A Welshman with a vote

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.

16 comments on “A Welshman with a vote

  1. My working life seems to mirror yours William and my vote will also!

  2. hektorsmum says:

    Thank you so much for that, we lived through all those periods as well so we know of which you speak, I think the very ordinary people, and I do not mean that in a denigrating way, will make the vote count on the 18th. The very same people who voted so whole heartedly for Devolution. I have met people who I never counted on voting yes who have confirmed that they will not but I have also met those I would never have thought who will be.

  3. hiorta says:

    Many thanks to Mr. Totterdell for yet another grand post in the WGD, heartfelt and wholly appropriate. Tapaidh leatsa duine chumereach.

  4. Pam McMahon says:

    Jimmy Reid was a true patriot and defender of the working class in Scotland. Nobody else, except prossibiy, Jim Sillars, has come close. Nobody in Scottish Labour has even attempted or bothered to. I admire your post enormously, because you remind us of what we are fighting for. Hope Wales follows in our footsteps after September 18, and why wouldn’t they?

  5. It’s good to be reminded of the road that brought us here ,and the generations before. Cheers Ma and Da !!! In our house the shout would go up “that’s the News on” Unbiased truthful reporting would be one of my big wishes in our Independent Scotland .

  6. Jan Cowan says:

    Thank you, William. I too hope your homeland follows Scotland. The Welsh had the good sense to preserve their language…………. an excellent starting point.

  7. Hugh Wallace says:

    Reblogged this on Are We Really Better Together? and commented:
    “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.”

  8. mary vasey says:

    Smashing post thank you sir

  9. Tris says:

    What a great article. I agree with you all the way. Jimmy Reid was a great great man.

  10. Mick Pork says:

    Once there were giants like Jimmy Reid, now Labour have to make do with wee Ed Miliband. Dear god, what a contrast!

  11. The Earthshaker says:

    a powerful eloquent article and maybe you’ll get your wish for Wales to follow Scotland eventually http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/31/world/europe/as-scots-weigh-independence-wales-takes-note.html

  12. Excellent commentary Wullie!! Full and heartfelt testament to how things rolled in those times over the last few decades,and a lesson on how a no vote used could have made the result a lot different
    Not enough is being said for the other peoples in these islands also having their right to be set free from the chains of Westminster.
    They must take heart that what we aspire to here in Scotland is achievable and not exclusive.
    They also should be able to exercise that right .
    I am sure that we could truly be an example of how a nation could conduct itself in these modern times, without all the NO campaign’s put downs and negative self-serving crap and disgraceful scaremongering(see ‘sold our souls to the devil’)and for what??
    I voted for YES in 1979(52%) and was rewarded(to my mind) with an illegal result.(48%)NO!was declared the result.Nice bit of democracy shining through then huh?
    Its taken 35 hard long years to get where we are now,my lifetime I suppose,and I sometimes ponder on how much better things would have been.
    .But its not over till its over and the dirty tricks brigade are not finished.
    It’s become apparent that to the NO Brigade a YES vote would be the beginning of the end to their dark and devious ways,and they will throw everything they got at us.
    It’s starting already-Let’s declare a state of Emergency as we’re about to be over run by ISIS at any minute -or Russia are going to declare war on Europe ffs.
    The next few weeks should be interesting.
    VOTE YES TO BE RID OF THIS ETON MESS.

  13. macart763 says:

    Oh that brought back a memory or three.

    Great post William.

  14. And likely we’ll not be the only ones wishing Jimmy Reid was still with us walking towards that new dawn! Well done mate, good post!

  15. […] 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, blo…  […]

  16. yesguy says:

    I remembered all that , What a journey .

    My mind flashed images as i read. brilliant William.

    The Welsh have been a vocal supporter of an iScotland. Thank you sir.

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