Monday, 18 March 2013

Inde-WHUT!?


Candlemakers Row, Edinburgh
What is capable of mobilizing our generation in this day and age? It appears that beyond ‘LadBible’ and nose piercings, not much. The status of Scotland as a nation has been hauled into the limelight and it depresses me to see that the majority of people my age want nothing to do with it. The knowledge that the next 18 months holds an onslaught of cringe-worthy nationalistic campaigning is perhaps part of it, maybe the multiple chins of Salmond shame young Scots into submission, who knows. What bothers me is that something exciting and potentially game changing is occurring in the form of a referendum that, I admit, I didn’t initially give a shit about.

I get the feeling that to many people ‘referendum’ or ‘independence’ are shameful words. Knee jerk reaction seems to be ‘no’. But it feels to me like we’re blurting out an answer without even fully understanding what the question is. Fair enough Scottish independence wasn’t number one on my priorities before the referendum came round. But the SNP have got their way and its now on the agenda and more importantly it’s us who’ve got to provide an answer. And to be honest I don’t think that our knee jerk reaction is good enough, or an accurate reflection of what most Scots want to happen in British politics. Here’s an opportunity to actually change Britain. Fair enough, don’t give a fuck if nothing you do or say is going to make a difference, but this time it actually is and its us who Westminster is listening to and what we say WILL happen. I think we should be saying yes to an independent Scotland…. Here’s why……. (please don't hate me)

Scottish HAIM (so much love)
Okay, first of all I think some common assumptions need to be dispelled before we go any further otherwise this could be construed as some type of mad skinhead nationalistic prick with haggis in his teeth’s account of the referendum. Firstly, being pro-independence is not synonymous with hating England or being a massive cunt. You can vote yes and love England and not be in some way equated to a hermit from Auchtermuchty.  Also, voting yes doesn’t make you Salmond’s bitch. Yes he’s the guy who’s been nagging for independence on behalf of the SNP but voting yes doesn’t mean he’ll become King of Scotland. Anyway, SNP have a majority in the Scottish Parliament and Salmond’s already first minister so if that’s a worry for you, voting yes won’t make much difference anyway… And Cameron’s the alternative (lol). A vote for independence is not a vote for the SNP, or for severing all ties with the ‘bastard’ English. It’s a vote for greater democracy.

Nobody has to be an expert in politics to know that something is grotesquely wrong when there are more fucking pandas than Conservative MP’s in Scotland, YET we are led by the joy that is David Cameron, leader of the Conservative party. How the fuck did that happen in what is meant to be a representative democracy? Scotland is not accurately represented. The system is not working. We didn’t vote Conservative yet they’re at the helm of the ship and we are being towed along behind.  Literally 99% of Scotland did not want what we have today. I am willing to say yes to change and yes to something that works better for Scotland. As eloquently put by Frankie Boyle: 'Scotland can vote for Indy or spend the rest of its existence twitching on the end of a gigantic, malevolent Tory cock.' Joking aside, to me his point is more resonant than those advocating doing nothing, or in other words voting no.

The referendum, whether we realised it previously or not, has provided us with the chance the gain so much more from politics. I often wonder why I feel a great sense of political apathy and disengagement amongst people I know and grew up with in Scotland. I think it’s because people feel removed from what goes on and as though they have no say and no ability to make any impact. The referendum provides a platform for politics to become something that matters to people again. I believe bringing power closer to Scotland will not only make government distinctly more representative for people in Scotland but make it much more interesting, palpable and exciting. Devolution is scary and there are a shitload of unknowns, of course, but it’s got the point where it is actually necessary to uphold a genuine democracy for Scotland. Bringing power closer to home is a good thing. As well as becoming more representative, greater transparency and accountability are by-products of smaller governance. The multitude of scandals and abuses of power that occur within the clandestine and bureaucratic processes of governing are what give politics a bad reputation. Although inescapable, these occurrences can be minimized and remedied by having a more direct and devolved form of governance in Scotland. The referendum and its legacy provide us with something to actually give a shit about. It gives us the power to make a decision that could impact on politics in Scotland for the better well after the referendum is over – politics shouldn’t be bullshit, it should be something that everyone wants to be involved in and that can represent our views and serve our needs. Voting yes in the referendum is the only way we can make this happen.

John Snow (A personal hero)
My initial response to the prospect of Scottish Independence was ‘eugh – no’, but I can see my opinion was based on an instinctual fear of change. Change is a nerve-wracking prospect for anyone, especially on as grand a scale as this. The ‘risks’ of independence seem to be the dominant reason against voting yes, but what needs to be highlighted is the gargantuan potential offered by independence. Where a no vote defends the shitty status-quo that everyone complains about, a yes vote paves the way not only to a more representative and just Scotland, but one that has the potential, and more importantly, the ability to be the liberal and progressive nation it should be. A nuclear weapons free nation is just one example of the innovative and modernising force Scotland could become. I refuse to be represented by a parliament that justifies spending up to £100 billion on renewing weapons that could murder entire populations. Fuck that. Whether you agree with that or not, moving beyond the drudgery and stagnation of Westminster based rule creates opportunity and potential that is simply unattainable through any other means other than Scottish independence.

Neither the yes or no camp can predict exactly what will happen if Scotland becomes independent. Not knowing what will happen is not an excuse to turn away from an opportunity like this.  Fear of change is not a valid excuse for voting against independence in my opinion, and to me, the Better Together campaign cultivates this fear of the unknown to its advantage. I don’t know what will happen, but its obvious to me that if things stay the way they are nothing is going to improve. For me, the risks of doing nothing outweigh the risks of becoming independent. I have tried to touch upon some of the ways I think independence could benefit Scotland in the long run. The referendum and the prospect of independence have brought the chance for Scotland to rise above the bullshit of Westminster and create something new and better. To be honest, whether independence occurs or not, I hope the referendum at least inspires people to imagine something better than the state of politics today over the next 18 months.