Just what’s needed. A blog from someone who doesn’t blog very much on the subject of the Scottish Independence referendum. Because there isn’t enough of this sort of thing. Please feel free not to read this.
I’ve been trying to work out why I stand where I stand. I am, and forever have been, a default No. But why? I actually would love to be a proud Independent Scot. I consider myself more Scottish than British and I always have done. But I consider myself more Glaswegian than Scottish, more from one end of my home town than the place as a whole. So it’s not that I’m anti-English (considering I’m planning on marrying one of them next year, that would be awkward) or hate being British. I truly don’t. It’s simply of a case of identifying more with what’s closer to me. So why am I a No voter?
I’m yet to be convinced that this is the time for independence to work as well as it could. When basic questions like what currency we’ll use cannot be answered without argument, I fail to see how we can trust what we’re being told by the Yes campaign. They are painting a picture of idyllic proportions. The White Paper was a wonderful fairy story. They are portraying a vision of a perfect country with unending resources, where taxes won’t rise and everything we could ever need will be fully funded. Ok, so I’m paraphrasing a bit, but in essence, they’re claiming that it will be an easy ride. That’s just not going to be the case. When asking about the currency issue, we’re told that “They can’t stop us using the pound”. That’s entirely true, ‘they’ can’t. But without a currency union, which seems unlikely to happen, we would be using a currency over which we have absolutely no control. They haven’t actually told us how that’s a good thing. Because it’s not. Also, they can’t guarantee EU membership. Yes, there’s a lot of bluster about negotiating from within, etc, but essentially it’s a kind of a ‘do it and hope’ situation. And that seems to be the ethos of the Yes movement. “It’ll be fine”, “It’ll be a laugh”, “It’ll all work out”. And I don’t think I’m willing to take that gamble. I haven’t seen anything to convince me that my life and the life of my child (and possible future grandchildren) will be improved by living in iScotland.
Obviously, I don’t know that staying in the Union will improve these lives either, but it’s much less of a leap of faith. I don’t like being ruled by a government with archaic practices and so steeped in tradition that it can’t seem to find its way out of. I don’t like the fact that I’m represented by someone in a parliament that is completely inaccessible to the majority of the population. I am not afraid to say I don’t like Westminster. But neither do a vast number of English, Welsh and Northern Irish people. Scotland is hardly unique in its feelings of lack of representation.
Don’t get me wrong, the No campaign has been truly awful! I’m ashamed that the best they have come up with to try to convince Scots to stay in the Union has been basically scaremongering and patronising ad campaigns. (Whoever came up with the BT Lady concept should never be in charge of anything ever again.) I can honestly say that I haven’t paid much attention to the views of the No camp, so I can’t really give many more examples. I didn’t need to be convinced by them. What I have been disappointed by is the way to two sides have engaged with each other. It has been pathetic, embarrassing and cringe-worthy. Neither side has earned my respect or my vote.
I think Scotland becoming independent is inevitable. Possibly not this year, but the strength of feeling in the Yes camp is almost overwhelming, and that’s infectious. If this referendum returns a No vote, there will be another one in the future and the public will be less divided. This Union will not last forever.
This week, I’m voting with my head and my head says No, but if the result is returned as a Yes, my heart will have won. A little bit of me will be happy either way.