I support Scottish independence for one basic reason: I think things could be better. Not because I have evangelistic faith in Alex Salmond personally, or that I think Scotland will overnight become the socially just nirvana of my dreams, but that it’s an opportunity for government free of the Westminster hub, which has lurched to the right not just in recent weeks but recent years, to the point where I find it difficult to distinguish one neo-liberal, free-market-worshipping party from the next. There is little/no political-philosophical opposition in Westminster, nothing to represent Scotland’s significantly left-er political spectrum, and the current administration’s moves against the most vulnerable in our society, the hypocrisy in its own affairs and its treatment of the most powerful commercial/financial interests, made me truly ashamed to be British for the first time in my life.
Scotland has been the butt of no small disdain in the English national media lately. That some otherwise insightful commentators should resort to base stereotype and dismissal speaks of how little this country appears on Westminster’s radar, and what a chore and an affront it is when it does. 7% of Britain’s people are set in a box marked ‘Ignore when possible, mock when necessary’, though I don’t doubt the same occurs when (say) Wales, or Cornwall, or the North-East does likewise. We are all valued citizens until we speak up.
I don’t want Scotland to rule the world, just to rule Scotland. We can look to Iceland and Sweden, their sustained track records of caring for all of their citizens, and operating a society in which the gap between rich and poor is small and tax-paying immigrant workers aren’t sold up the river to appease the ignorant. I don’t even necessarily want politicians who aren’t total arseholes. I just want them to be our arseholes, and less than 400 miles away when they fuck up (one reason, incidentally, I also support Orcadian/Shetlandic independence, come what may).
Scotland 2014: just a wee bit less shite than England. Is it such a mad dream?
Photograph used with kind permission of Chris Scott.