Today the no campaign had a photo stunt down in Inverclyde. The crux of which was ‘vote no for your family’.
I’m thinking of family when writing this.
I never intended to write on the independence referendum or indyref other than to clarify my own thoughts.
I thought I could set where I was and what I was thing against what was out there.
No one intends to talk politics incessantly.
I started with what I thought I knew, history and background and the building blocks of where we are.
Sometimes you need to look at where you are and where you’re going to?
But where was I going with it?
I was headed towards supporting yes and it was gradual and slow and wasn’t a flash of inspiration at all.
So that was me in the early part of 2014, the debate was hotting up and the campaign was starting for real.
And, to date, that campaign has been highly technical with arguments over currency union and things like that.
Foreigners reporting have commented on the lack of passion and how dry some topics discussed have been.
The main big thing for the no campaign has been jobs, money and economy with Currency a particular favourite topic.
It’s important stuff but takes a certain twist of political logic to go and do the following things..
The Edinburgh Agreement gave Scotland the right to have a referendum on Independence.
Noises were made on having respect between the British and Scottish Governments and that it would be left as the decision of the people.
Enquiries were made by the Scottish Government about discussing what might be set up in event of a Yes vote.
These enquiries were rebuffed. No discussions in advance of independence, no agreed positions if it were to happen.
(This is despite both sets of Civil Servants at UK and Scottish levels working on what to do if Independence happens.)
The independence white paper gets published a range of currency options are set out, including continuing to use the pound in currency union with the remaining parts of the UK.
So, George Osborne goes up to Edinburgh, he makes a speech saying you can’t use the Pound.
It sets off the whole ‘You can’t use the Pound’ and leads to the infamous ‘What’s your Plan B question.’
It’s a bawbag question.
Currency union is part of the negotiations that would be required post independence. I sometimes have to negotiate for what I do, you don’t start by conceding your position.
So if denying Currency Union is part of a project to scare voters, then what else?
The no camp set off their campaign as project fear, every issue was shot down, ‘You can’t do this’, ‘That won’t work’, ‘You won’t be allowed to..’
So you trash every argument, close it all down, put the fear into the people over ‘these nationalists’.
Discredit, smear, use the papers to support you, use the BBC as an organ telling the story your way.
You use words like ‘Separate’, ‘Best of Both Worlds’ , you start speeches with ‘I’m a proud Scot but..’
I didn’t start out intending to be a nationalist, but it’s a civic nationalism, not ethnic and inward looking.
For me it’s creating a Scotland for those of us living and working here.
I read and read stuff available online and on article and books and became convinced independence was the answer, but the no campaign had a convenient label for people like me – I was a Cybernat!!!
As I say I support yes, but I know that it isn’t a panacea for all and everything.
If the intended independence date in March 2016 is made, elections follow in May 2016. We get the government we want.
It follows that the first government can frame the institutions and processes and the way Scotland works as a nation following the negotiations over who got what.
But how did I get to that stage of believing that Independence is the only way forward for me and for Scotland.
I voted Labour in the nineties, I followed the herd thinking and believing I was doing the right thing.
I saw the Blair project implode. I saw the banks built up under Labour collapse and fail and drag down Scotland.
By the point of the 2011 election I voted SNP, I wanted the option of independence.
Devo-more and Devo-max were talked and talked about, but the Edinburgh Agreement only placed Union or Independence on the table.
We’ve seen pledges made about more powers for Scotland but the reality of a no vote is that there will be consequences.
The Tory right have spelled that out. Austerity has had a soft start, the hope was that an improving economy would soften the blow and that a greater tax intake from that could balance cutting the public sector spending. A shrinking of the state that even Thatcher would marvel at.
It’s an ideology and experiment to rebalance the UK economy. It’s about businesses and their opportunities to take on roles hitherto kept in the public sector. It’s call choice for doctors or choice for hospitals or choice for educators or choice for parents.
Schemes such as workfare are horrible using and casting off unemployed people as cheaper labour whilst dangling the carrot of a possible job.
When workfare placements are over Job Centres have sanctions including loss of benefits for those they deem that are not trying hard enough.
Young mums are being pushed to create mini businesses creating things or selling things to take them off the statistics.
It’s not what I want to see. It’s not what I was brought up in and it’s damn well not what I want my kids to have to go through.
I want hope, I want decency in how we treat each other. I don’t want young Scottish boys being cannon fodder for politicians who decide that one group in the Middle East are bad after clammering to arm them a year beforehand.
I know of people going to foodbanks near me in Paisley, meanwhile, London’s never had it so good and nurses and ambulancemen can’t afford to live there.
Scotland isn’t that far away from that decision day and the numbers are close.
But to me, it seems that the only campaign with a positive message is Yes.
There’s kids (twenty something’s) from radical independence going around the schemes registering people to vote. They’re doing it at job centres too.
Ordinary people are actually volunteering to canvass for yes. Labour have advertised down south for activists to effectively work up here.
The day to decide is coming. Look read and learn, visit a yes shop, have a chat, look at what’s out there.
Who has a vision and who means to scare you?
Back to my worries about my undecided relatives.
See these billboards from no.
Is your family or country really better with this United Kingdom?