55 Billion… then the renewable energy which is steadily building and reducing our carbon footprint… all whilst generating compensatory revenues… and it’s all going to London. The only money Scotland sees from these HUGE operations is the wages that come ashore and are spent in the (London-based) pub chains and stores in Scotland’s cities. Apart from the engineering support operations, Scotland sees little from the oil, gas and renewable industries. Once we have independence, that cash will go directly to Holyrood’s new treasury… and will bolster Scotland’s revenues base significantly.

    With independence we’ll be as rich a Kuwait…

    Nay… richer!

    Rich in culture, rich in heritage, rich in revenues and rich in green energy.

    We’ve got it made.

    All the austerity we see today is a facade of austerity. There’s no need for it in reality. It’s all designed to make us believe that there’s not enough money around to maintain reasonable services. It’s intentionally false and deliberately misleading.

    Even without the oil, gas and renewable energy, Scotland can afford independence just fine. With it, and with EU membership deals allowing us to rebuild our fishing industries, Scotland has got it made!

    Vote yes and let’s live a little… let’s use the oil and gas money wisely for the next 75 years to build a sustainable, green nation that’ll be the envy of the modern world and STOP LETTING LONDON TAKE A RISE OUT OF YOU!

    • You are of course, correct. I didn’t mean to make it sound as if the white paper proposals were un-doable, merely unimportant to what I see as the central issue.

      I plan on doing another article about the economic implications of independence soon, so subscribe, or like me and you’ll be duly updated!

    • I disagree entirely – I am certainly not a nationalist, neither do I think that nationalism is by necessity racist or fascistic (perhaps someone should tell the EDL, BNP, UKIP etc.). It does, however easily lead to those things when in the hands of complete morons.

      But no, it isn’t about nationalism. In case you missed the whole point of the article, it is simply down to secession from a Westminster government that fails utterly to represent the Scottish people.

      Do you feel well represented by the current (or former) government? If you feel that you’ve been trampled beneath the jackboot of unfettered, rigged, anti-society, anti-humanity, pro-corporate, murderous capitalism and the apologists who serve it’s amoral agenda, well then you’d be a fool of epic proportions not to take a peaceful chance to change that situation

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