I’ve been no fan of the remain campaign. Its scaremongering has been alternately appalling and risible. It’s been high handed and arrogant, treating the electorate like fools who must be herded in a certain direction and if they don’t comply they must be morally suspect and probably racist too. They don’t deserve to win on their own merits, and I really wish it were possible for both sides to lose, because they’ve been matched in every lie and deception by the same crap from the leave campaign. This pathetic excuse for a campaign is how the British political elite conducts itself.
Bereft of anything positive, lacking in anything worthwhile, intelligence insulting and patronising, that’s how the supposed cream of British politics treats the electorate. All this campaign has proven is that a broken, incompetent, and inadequate political system produces broken, incompetent, and inadequate politicians. We deserve so much better, but we’re not going to get it as long as an unreformed Westminster remains in charge.
But if the UK as a whole votes tomorrow to leave the EU, our horizons will be narrowed, and the world will look on this state of which Scotland yet remains a part as being insular, parochial, and xenophobic. The UK will become the pariah of Europe, the party pooper, the one who refuses to cooperate, refuses to share, refuses to be a partner. Britain will have traded a place in Europe for a flag waving bunting bedecked insularity which will only benefit the rich, the well connected, and the powerful. When Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage talk about taking back control, they don’t mean to deliver it to impoverished and marginalised communities.
Scotland’s future is being held hostage to a debate that we didn’t ask for, and in which our minds are pretty much made up already. Scotland is a European nation which sees no conflict in sharing part of our sovereignty with our European neighbours, in cooperating with other countries for the common good. Ever since the Pictish aristocracy’s disastrous dinner party with Kenneth Macalpine, the history of Scotland has been as an outward looking European nation. From the Scottish pedlars and settlers in the Polish Commonwealth, the merchants of the Baltic trade, and the Scottish mercenaries of the Swedish Crown, to the Auld Alliance and the Garde Écossaise of the French monarchy, Scots have been actively involved in Europe, shaping and making the continent along with other European peoples.
We are not an insular island nation. We are not content to be alone in glorious isolation viewing Europe suspiciously from the top of a white chalk cliff. That’s not Scotland. The vision of Boris and the dream of Nigel is not our destiny. The backward looking red white and blue tinted nostalgia of the British patrioscoundrels contains no place within it for a strong, confident, self-assured Scotland.
I’m a supporter of Scottish independence, and I believe that should the UK vote to leave the EU but Scotland votes to remain it will create the best chance for Scotland to hold another independence referendum and for the independence campaign to win it. But that will come at a price to the people of England and Wales. The price they pay will be heavy. Contrary to the myth beloved of certain Unionists, I don’t hate the English, and I don’t wish that fate upon them. In an ideal world I’d like Scotland to be an independent member of the EU alongside English and Welsh neighbours which were likewise a member. But that decision is in the hands of the voters of England and Wales tomorrow.
If Brexit wins that broken, incompetent, and inadequate Westminster will reign unchallenged and supreme. Take back control the Brexiteers keep repeating. A vote to leave the EU is a vote to put all power, all decisions, all control, in the hands of a ramshackle and corrupt excuse for a parliament. They want to take back control for the posh public schoolboys who have a disproportionate chance of getting into a position of power, not for the poor. They want to take back control for the financial industries of the City of Westminster, not for the trade unions. They want to take back control for the Westminster parliament with its unfair voting system and its unelected House of Lords so that Michael Forsyth can rest easy on his ermine clad arse, not for popular democracy. When the patricians tell the plebeians that they want to take back control that’s not good news for the people.
The last handful of polls on the eve of voting show a narrow advantage for leave, but it’s within the margin of error. This referendum could easily go either way and only a fool would predict the outcome with any confidence.
Irrespective of how tomorrow’s vote goes, the lesson that Scotland must take from this pathetic slanging match, in which one side has sought to make political capital out of naked racism while denying it’s doing any such thing, and the other side has sought to make political capital out of the tragic murder of a woman MP while denying it’s doing any such thing, is that as long as we remain a part of this dysfunctional state we are condemning ourselves to dysfunction.
Scotland’s future, what’s best for this nation which has always been an active and enthusiastic player in shaping the destiny of Europe, is held hostage to the concerns of a Westminster elite which is only interested in its own power and self-aggrandisement. We are not the masters of our own fate. We do not tread a path of our own choosing. The Brexit campaign’s slogan of take back control rings hollow in a land in which decisions are made by an unaccountable Tory government at Westminster and imposed upon us whether we like it or not. It’s time for Scotland to take back some control too.
All independence supporters need to vote remain tomorrow. Either leave narrowly wins in England and Wales and a remain voting Scotland finds itself with a trigger for a second indyref, or remain narrowly wins and the Tory party descends into civil war producing a weak government and giving Scotland a chance of taking back some power from Westminster and fending off the worst of Tory rule. Or there’s even the outside chance, a very slim chance, that a remain vote in Scotland could swing it, and then we’d get to watch the Tory right, UKIP and the Daily Mail implode in an anti-Scottish nervous breakdown. Whatever happens tomorrow, the United Kingdom is the Union that is weakened most, but only if Scotland votes to remain.
A remain vote for Scotland tomorrow is the first step on a journey that could lead to Scotland taking back control of its own.
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