This is the third in a series of articles looking at the topics which will dominate the coming independence referendum campaign. These pieces are aimed at undecided voters and soft no voters. In this piece I look at some of the reasons for wanting an independent Scotland
I want independence because …
There are as many reasons for supporting Scottish independence as there are people who support independence. Before I suffered a stroke and before the covid lockdowns I travelled the length and breadth of Scotland, meeting with Yes groups, talking to local activists, and speaking at local Yes organisations. What struck me most during all these travels is that no one I’ve met wants Scottish independence because they hate anyone, and certainly not because they might hate the English. That’s a nasty myth put about by opponents of independence in order to stop undecided people from engaging with arguments for independence.
Neither have I met anyone who wants independence because they believe that Scotland is better than anywhere else. No, overwhelmingly the reasons that people want Scottish independence is because they recognise that there is so much that is wrong with Scotland, and it needs to be fixed. We each have our own individual reasons for wanting independence, our own individual beliefs about what changes we’d like to see made in that Scotland once we achieve it. But what unites us all is the understanding that none of us can make any progress until we establish the principle that it’s up to the people of Scotland to decide what happens in Scotland. We can argue forever about whether we want a shot on the swings, or whether we want a go on the roundabout, but we can’t do anything until we build the independent Scottish park.
These are my own personal reasons for wanting independence. You may share some of them, you may have some other reasons of your own. But none of us can start to make any progress on making Scotland a better place until we have an independent Scotland and the power to change this country lies with its people.
I want Scottish independence … because it’s the only way to rid ourselves of the obscenity of weapons of mass destruction on the Clyde. For decades we’ve marched. We’ve protested. We’ve established peace camps. Those of us who are old and long in the tooth were protesting against nukes when we were young, and now we see young kids embarking on the same journey of protest, a journey with no end, a journey that goes nowhere as long as we are subject to Westminster rule and a British state which fetishes nuclear weapons as the viagra of an impotent ex-empire. The only way to rid ourselves of Trident is with independence. Otherwise kids in Scotland will still be doing in forty years time what I did forty years ago, marching, protesting, and getting absolutely nowhere.
I want Scottish independence … because I grew up thinking that the poverty and deprivation, the inequality and lack of opportunity, which I witnessed in the East End of Glasgow in the 60s and 70s was normal. And now a new generation of East End weans is growing up thinking that foodbanks are normal. Well it’s not bloody normal. It’s an outrage in one of the richest nations on the face of this Earth. It’s an affront to human dignity that the British state prioritises tax cuts for the wealthy and turning the UK into a tax haven for drug lords and oligarchs over the provision of decent public services. It’s indecent that the poor are forced to pay for the crimes of the rich, but that’s the British way. I want Scottish independence so that we can start to tackle the inequalities and injustices which blight this country.
I want Scottish independence … because so many of us are fatalistic and resigned to our powerlessness that we self medicate on alcohol and drugs. We’ve learned that hope is something for other people, that it doesn’t matter what we say because no one is listening anyway. We’ve learned that the only way to live without hope is to anaesthatise ourselves into oblivion, a brief respite from the pain of the everyday. It’s no way to live. No way to die. We need to know that the bright light is the light of hope and a better future, not a paramedic shining a torch in our eye in order to check for a sign of life. During the independence referendum of 2014, for the first time in my life I saw ordinary working class people discovering that hope was something for them too, that they too could dream, that they too had a voice, and that voice was important and it counted for something. Independence gives us hope.
I want Scottish independence … because we’ve bred generations of Scottish people who have learned that it doesn’t matter how we vote. It doesn’t matter what Scotland’s people say that they want through the ballot box. We get what England votes for, our votes can only make a difference when opinion in England is narrowly divided. It’s only with independence that Scotland can get governments that it votes for, governments which are answerable to the people of Scotland and which work in their interests. It’s only with independence that Scotland can see the true strengths of democracy.
I want Scottish independence … because politicians need to be held to account. The British system rewards political failure. We kicked out Michael Forsyth yet there he still is, all these years later, in the House of Lords influencing our laws and deciding our futures. British governments don’t need to pay any heed to Scotland, so they make decisions without considering us, and we have no remedy against them. I want Scottish independence because politicians cannot be trusted, and we need to keep them close to us so that their arses are within kicking distance of our feet.
I want Scottish independence … because this should be a land that is welcoming. Scotland was always a shelter for people from all over the world, because for centuries it was literally the end of the Earth. Once you got to Scotland, there was nowhere else to go. This is a land of migrants, and we should honour those who do us the honour of choosing to throw their lot in with the rest of us and becoming a part of the story of Scotland. Brexit Britain is closed in, inward looking, intolerant, xenophobic. I want a kinder, gentler, more welcoming country.
I want Scottish independence … because we need to do something about land ownership. Vast tracts of our country are owned by faceless multimillionaires hiding behind shell companies. They’ve turned Scotland into a desert designed as the playground for the wealthy. The Highlands are so beautiful and empty because its people were turfed out into the slums of the Lowland cities to produce the wealth that allowed the rich to buy up the land. Meanwhile rural communities die and decline.
I want Scottish independence … because we need to unlock Scotland’s vast renewable energy resources. Scotland could be a beacon for the world, a beacon lit by energy from the wind and the waves. We need to create a sustainable economy, to reindustrialise in a green, carbon neutral and environmentally friendly way, but we can’t do that as long as the political and economic levers of our country are controlled by a Westminster dominated by Conservative politicians who know the price of everything and the value of nothing.
I want Scottish independence … because despite being told that this country was a partner nation in the UK we were torn out of the EU against our will and without being allowed any meaningful input into the form that Brexit took. Scotland found that the Brexit which was foisted upon it was designed and created with the interests of right wing English nationalists in mind and no one else. Only independence will allow Scotland to rebuild a relationship with Europe which is in accordance with the desires and interests of the people of Scotland. Independence represents the quickest way back into the EU, if that is what the people of Scotland want.
I want Scottish independence … because we need a written constitution that spells out the proper division of powers between the legislature, the executive, and the judiciary. Within the UK we have an unwritten constitution which permits the powerful to make things up to suit themselves as they go along. That has to stop. But above all, we need a written constitution in order to establish once and for all that the only sovereign body in Scotland is the totality of the people of Scotland. This is our land, independence allows us to own it as citizens, instead of being subjects within it.
I want Scottish independence … because there is so much that is wrong with Scotland, and we need to fix it. We have waited patiently for generations for the Westminster system to fix Scotland for us, only to slowly come to the realisation that it has a vested interest in keeping Scotland weak, dependent, powerless, and marginalised. We kept the faith all through the bitter years of Thatcher, only to discover that the British Parliamentary road to socialism ended in bombs on the road to Baghdad. Westminster doesn’t want to solve Scotland’s problems, because it’s only by keeping Scotland impoverished and feeble that it can tell us that we need them, that we’re too small and weak to stand on our own two feet. The truth is that the only people who can fix Scotland’s problems are the people of Scotland themselves, and we need the powers of independence in order to do so. I want Scottish independence because generations of wise Scottish women have always told us, if you want something done, ye need tae dae it yersel.
I want independence … because Scotland is a land that is so rich in resources, possesses such an abundance of talent, is pregnant with so many possibilities. They need to be put to the service of the people of Scotland, and not leeched away to enrich the City of London. It’s only with independence that Scotland can blossom.
I don’t want Scottish independence because I hate anyone. I don’t want Scottish independence because I believe Scotland to be better than anywhere else. I don’t want Scottish independence because I hark back to a rosy vision of a mythical Scotland that has never existed. I recognise the issues Scotland faces. I want Scottish independence … because I see the problems of this country with a clear eye, and I want Scotland to have the powers to fix them. I want Scottish independence … because I want Scotland to be a normal country.
NEW MODERATION POLICY
In the wake of recent events I am determined that this site will not become a home for bigots and conspiracy theorists. They will not be welcome here. Moderation is the most stressful part of running a blog, but this site is going to continue to make the positive case for independence. With this in mind as of today a new moderation policy is in force.
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