A guest post by Samuel Miller
This’ll be short and sweet, so pay attention at the back. 2017, the year where Brexit, austerity legislation, societal disenfranchisement and the empowerment of the nastier side of right wing demographics started to really deliver on it’s inevitable payoff. The economy of the UK, so far as the vast majority are concerned, is doing a swirly in the lavvy and is on the verge of disappearing round the U bend. The politics of the UK have meanwhile descended into a farce resembling nothing so much as a group of cartoon chimps on a sugar rush throwing poo at each other whilst the rest of us wait for something resembling a competent central government to make an appearance.
All of this as the UKs former closest trading partners and international political allies, decide whether it’s worth their while, or even whether they can be bothered, holding out yet another lifeline to the ungrateful boneheads who used them repeatedly as media scapegoats only to tell them to take a hike in a moment of colossal self harm. Safe to say, things have pretty much gone as a lot of bods in the YES movement feared back in 2014. So close to their worst nightmare they become desperate maybe?
Quite the year to be sure and another beaut promising to follow in 2018. You can see why frustration, recrimination and not a little desperation might creep into some people’s thinking. Some may start to wonder on the reasons why they were deprived of a different resolution three years ago. Who voted no to self government and why? How can they be persuaded or… ignored? Been more than one conversation over the past year on incomers v natural born, aged v youth vote, rich v poor etc., and there’ll probably be more as 2018 proceeds and things get a little more desperate (which they will). For many, it won’t just become an imperative that there is another referendum, but that it must be won at all costs. All costs though? Right or wrong? Fear’ll do that. Pretty understandable and all too human.
How and ever, people should perhaps consider that economic ineptitude, bad or punitive legislation, resultant poverty and loss of life chances and rights, much like natural disasters, don’t care where you were born. They don’t care what colour you are. How you worship. How old you are. Who you love, or indeed what part of spam valley your bungalow rests on. Just like the natural disasters of flood, fire and quake they’ll impact your life regardless. Once enacted, they don’t discriminate. Only people do that.
Some people will never change their vote of 2014. For good or ill, no matter how bad it gets and no matter the suffering of others around them, they will vote out of loyalty and belief that their system and worldview will come right in the end. They are entitled to that choice and that opinion. They are also welcome to it.
Here’s some political reality though. If Scotland and its electorate are to become self governing and make our own choices in the near future, we’re going to need some of those who voted no in 2014 to change that vote. Around 6% would do, but I’m greedy and would prefer more. A great deal more. Oh, and residency is the criteria for voting eligibility. You live in Scotland. You pay your taxes in Scotland. You contribute to life and community in Scotland, then you get to vote on Scottish matters. Call it the Karmic balance to those disasters which don’t care who you are. Voting based on residency is a human being’s way of saying we don’t care who you are, your opinion matters. Does it make winning a YES vote any easier given voting breakdowns from 2014 onwards? No, not really. Then again, no one said winning the right to govern yourself was ever going to be any easy thing. In some parts of the world and throughout history, it’s been downright dangerous.
In my own opinion? Vote by residency is also the right thing to do. Scottish self governance… I’d say it’s not simply winning it which matters, but how you win it. The foundations for the society you want must be solid. The establishment parties and their practice of politics really should be a heads up as to the shit storm you build up over time when winning by any means necessary. When you divide and rule. When you win without care or consideration for others.
Seems to me that Brexit, austerity, fractured society, political elitism, bigotry, intolerance, exceptionalism and isolationism might be seen as reason enough NOT to repeat their mistakes? You govern for ALL in your care, or maybe you shouldn’t be governing? Just a thought.
What we see in the UK today is a direct result of the politics of societal division. Me? I’m more of a hugger. I’ll hold my hand out and welcome folk from any point of origin or walk of life who want to work for a more socially just Scotland.
In the season of good will and given all that 2018 may bring our electorate, it’s maybe worth remembering that a little good will and understanding can go a long way.