Friday, 19 September 2014

Well, this is embarrassing...

So there it is, 54.3% of voters fell for the No Campaign while Yes Scotland managed a respectable but insufficient 44.7%.

It is a disappointment, I thought it would be closer. As I've said elsewhere, I'm not sure what it means to be a proud or patriotic Scot. We have nice scenery, decent pubs and many attributes, but I've never been asked to do anything for my country and certainly, just being born in a place doesn't qualify any one to feel proud about it.

What I am at the moment is mildly ashamed to be Scottish.

I don't like to think we bottled it although there will be many who did just that - add in the hundreds of thousands of comfortable middle class voters who only saw the debate in terms of some perceived narrow nationalism so had no clue about the real issues. I think many thought the Yes Campaign was driven by some misty-eyed tourist-tea-towel-inspired whim - they didn't explore each side of the debate properly because they never took it seriously in the first place.

So now, we're in the ignoble position of seeing what was one of the most negative, misleading and pinch-faced campaigns in recent history meet its goal. Johann Lamont, Ruth Davidson, Jim Murphy and (dear God) The Oily Jackie Baillie are all claiming victory in Scotland. Led by politicians who weren't any good to begin with and who in the past have displayed eye watering contempt for normal standards of morality - are a majority of the Scottish electorate really just timorous suckers?

Paradoxically - because I don't blame them one bit - I hope the voters who felt bullied into voting No are regarding themselves with a gentle frisson of regret. And to the cynics who voted No because they whine - "nothing ever changes..." - I hope your next shite is a hedgehog because the cynicism that drove your No vote was created by the same people who wanted you to vote that way all along. I dare say - in between being so accustomed to being right you've forgotten what its like to be wrong - you'll still get the chance to feel superior.

It'll still be interesting, people who bought into the last-gasp more-powers arguments will be first to start doubting their choice - did they not think paying tax for services then paying tax again for the same services seemed suspicious? Can we coin a phrase and call that Pyramid Taxation? Then there are those who voted No but decided they can continue to complain about Westminster cross-party fuckwittey, (I call these people UK Labour Faithful.) They'll never understand it doesn't matter who they vote for at Westminster; unless their hopes happen to gel with the English electorate and London business interests, they'll never get the government they vote for.

I don't really know what to say about the demographic that never thought we'd manage in the first place - knowledge tends to build confidence, is there any excuse for being willfully ignorant yet still know your actions will affect others so detrimentally? The referendum is being redrawn as a victory for democracy and in terms of turn out it certainly was that - unfortunately it was also a victory for rank ignorance & self-inflicted naivety.

And finally, those that voted No because you thought it would be a No anyway... 

I suppose, in the final analysis Scotland has always had to lie in a bed made by others. We had a limited time during which we could have changed that but instead; we chose to revert to type.

There are some things I am glad to take away from the debate; the people I've met, 
if not in person then certainly in hope & aspiration (there are too many to link to in this sentence - you know who you all are.) The satire & great humour of the No campaign for which the No side had no parallel and a much greater understanding of politics in the UK and Scotland's place in it.

I'm leaving the Yes stickers on my car to show I still and always will believe a Yes vote was righteous. While I'm slightly ashamed to be Scottish today, I'll always feel good about being part of the Yes Campaign.

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Can you feel it?

Which ever way you're voting today, this is a day like no other. Never before in Scotland has a democratic vote meant as much as this one. From your brain, across your shoulder then down your arm through the tip of a tiny pencil hangs the balance. Even if you're voting No - although you'd be voting to give away power - you are voting with tangible capability.

This vote isn't about choosing between three or four insipid candidates, picking the best of a bad bunch or the lesser of two evils - its about choosing to reject those depressingly empty options for something better.

Of course there are risks but there are also opportunities - great opportunities. The notion that we need to be looked after by a London based establishment, that we couldn't do it as well or better ourselves; is outdated nonsense.

The notion that it is wiser to hand power to people who do not rely on our mandate than to award it to people who do - is fatuous.

Vote well today Scotland, because if you do not, no other vote will count for a very long time indeed.

Most of all though - vote with hope, not fear.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Final Words...

And they're not mine. I respect him hugely but my support is not limitless and I haven't always voted for the party he leads. He might hold the highest office in Scotland and polarise feeling, to some he's bellicose & arrogant - to others he's inspirational & statesman-like. 

Which ever your belief - ignore the history, the press vilification and attempts by Better Together and the rest to tie every negative instance in Scotland real or imagined to his name and just read the words below.

On their own, not linked or attributed to a source and away from the often maddening debate - they push beyond any reasonable doubt that only one outcome is right for the day after tomorrow...

Scotland re-emerging to take its place as an independent country, working constructively with her neighbours for the mutual benefit of the many - instead of the few.

Vote Yes.

"In these final hours of this historic campaign I want to speak directly to every person in this country who is weighing up the arguments they have heard.

I have no doubt people in Scotland will look past the increasingly desperate and absurd scare stories being generated daily from Downing Street.

Those have no place in a sensible debate.

So in these last days of the greatest campaign Scotland has ever seen, I want to ask you to take a step back from the arguments of politicians and the blizzard of statistics.

For every expert on one side, there is an expert on the other.

For every scare tactic, there is a message of hope, opportunity and possibility.
The opportunity for our Parliament to gain real job creating powers, the ability to protect our treasured National Health Service and the building of a renewed relationship of respect and equality with our friends and neighbours in the rest of these Islands.

But for all that, the talking is nearly done.

The campaigns will have had their say.

What's left is just us - the people who live and work here.

The only people with a vote. The people who matter.

The people who for a few precious hours during polling day hold sovereignty, power, authority in their hands.

It's the greatest most empowering moment any of us will ever have.

Scotland’s future - our country in our hands.

What to do? Only each of us knows that.

For my part, I ask only this.

Make this decision with a clear head and a clear conscience.

Know that by voting ‘Yes’, what we take into our hands is a responsibility like no other - the responsibility to work together to make Scotland the nation it can be.

That will require maturity, wisdom, engagement and energy - and it will come not from the usual sources of parties and politicians but from you - the people who have transformed this moment from another political debate into a wonderful celebration of people power.

Does every Country make mistakes? Yes.

Are there challenges for Scotland to overcome? Undoubtedly.

But my question is this - who better to meet those challenges on behalf of our nation than us?

We must trust ourselves.

Trust each other."