1. Political Debate
At times similar to a cock-fighting competition, what passes for political debate in the UK makes it extremely easy to switch off, which may explain partly why 16 million people who could have voted did not vote at the last UK general election. While First Minister’s Questions are far more cantankerous than they once were, we have at least been spared viewing our dear Scottish leaders laughing while announcing ‘austerity measures’ that might well kill people. And if we did happen to accidentally elect such empathy-vacuums, they’d be closer to throw things at. And we’d actually have voted for them too and would find it far easier to boot them out. Democracy! Bonus!
2. International Politics
Think of international politics as akin to a bunch of friends (some close, some fair-weather, some psuedo) trying to work out where to go for lunch during their lunchbreak. (Bear with me…) How to decide? Do these friends pool their resources and distribute the food fairly? Or is there one chump who keeps insisting on robbing the local shopkeeper? And what about the dude who always wants to go to Dominos every day, while the new kid insists that we try the local café instead? I could continue, but in the interests of brevity: do the UK and Scotland, who are one ‘friend’ in this analogy, always want the same thing at lunchtime? There are ways to be internationally, and being the biggest best-mate of, er, Dominos chomping litter-bugs with an arsenal of ketchup sachets in their briefcase is only one option. And some of us are getting kinda hungry, eh?
3. Michael Gove & Related Issues
Yeah, I know. Education is devolved. Let us pause and thank the lord for that. While acknowledging the missed opportunities of parts of Curriculum for Excellence, a brief analysis of educational philosophy in Scotland could be ‘bloody hell, young people are important and all inherently different – shall we mibbe stop assuming they are all the same?’ while Gove’s philosophy is ‘Crivvens! Young people (especially the poor ones) are all pregnancy-prone wastrels who want to knife us! Let us teach them a bunch of facts and test them to within an inch of their sanity before they are old enough to hold a fork.’ The ‘related issues’ are the rest of the UK cabinet. The completely opposing directions being suggested in education, health, the arts, welfare and many other issues show a fundamentally different outlook in terms of what kind of country is deemed possible. Devolution is not enough to make up for this.
4. At What Price Is ‘Certainty’
Better Together have said a great deal about the uncertainty posed by independence. Well, when I say they have said ‘a great deal’ they’ve really just repeated the same lines over and over again. On the one hand they have said ‘UK OK’ and ‘why risk that?’ though they’re never quite clear what the ‘that’ is that we are risking. Could they possibly mean a situation where food banks have become completely normal, where even notionally affluent people cannot afford a mortgage on a letter box and where the working poor are demonised and those not in work painted as a bunch of Morlocks? They then say something about the economy being at risk. The entire economic system is a barmy, cantankerous, moustachioed sociopath; and the only ‘certainty’ of this system is that it is wholly unsustainable and makes life miserable for everyone. I prefer the certainty that the people of Scotland would, given half a chance, like to build something rather more sustainable.
5. Independence is normal
“Scotland is a country. Countries should be independent.”
— Stuart Braithwaite
6. The Chance To Build A Better Country
And what a chance we have! The idea that a ‘no’ outcome would lead to a better country isn’t true. There is a reason why this hasn’t even been suggested by Better Together. Their chutzpah has to end somewhere. We should take this chance now. No-one is suggesting it would happen overnight, and if they are, then they’ve had too much festive drink. Building a better country. Long-term visions; socially-just policy; more representative, less confrontational politics. Let’s be chancers.
7. Short-term Policies Are Rubbish
What do all of the current UK government’s policies have in common? Yes. Yes they are, but more than that, they are all extremely short-termist. And short termist policies are rubbish. They’re the policy equivalent of plasters on a gaping wound. You don’t solve unemployment by starving people into jobs that don’t exist; nor solve the housing crisis by making it easier for middle-class and affluent people to buy overpriced homes underwritten by the taxpayer. I mean, come ON, ye millionaire cabinet! There is no guarantee that this short-termism wouldn’t feature in an independent Scotland, of course. But our voting patterns suggest otherwise. And building a better country has to be about the most long-term vision you could possibly have. (NB: guess what? We don’t need to leave it up to the politicians either…)
8. The Possibilities
I want true social democracy and better representatives. One of my friends who is voting yes is doing so because they are a socialist and want to live in a socialist country and see independence as a step towards that. Another friend is voting yes because they see a chance to increase business in Scotland and would like a slice of the pie. Yet another is voting yes because they think it will be more possible to invest in green energy. It’s about the possibilities. Whether you want to continue with the moustachioed crank of an economic system (dinnae, dinnae I say!), or want to chuck it in the North Sea and embrace the chance to build a more socially just system, the fundamental point is that the people of Scotland will decide. It’s democracy, first and foremost. We can argue about anarchism or neoliberalism afterwards. Oh, and by lordy we will…
9. Small is beautiful
Newborn chicks, puppies, Sweden, National Collective badges, Norway, chocolate truffles, etc. Apologies. My word count is rapidly running out… But less is more sometimes, innit?
10. Why not?
Essentially, why not? I know, I know – uncertainty, the economy, getting to decide where to drag everyone to lunch even when they don’t want to go there, best of both worlds (one of which is rapidly resembling Mordor), UK OK, something about currency. Ach, scratch it. Uncertainty? Bring it on. Other things are far more important. Let’s do it. Vote Yes in 2014.