A guest post by William Totterdell
Dear Wee Dug, fellow ginger,
My wife regularly reads me your blog or sends me a link to some great comments. I guess I am one of the silent ones, no Facebook, blogs or tweets, rarely commenting on politics or some other subjects, I leave that to her.
I would like to share my thoughts with you.
I am a Welshman, sent to Scotland a long time ago as part of my apprenticeship to work in a shipyard, words that need to be looked up these days. I meet a girl from Clydebank and well that’s not what I wanted to share with you. This was the time of the UCS work-in, my job was safe but the guys around me were fighting against the Conservative Government who were not interesting in saving Scottish industry. Move forward a little in time and we had the Three Day Week. Again the UK Government was at odds with industry, this time the coal miners who wanted a pay rise so electricity was put on ration in an attempt to break the work to rule.
I was out of the country then but my wife remembers shops with candles on the counters to shop by, Health and Safety had not been invented them! The next few years where full of strikes and elections and job losses but we were mostly out of the country, she was in Europe studying and I was sailing the world, sometimes she was with me.
Move forward a few years settled back in Glasgow with two kids but moving again to work in Europe. Getting off the plane at Heathrow a gentleman helped us. Fortunately the kids did not recite some recent phases they had learned, ‘Money for the miners’ and ‘Mrs Thatcher, bad lady’, helpful gentleman was Ian MacGregor dealing with more miners.
Governments came and went each looking more and more like the last, thank goodness for coloured ties to give a hint. Come the 1997 referendum there was no doubt in my mind, Scotland had never had a say in London for years, most of our MPs were opposition, completely out of tune with the rest of the UK, nothing new. It is ironic that the Scottish Labour party when first formed went south with independence/home rule in mind, that changed. I said then that at least with a Scottish Parliament we could not say we didn’t vote them in. We stood on The Mound and watched it all starting back in 1999 and by and large thing have got better whilst still being treated badly from the south. Ships, coal, steel, cars and many other industries dead.
I now work in one of the few industries that is surviving and growing in Scotland and servicing the world from here with manufacturing and expertise – oil. The service from Aberdeen and the North East will long outlast me and possibly the North Sea reserves. There are many other industries that can be developed given the right support. Not sure about wind farms but we could build the towers.
Question: on the day Scotland becomes independent 59 people will sign on the dole, no longer having a job representing us. Who will run England, Wales and NI, currently difficult to tell and power could shift that day, will it be a Cameron/Farage coalition pulling them out of the EU?
In 1707, 225 men had a vote, they were nobles, gentry and burgesses, it is said titles, money and land was involved. Either way, 110 were for, 69 against and that was end of Scotland’s independence. What annoys me is the 46 who didn’t vote. If I could have a wish it would be that everyone that can vote does so this September so that we don’t have any doubts going forward.
The argument for Better Together has largely been based on the negatives, oh dear no EastEnders or Euro Lottery and late to the field, some more powers, maybe. Far too much has been about money, but I will be £104 better off a year without my weekly gamble. What I want is to live in country that can be proud of itself for everything it has done on its own, survived in the big wide world or not, part of a United Kingdom but independent, not governed by it. I hope my homeland of Wales follows and I know certain regions England would love a greater degree of autonomy.
Sadly the man I was proud of all those years ago died before my wife could interview him for a book but I would paraphrase his speech and apologise for doing so.
He said ‘Nobody and nothing will come in and nothing will go out without our permission’. I would say ‘The right to vote is with every Scottish resident so the future is with our permission’.
He also said ‘And there will be no hooliganism, there will be no vandalism, there will be no bevvying because the world is watching us, and it is our responsibility to conduct ourselves with responsibility, and with dignity, and with maturity’. I don’t think much needs to be said, we are by and large carrying out a fair fight without bloodshed which is more than most independence battles in history. Just a wee drink maybe!
The way I will vote was decided back in 1997 and has not changed.