On Scotland voting No to Independence
I haven’t been posting here about Scottish Independence, but not because it’s not important to me as a Scot, but because it’s SO important that this entire issue has been a giant mass of stress for me.
The problem which made the topic so frustratingly stressful has been how much purposeful uncertainty was created around what would actually happen, complicated by the fact that there has been NO unbiased source on the matter. On the one hand you had the SNP and their understandably optimistic manifesto, which showed how they WANTED it to work, but came across, as most manifestos do, as unrealistically optimistic. This isn’t really a criticism of them, it’s not surprising that they wanted to stress the positive benefits of Independence, but I felt a definite lack of a more balanced and reasonable approach to pro-independence rhetoric that seemed less free of wishful thinking.
On the OTHER hand, there was a slew of exceedingly biased, often underhanded and purposefully obstructive and scare-mongering drivel from the media and from pro-union politicians. The media in particular failed to attain any kind of unbiased or balanced perspective, being as far as I saw nearly united in supporting the union and slandering the SNP. The BBC in particular stand out as SHAMEFULLY underhandedly biased. I’ve long noticed how since the SNP got into power the BBC news has been ignoring the Scottish parliament, but this really showed their true colours. They are supposed to be ‘impartial’ but actually did things like ignoring pro-independence protests, pretending an orange march was a ‘pro-union protest’ and, most shamefully, editing out SNP answers to questions and pretending they didn’t have answers. They should be in serious trouble for that last thing in particular. Really, our media in general is in dire need of reform.
And then there’s the pro-Union politicians. It’s not surprising, really, that they would want to be obstructive and create uncertainty over the important issue of currency and the EU, but it really made it difficult to know the truth of what would happen post-independence. SNP saying ‘we can do this way’ and the UK government saying ‘no you can’t’ made it so uncertain what would actually happen with the currency in the event of independence, given that what would happen with it would require the co-operation of the Westminster government. The EU issue was similarly purposefully left vague. There was basically a very effective fog of confusion and obstruction created surrounding what would actually happen in the event of independence.
All in all, given the extremely strong pressure put upon us all by the media to vote ‘no’, the massive uncertainty about key issues, the lack of unbiased sources, and the fact no votes were expected originally to be much higher at the start of campaigning than they were at the end, I have to agree that it’s impressive so many of us voted yes.
I myself voted yes, despite feeling some fear and uncertainty about what would actually happen economically. I wanted independence, I certainly want more powers of self governance for Scotland. I wanted Scotland to be more protected from the harmful influence of Tory policy and rise of the awful UKIP. The SNP are the only popular party right now I can stomach listening to- the only one not afraid to stand up for fairness and equality and lay into the regressive policies of the Tories. Milliband is so pandering, cringing and toothless, a kind of pathetic Tory-lite rather than a proper alternative. Salmond and Sturgeon, even if I’m not fully in support of everything they say, are comparatively a breath of fresh air- they seem truly committed, they’re smart, and unafraid to be critical.
I’m really sad to hear Samond’s resigned. I hope he’ll be back, as he has been before. I’ve seen him go from talking at anti-war marches and anti-nuclear weapons marches to rising to be head of this country, and I believe that he has always been an exceptionally talented politician, with more behind him than a simple desire for power.
I just wasn’t sure if it would or wouldn’t work out, and in truth, I was scared of what would happen. Now that there’s been a no vote, I am definitely disappointed, it feels like we missed a really important chance, even if it was also a risk.
The important thing, as Nicola Sturgeon has said, is for the SNP and others to bounce back and press forwards for the promised increased powers we were offered in the event of a no vote, and to not let them forget that nearly half of all Scots wanted independence.