Indy2 – a huge mistake?

I debate politics and Scottish Independence with  my brother on a regular basis. We are both on the side of independence and I was a big blogger and activist in the 2014 Independence referendum.  We generally agree on most things and debate the finer details.  After our last debate I have a bit of a revelation that I want to promote …


I am not a raving Nat, in fact I have been openly critical of the SNP.  Albeit, I admire what they have achieved and unlike so many in England and the media and to a much lesser extend some in Scotland I think the SNP has and continues to do an admirable and honest job in Government.  And that is given the fact that we have been on pocket money for 310 years now – albeit they now call it the Barnett formula.  But I will return to this point but let me first explain my strap line.


Growing up in early fifties Glasgow in a very poor and Catholic environment having come from a privileged background and with a name that suggests I am either an Orangeman or a Nazi or both does not lend itself to screaming nationalism.  Actually, on that point, my experience of Scotland was that of a bitterly divided nation.  Divided by class, divided by politics, divided by wealth, divided by colour as in orange or green, divided especially by secret allegiances (and we know what/who they are) divided by religion, divided by education, divided by voice and accent, divided by location, divided by clan, divided by football team divided by what sport you played or enjoyed and probably divided by division.  My beloved, who like me spent half her life in the City of London, has experienced exactly the same division.  She feels, and I wholeheartedly agree that Scotland needs to find unity before it finds anything else.  But there is a real contradiction here.  I was never aware of some of the traditional prejudices such as gender, age, sexual orientation and ethnicity.  Mind you – I did think the Bay City Rollers were shit?


I developed this point from my brother.  During the last Independence referendum, language played a big part.  The word ‘independence’ conjures up feelings of isolation and the choice ‘yes’ or ‘no’ sounds very final and boolean; especially in the context it is used.

In fact Scotland and the SNP do not stand for Independence in that sense.  What the people of Scotland as a whole and the SNP reflect is the right to self determination.  I made this point quite simply, when I asked a guy who made the decisions in his household.  He struggled for a bit then offered a politically correct answer.  ‘Sometimes it is me sometimes it is my wife’, he said smugly.  So it’s definitely NOT YOUR NEXT DOOR NEIGHBOUR!  and that was my point.

The choice and aspiration of people in Scotland and in every country in the world is SELF DETERMINATION.  The opposite of that is SELF DETERIORATION.  But here’s the thing.  While Independence is isolationist in its nature, so is self deterioration.  Sadly this is all too often a trait of human nature.  When you are really successful and doing well and in a good place watch how popular you have become.  If you lose all that and find yourself in a very bad place, watch how quickly you become isolated.

So the answer is very simple.  Don’t let’s make the same stupid mistake of falling down the same hole as before and offering people a choice between isolation and the comfort of a long standing Union that picks us up when we fall, wipes us down, gives us a hug and send us off with a smile – until we realise they have relieved us of our wallet and watch!

Let’s offer people a simple choice:  SELF DETERMINATION v SELF DETERIORATION.

Now some may say that SELF DETERIORATION is inflammatory language.  Having lost almost all of our world class industry, having lost most of our infrastructure and our support industries, having lost our massive fishing industry and our massively valuable oil, having seen the dearth or collapse in the investment in our renewable/sustainable energy industry, having seen the impact on our citizens health and welfare – I could go on and on and on – perhaps it is inflammatory – I make no apology for that but if they want to change that to SERVITUDE then go on, knock yourself out.

But now here is the clever bit?

First of all, a country’s future is not down to politics or personalities.  Apartheid did not live or die with Nelson Mandela – he just helped it on its way to a natural human conclusion.  Self determination is a nature human conclusion and inevitability.

When people say they hate the SNP or they hate Alex Salmon or they hate Nicola Sturgeon they are actually saying they hate the fact that they are challenging their safe, comfortable and often privileged norm and they fear it will be taken from them.

Political parties come and go , sorry Labour, sorry UKIP.  People come and go on a heartbeat.  We must detach or take away politics from the really big decision.  Politics is almost always adversarial and confrontation so let’s put that into room 101.

In 2014 I felt, and have blogged extensively, that once we had agreement to hold a referendum the SNP should have stepped back.  Publishing the White Paper was a massive stroke of naivety despite how well meaning it was.  The opposition, Project Fear simply attacked the SNP and picked holes in the White Paper – this was their gift – we handed that to them on a plate and they supped to bloating.

Next time.  Next time it is a choice between SELF DETERMINATION and DEPENDENCY {for want of a better term}.  We could even be a little more provocative but I like the feel of DEPENDENCY.

Now, when the rUK ask us to explain DEPENDENCY we simple say, ‘we are not arguing your side of the question – that is for you.  You explain to the people why DEPENDENCY is a good place to be – end of .. ‘

What we do is to present the argument for self determination.  And that is really easy.  When I was about 3 or 4 my parents told me what to do.  I revolted.  I was determined to do things for myself.  I was my own person.  I was going to make my own decisions.  I was going to do things my own way.  I was prepared for the consequences .. a smacked arse, detention, withdrawal of pocket money.  Mind you I was only about 4 but I was on my way.  I didn’t get to make my own decisions – well, at least not the visible one but over the course of time I began to make more and more of my own decisions.  You can never expect to make all your own decisions but you find other ways to get the best deal and that involves building relationships, making compromises, ‘putting up’ some times and, yes, the occasional kick up the arse.  But, you know what, I was only 4 and learning fast.

Now, I expect almost all of you had a very similar experience and probably around the same time.

If on the other hand you try to tell us that you wanted to spend the rest of your life as a dependent being told what to do, how to do it and all the rest of it, I put it to you …


And that leads me to my final point.  The best argument in terms of self determination is simply this ..