Britain, England, Independence, Northern Ireland, Politics, Scotland, Wales

To be or not to be… What about something in between?

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‘You don’t even have to be elected by an elite council? And your country is still considered a democracy?!’

Following is the text of my submission to the Smith Commission. I could have gone to great lengths studying the submissions of others and constructing something more solid, but let’s be honest – we are writing to a Lord about vague assurances made before a weak democratic decision. That’s not to say this is a futile exercise. Refusing to express your views to the Smith Commission is about as useful as refusing to vote at general elections. Yes, you can look on it as collaborating in a hopeless process, which it just might be, but right now I don’t see any better options.

So by playing along we can at least make our feelings felt, whether by reiterating to Lord Smith that we want nothing less than complete autonomy, or by voting for parties that aren’t Labour, Liberal Democrat, Conservative or UKIP at elections. Hence I urge you to submit your own demands, regardless of how you voted in the referendum. I have not met many people who are completely satisfied with their UK experience, so even if you still have faith in some form of union it seems safe to assume that you do want change. ‘Have your say’ here.

___________________

In his announcement following the referendum result David Cameron stated that “just as Scotland will vote separately in the Scottish Parliament on their issues of tax, spending and welfare, so too England, as well as Wales and Northern Ireland”. I completely agree, which is why I voted yes to independence. The Union of 1707 served Scotland & England well in an imperial age, to the detriment of many around the globe. Yet it was never designed to serve the needs of the majority of these nations’ citizens. Nothing haphazardly developed from feudal systems can serve a democracy. After all, what sort of democracy has more unelected legislators than elected one?

With 1,617,989 people in Scotland firmly rejecting the arrangements of the United Kingdom this cannot in any way be construed as a ringing endorsement of the UK. Many only voted to remain in the UK on the condition of radical change, but the Prime Minister’s decision to make a last minute Vow to the people of Scotland without consulting his own parliament is only the latest sign that the United Kingdom has no hope of survival. What we have now is a constitutional mess that is already making politics within the UK increasingly bitter and divisive; I don’t just mean between people in Scotland.

So until the day that this anarchic political system is scrapped my demand is that the leaders of Labour, the Conservatives, the Liberal Democrats do deliver on their promise, however vague. If they do not then the number of people in Scotland demanding independence can only continue to grow; and that means that any half-measure of ‘60% control of taxes’ is not enough. Neither is 100% control of tax good enough if spending decisions are so dependent on what the UK government decides, as with the NHS.

I agree with David Cameron that Scotland, England, Northern Ireland and Wales need 100% control of all resources, taxes and revenue raised within their shores, as those boundaries now stand. They also need 100% control of spending on welfare, education, etc. with the caveat is that each must contribute some amount to maintain a reduced UK parliament primarily concerned with foreign policy and defence, concerns about which I understand were the main reasons for many people deciding to maintain the Union. This obviously creates a multitude of new complications, which is why I wanted nothing less than complete independence.

As it is a majority did decide to continue with some form of union, yet the Union as we knew it is finished. What is required now is radical change and I do not believe that the Westminster establishment can ever deliver change of that magnitude for reasons of understandable self-interest. It would simply be counter-intuitive for the Labour, Conservative or Liberal Democrat parties to concede such a reduction of their centralised power, however damaging the long-term consequences of that instinct will be.

Therefore I challenge that establishment to prove me wrong and I demand that we dissolve the Union of 1707 in favour of a federal arrangement and a new constitution for the 21st century; negotiated not between parties at Westminster, but between representatives of all four nations. I can see no other way to bring the people of Scotland together as well as everyone within the UK. Hence I also demand that England, Wales & Northern Ireland each be allowed to hold independence referendums of their own.

To do otherwise would be counter-productive and although Scotland was the first to make this democratic decision it should not be alone in choosing the fate of Great Britain & Northern Ireland. Only if all four partners agree can any form of union be justified between four nations; yet until then the people of Scotland have been promised a far higher degree of control in their affairs and that cannot be delayed.

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‘Radical change? What?’

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Britain, Independence, Politics, Scotland, Socialism

No left turn.

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So Scotland could have ended up like Spain, eh…

I was fully on board to hear some criticism of the SNP or the Yes campaign, because I like criticism – it’s healthy and often helpful. Carol Craig actually does make plenty of good observations about different aspects of the referendum in her explanation of why she intended to vote no. Yet quite quickly this other piece went all wrong – the stand out statement for me was early on: “I’ve shuddered every time I heard folk talking about how indebted the UK is”.

Is this because she recognises how unnecessary a lot of the UK’s debt is; how entrenched vested interests have skewed the political and economic priorities of our governments; how that debt is being used as an excuse to arbitrarily punish the most vulnerable? Nope! Carol shudders because to her this complaint reflects the selfish, nationalist optimism of those who pointed it out. Conveniently she ignores the constant assurance that the Scottish government would seek to take its share of the UK’s debt, whether legally required to or not!

I don’t doubt that she did find the decision agonising, and I sympathise with plenty of her concerns. Yet she doesn’t veer far at all from the “SNP dictatorship” perspective and her claim that Scotland would somehow be less safe from corporate interests out-with the UK is pretty bizarre… More perplexing still is her claim that “I’d rather be on the same side as radicals like Andy Wightman, young activists like Zara Kitson and cultural figures like Janice Galloway and David Greig whose work I admire hugely. Instead I’m on the same side as the bowling clubs, old footballers and the British Legion.” Yet Carol did indeed choose that side in the end.

What worries me is that, while lamenting the rise of nationalism in Scotland (mhm), she seems to find being on side with bowling clubs, footballers and the British Legion more troublesome than being on side with: the actual ethnic nationalists (BNP, Britain First, UKIP); the morally bankrupt establishment (Labour, Conservatives, Liberal Democrats); and, you know, everyone else who is patently anti-leftwing within the UK. I could go on, especially about the blind optimism of her hopes for a grass roots, left-wing resurgence within the UK (although she doesn’t talk about that too much). Thankfully Stephen and others who commented on her article said most of what I wanted to say.

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“I have dreaded writing this reply because as someone who has two of Carol’s books I was extremely sympathetic to her account of how our country and its people have been damaged by the forces of economics and history, and yet on this matter I believe she has not only spectacularly mis-judged the opportunity for national advancement that was on offer, but she has besmirched a movement, which had at its heart social justice, not selfishness, as she posits.

Like every independence movement that has gone before it, and there have been over 100 since 1945, the over-riding question on offer is this. Do citizens of a nation prefer to govern themselves or would they prefer to be governed by another country? Contrary to what Carol would like us to believe, independence as a route to self-enrichment, was never dangled in front of the populace as some kind of “get rich quick scheme”. Yes, of course, people wanted to know if they were likely to be better or worse off, than being ruled from Westminster, and I am sure the Czechs and Slovaks, Estonians, Lithuanians and all the rest of those middle-European nations who became independent in recent time had to inform their citizenry on the economic viability of becoming self-governing, but it wasn’t the main issue.

So when Carol says that the ” core reality of the official Yes campaign – its appeal to selfishness.” or “Essentially the official Yes campaign was not about heart, but pocket” .I just think what campaign have you just witnessed? It wasn’t the one I saw as I chapped doors. No-one was ever told by me or anyone I was out with to tell people that the good time were on their way post-referendum. Yes, I told many a person not to believe the doom and gloom from those who would wish us to believe that financial doom was awaiting us on the other side of a Yes vote, but I believe that to be the case. Sorry Carol, but if you are basing your argument for a No vote on the basis that the other side were trying to bribe the electorate with lucre then you are dreaming.

In my opinion, and this isn’t a leap of political imagination, just a recognition that Noam Chomsky and George Orwell have told us how this goes in class-riven societies, a large part of the population were cowed by the arguments that there is not alternative to the status quo of neo-liberal British mantras. Scotland will be punished by the markets, the man in the big hoose will take his favours elsewhere, your mortgage will sky-rocket, Asda will bump-up your bills for the hell of it and lets be frank, we are all not really cut-out to make a go of things. We’ll just get it wrong!

Readers of Carol’s will know that the fear of “getting it wrong, and being “found out” are huge impediments to risk-taking and self-expression that many Scots feel based on the hand that history and economic forces have dealt them. It is ironic, but more importantly, deeply saddening that she has based a lot of her justification for supporting the No campaign on the proviso that the market-makers, spivs and masters of the universe of the City are going to punish Scotland for wanting to build a nation state that espouses social justice at its core.

And on those ” 55 of the UK’s lead academic economists wrote to the Financial Times independently of the No campaign, to say that independence was ‘ a gamble with very poor odds’. Which of those geniuses predicted 2008’s cataclysm? None of them and their benevolent wishes for a nation wishing to remove itself from the City of London’s vice-like grip, are conspicuous by their absence.

I will still recommend Carol’s books for those who would like to know why many of the their Scottish grandparents, parents, friends and relatives, feel unable to express themselves as fully autonomous individuals and why society abuses or ignores them for this lack of confidence. However her denigration of the Yes campaign as one based on selfishness and bribes, suggests to me that she has given-up on any possibilities for social advancement for Scotland’s working classes that does not involve kow-towing to financial capitalism’s big sticks.”

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Britain, Independence, Politics, Scotland

In it Together. Big Society. So much Better. Wow.

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Just fancy that! Hello, Private Eye…? Oh. I see.

“Scots Are *Very* Unimpressed By Irishman Geldof’s Thoughts On Indyref”

So unimpressed. It’s difficult to rub your hands with glee and shake your fists with rage at the same time, but I almost am! Another clumsy attempt by, not outsiders, but the completely ignorant to tell voters in Scotland what matters. I have no problem with people from anywhere in the world commenting on our referendum. I appreciate foreign input, even if it isn’t the usual “Go for it, Scotland!”

What I resent is people commenting who not only have little connection with or understanding of Scotland, but have little connection with or understanding of ordinary people. Geldof, Izzard and Snow are prime examples of this. Millionaires 4 Dependence, and once again the fact that Dan Snow’s father-in-law is the Duke of fucking Westminster, third richest man in Britain, is completely overlooked. ‘Worried about your lands in Scotland, my friend?’ ‘No, no! I just really love the country. Er, I visit the food banks all the time – getting to know the locals and that.’

It’s a relief to see people in Ireland and all over calling out the absolute horror that is an Irishman bearing a Knighthood of the British Empire telling another country altogether that ‘Scotland is a feeling; the United Kingdom is one of the greatest ideas ever invented for the modern age.’ Other great ideas that pre-date the Union of 1707 include democratic government; liberty and equality for all; and sovereignty lying with the people, not a monarch.

So many unanswered questions about dependence...

Two centuries later and still so many unanswered questions about dependence…

If Bob & chums had been holding rallies to secure all of that for the United Kingdom during the past, I don’t know, 30 years, then we probably wouldn’t be so desperate to dissolve the Union of 1707 and have a bash at achieving democracy and equality without them. Reclaiming sovereignty for the people of Scotland is only the first step. It certainly is ‘a question for humanity and eternity’. We want a government that has some humanity and we don’t want to spend eternity living like this.

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Britain, Independence, Politics, Scotland

UKIP England, but we’re wide awake.

‘We could build a Scotland where woman are not “worth less” and where we blame environmental destruction on those destroying the climate, not on men kissing each other.  We could speak directly to those across the whole of Britain who’re taken in by UKIP – and to those across Europe who’re battling the far-right – and stand as a beacon of what a better, fairer country actually looks like.  What Nigel and the Nos fear most isn’t Scotland failing, it’s Scotland succeeding.  That’s why they are scared.

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The indifferent faces of the United Kingdom.

It’s very simple – and scary. The simplistic scaremongering relied upon by No is the same simplistic scaremongering that allows UKIP to gain any votes at all while Labour and Conservatives pander to racism in response. The kind of articulate, intelligent and constructive debate that Yessers have fostered is the absolute antithesis of what UKIP thrives on; fear. It’s hard to be angry and afraid when you have confidence and knowledge and it’s easy to vote for UKIP when you’re angry and afraid.

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If tea and racism were mutually exclusive UKIP wouldn’t exist.

The transparency and sharing of information that Yes has flourished by also means that other UK politicians have to work a bit harder and actually talk about tackling complicated issues rather than just out-blame-others with UKIP. The reason we’re seeing such a panicked, poorly coordinated flurry from Shiter Thegether at this late stage is that for all this time they’ve taken their default lead for granted and misunderestimated not only the Scottish population’s education, but it’s access to information. Scotland may be angry, but we are not afraid. That’s why we’re voting yes for independence.

Independence and inclusion.

“It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting, but for freedom – for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself.” Interesting that the staunchest defenders of the anti-freedom campaign are Westminster politicians…

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Britain, Independence, Politics, Scotland

Spot the Difference; Leader Beans

'The Leader only appears briefly, riding through the fields in a Rolls-Royce.' - Description from a Simpsons fan page actually fits Scotland perfectly.

‘The Leader only appears briefly, riding through the fields in a Rolls-Royce.’ – Description from a Simpsons fan page actually fits the UK perfectly.

Nothing says ‘Better Together’ like their constant conflation of Yesnp/Salmond. Their frequent preference for character assassination over debate reveals their discomfort outside of the usual party politics and betrays their lack of serious arguments against Scottish independence (scaring pensioners doesn’t count as a serious argument). Indeed it’s infuriating that so many of the public meetings/debates organised by local independence groups lack an opposing view. Our nation’s biggest decision in three centuries, which will affect centuries to come, and all they can talk about is one man who won’t be around for much longer? Get a grip. Yet there are occasions when it can be enlightening to look at our national leaders and compare how they approach the referendum…

Alex Salmond spoke in Elgin high street about the revolution of democratic participation amongst ordinary people as a result of the independence referendum (all the new voters desperate for independence, coincidentally).

David Cameron spoke to an ‘invited audience at Scottish Widows’ (you know, the insurers and investors) about ‘the UK family’ and limited top-down reform (possibly).

Meanwhile, back at Westminster, Hague says that offers of more powers for Scotland are “akin to a statement in a general election campaign” and not UK government policy. So there you have it! Even by neglecting the very serious conversation that is going on across our country and focusing on the Scottish/UK figureheads you cannot help noticing the difference between the concerns of a Scottish government and a UK government.

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Well, since you’re here, Call Me Dave, would you like to tackle any of the issues that are driving Scots towards independence? ‘Nah, I’ll just tell them how great things are and have always been again.’ Seemingly that’s all Westminster politicians have to offer us. History and family ties, but no vision for the future. As a friend of mine put it:

Saying our ties with people in the rest of the UK will change/stop post Yes doesn’t make you pro solidarity Ed, it makes you an ethnic nationalist. My family are English, and the ties and love that bind us together aren’t dependent on an out of touch institution, or the location of decision making. How stupid do they think we are?

This stupid.

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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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Britain, Independence, Politics, Scotland

Dr. Strangelove’s Blitz Spirit

*nuclear disarmament not included

I’m sure everyone remembers Cameron’s referendum rallying cry at the start of the year. You know, when he called on the rest of the UK to shower Scotland with resentment affection? The so called ‘love bomb’ tactic, which was probably an improvement on the self-titled ‘Project Fear’; if only we were seeing any evidence of it. If you haven’t read or heard that speech I highly recommend giving it a look or listen. It’s hard not to notice that his positive case for the union mostly rests on past ‘achievements’. Between 1707-1956 to be precise, the 250 year period during which we wrote ‘this great, world-beating story‘. Douglas Robertson summed up Cameron’s appeal to old, imperial unity thusly:

Labour and Conservatives being equally enthralled by power, share the trappings, the cloak of Britishness, as has become so evident throughout this referendum campaign. Britain as a political entity can only be brought into focus through this Nuclear Empire lens. Thus, as hard as it might have once been to envisage, there is no irony in arms dealers, city suits, dodgy oilmen and retired spooks funding the No campaign, happily leaving Labour to front it. Empires are powerful places, run by powerful people: we are powerful people, we run things, so we buy into Empire.

'Two horrible books in one' - and it's a neverending story.

Does this story ever end?

Unionists regularly broadcast their expectation that supporters of independence will hijack any and every momentous and historical event to promote their cause, be it the 700th anniversary of Bannockburn or the Glasgow Commonwealth Games. They must have felt some surprise (or disappointment) then at the fairly low key, apolitical celebration of Bannockburn and the cautious neutrality of the official Yes team and Scottish Government at the Games. Not so their own side! Hypocritically, unionist elements at the very highest echelons (the UK government and MoD) abused their powers in a concerted effort to interfere with both events. Not only was the blatant disregard for even a pretence of impartiality insulting, but the militaristic nature of the intervention on Bannockburn’s anniversary demonstrated exactly where the establishment’s priorities lie.

At least it demonstrates where they’d like us to believe their priorities lie. Years of inadequate funding, privatisation of logistics and procurement, plus thousands of redundancies reveal that Westminster (especially with millionaire Conservatives at the helm) actually regards soldiers with just as much contempt as they do us civilians. Yet memories of ‘glorious’ conquest and continuing delusions of grandeur make the UK government predisposed to showing off military might where possible. This is crystallised in the unanimous backing of Trident however expensive and useless it might be and whether or not the people of Scotland’s most populace dear green place actually want to have weapons of mass destruction beside their homes (they do not).

Ironically of course we could afford to maintain a sensible number of military personnel and properly equip them by scrapping Trident, but the ingrained desire for apocalyptic machismo at the heart of the UK government makes that as unlikely as ever actually dropping the bomb. Speaking of dropping the bomb, whatever happened to that love bomb we were promised? I’m hoping that the infamous Let’s Fail Together video and letter weren’t the sum of it. What about the ordinary people of England, weren’t they going to ‘get on the phone, get together, email, tweet, speak’ to tell Scotland how much they’d miss us, etc? Well after reading today’s Herald, Times, Telegraph or Scotsman you might lose any lingering optimism about that:

Love bombs; no one said they were less threatening than the other kind.

The message from a worrying number of the media, politicians and ordinary folk of England (as badly informed about this referendum as most of them must be) is that Scotland isn’t going to get away scot free; ‘the English want the Government to take a “hard line” with Scotland whatever the independence referendum result’. In other words, ‘vote yes and we will refuse to negotiate on a currency union; we will build a barrier between us; we will prevent you from entering NATO, the EU or the UN; we will shit all over ourselves just to teach you a lesson’. Alternatively, ‘vote no and we will abolish the Barnett formula; we will cut your funding; we will leave your parliament weaker than it already is; we will shit all over you for even daring to consider an alternative future’. What is important to note here is what is within and what is without the UK government’s power.

After an anti-independence vote it is within the UK government’s power to punish us with impunity, because by voting no we throw away the one bargaining chip we had and surrender supreme sovereignty to the English majority at Westminster; they may deal with us as they wish and the world will turn it’s back on any complaint once our moment of democracy has passed. After an independence vote it is without the UK government’s power to prevent us from using our own currency or remaining in organisations that we have been members of for decades. I’ll concede that they may create a militarised border if that is their will – the UK government has form after all – but as noted that would be a self-destructive policy. So much for Cameron’s worry that the rest of the UK might ‘just wave [us] a wistful goodbye and carry on as normal’!

Considering these points surely the choice is obvious? There’s still a month to go in which further love bombing may occur, though judging by previous efforts it’s bound to be as unpleasant as the thinly veiled (and the explicitly stated) threats. The best I can hope for is that the unionists’ incendiary rhetoric instils us with the Blitz spirit that David Cameron criticised Gordon Brown for invoking in 2008: “The PM tells us to find our Blitz spirit when he is the one dropping the bombs – the tax and debt bombshells that are taking Britain to the brink of bankruptcy.” Fancy that! Perhaps he will not object so strongly if I make a similar invocation now, because I have certainly been noticing more and more signs of Blitz-like catastrophe around my country in recent years.

Food rationing? Check.

Short life expectancy? Check.

Apparent bomb damage? Check.

All in it together? Er

I mean what’s not to love? Are we not ‘a source of hope to the world’ as Mr Cameron put it? Love bombs away!

Can you feel it yet?

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