Independence, Politics, Scotland

Spanish (love) Bombs

‘I see what you did there.’

A teacher friend of mine in Spain shared this from one of their Spanish friends who is voting no. He added that his other Spanish friends believe this chap’s opposition to Scottish independence comes from his opinion of Catalonian independence rather than being ‘critically informed’, which is no surprise. Yet while decrying accusations of scaremongering he then proceeds to, er, scaremonger. As suggested at the end of my response his comments betray a sly identification of Scotland as a region rather than a nation.

Rafael says:

My timeline is full of Yes supporters, and I inform myself critically about what a Yes vote could bring to Scotland. I even almost changed my mind, but I’m still voting NO, I only ask every one else to read critically, not only those bits that fit what you already think accussing the rest of scaremongering. If you are interested to know, here are my reasons for voting NO:

– Yes, I would like to be living on a fairer country, and Yes I trust the people of Scotland, but I also trust the people of England, and the people of Wales, and the people of Northern Ireland. What I don’t trust are politicians, neither south or north of the border. Every one of you that believes Indepence will bring a political paradise to Scotland, a system where people have actual voice and can participate directly in the decision making process, you are dreaming of the impossible.

– We (actually the Scottish Goverment, but I’ll keep saying “we” for simplicity) already have many powers, and we are already getting more in 2016. They are not promised, they are signed, put in law. We already own the NHS, we already decided for our education, and in 2016 we’ll have the power to raise money through taxes. Do you still want more? Do you still want to take a risk that will bring so little to Scotland?

– Solidarity. Wanting a better society, but only for myself, is SELFISH. I want Scotland to be better off, but I also want UK to be better off, and Spain, and every single person in the world. I know however that my dream is also just that, a dream, but I’m not stupid enough to sell my dream for the chance of having more money than the people south of the border.

– The fact that the Tories are governing now in London doesn’t mean we haven’t chosen them. You cannot expect the party you vote to win every single time. Even when it’s a different party the one that sits in Westminster, you have still been part of the process to choose it. The process may not seem fair, but then let’s try to make it fairer. It won’t happen in an independent Scotland, and it definitelly won’t happen on a rUK.

– The loss of jobs, probably not my own one, probably not most of the jobs, but have you think of every company that makes most of their business south of the border? Put yourself for a minute on the helm of that company, if your company makes 90% of their business south of the border, won’t you move your offices and facilities down there?

– EU. We are not getting into the EU as quick as you may think. The article by which Salmond is proposing to enter the EU is actually used to modify the accords, and needs the vote of every single member of the EU. That means Scontland wants to propose, from outside, to change the way the EU works so it can have quick access to it, but Spain will vote agaisnt it because it will then facilitate Catalonia’s independence. I know the Tories are proposing a referendum re EU in a few years, but that means for UK to leave EU the Tories have to win the election in 2016 and then there has to be an OUT vote. And well, if that’s what happens, I’ll have to accept it, that’s what a democracy is about. Regardless of what the vote is, I know I’ll respect the outcome and work to make the best of it. I honestly hope most of you do the same.

Some of those supporting the Union of 1707 seem confused about Scotland’s status. Hint: not a region.

My reply:

Rafael, I was interested to know why you are voting no, so thanks for sharing. However your only serious argument against Scottish independence seems to be the possibility of losing EU membership (a flimsy argument at that) and I find it puzzling that you actually haven’t changed your mind based on what you say. Also, your first and third reasons were just insulting.

– Few people believe that “independence will bring a political paradise”. To make this assertion that “every one” of us is a blind dreamer is just as ignorant and offensive as saying “every one who is against independence is scaremongering”. Sweeping statements have always been the enemy in this debate. Here’s a new article that actually deals with the problem that your flippant remark highlights.

– There’s no simplicity in this matter. The Scottish government does not ‘own’ the NHS; it has control of decision-making, but no control of funding. Try giving control of your bank account to your neighbour. Tell them to decide how much to give you back each week; you’ll still have full control of how that money is spent after all! But are you willing to RISK them giving you less than you put into the account? Didn’t think so… If you think that control of ALL revenue (not just a wee bit) as well as spending, along with diplomacy, military, economy, infrastructure, etc, etc are only “so little” then I don’t think you grasp what independence means yet. ‘Invading Iraq? No big deal. Nuclear weapons by our biggest city? No big deal. Disabled people targeted by benefit sanctions and unfair taxes? No big deal.’

– “Solidarity. Wanting a better society, but only for myself, is SELFISH. I want Scotland to be better off, but I also want UK to be better off, and Spain, and every single person in the world.” You’re seriously saying that anyone who desires independence for their country is selfish? That people in Scotland don’t care about others? Get a grip. If the best you can argue against Scotland being independent is that ‘people in England can’t be trusted to govern themselves better without Scotland’ then what bloody hope is there? You know what offers NO hope of change for England, Scotland, Northern Ireland or Wales? Maintaining the Union of 1707, because why would anyone in the Labour or Conservative parties want to change something that’s working very well for them after all these years. You should realise that this isn’t just about the Tories, it’s about Labour’s abandonment of its principles over the past 25 years too; that’s why SO many Labour voters are supporting independence, despite what their London and ‘Scottish’ leadership say. No one is saying ‘only we should have a more fair and equal society’ – we’re saying ‘the best hope for everyone in Britain to have a more fair and equal society is to end this outdated political arrangement’.

– Jobs? Why does governing our own country threaten jobs? I’m putting myself at the helm of a company that does 90% of its business south of the border; and I’m thinking if it were to my company’s advantage then why have I not moved my office and facilities down there ALREADY? Some businesses may leave, but guess what? Others will replace them, because Scotland is a rich nation and there are plenty of profits to be made! Not to mention that the biggest threat to jobs in recent decades HAS been the UK government (see decline of industry/cuts to public spending). You’re missing the point that part of the problem with the UK is that everything is tilted towards London. So much of Britain’s big business is centred there already and we want to change that, while also dealing with the horrific tax evasion, corruption and international money laundering that Westminster’s lax laws encourage. Every year I see more of my friends leaving Scotland not because they want to, but because if they want to find a good job then they HAVE to move to London (where they will never even be able to afford their own house). Scottish independence doesn’t threaten jobs, it offers job opportunities.

– Frankly I don’t give a toss if Scotland has to be an EU-outsider like those very poor and backward countries, er, Norway and Switzerland. My nation’s independence will always be worth more than membership of the EU. On the other hand, EU membership is important for many economically, which is why so many farmers and fishermen are supporting independence, because it offers them the least risk of leaving the EU (these are usually very conservative individuals who you could normally expect to vote no). The fact that vocal resentment of the EU continues to grow and that the Conservatives present a real threat of Scotland being forced out of it (regardless of whether EVERY person in Scotland voted to stay in the EU) makes remaining in the UK even more obviously ridiculous. And are you seriously saying that the EU would risk forcing Scotland and the rest of the UK out when so many EU citizens live, work and study in Britain? The sovereign will of the Scottish nation may or may not set a precedent for the region of Catalonia, but I can see no advantage to Spain in trying to deny Scotland’s democratic choice and somehow strip Scots of their EU citizenship. As I said this seems to be your one serious reason to oppose independence and I think it’s incredibly weak.

Now I have a couple of questions for you. Firstly, do you believe that Scotland is a country or a region? Secondly, if the risks of independence are so great, all politicians are just as bad anywhere, all ‘the people’ of any country are equally trustworthy and independence is selfish then tell me, will you campaign for Spain to surrender it’s sovereignty to the UK, France or Italy? If not, why not?

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