I will vote’YES’ in 2014

Harbour reflections II


I have lived in Scotland since 1971 when I married a Scot and set up home in Edinburgh. Our three children were educated in Scotland and continue to live here now  with their own families.    For three decades, I taught in Scottish schools, was elected President of its largest teaching union and have been an activist at local and national level in the Scottish credit union movement. Do I feel Scottish? Not in the slightest but then I have never considered myself British and have always held an Irish passport. Do I empathise with the social sensitivities of the Scots – most certainly.

The Scots view their communities and society through a prism of social justice . I listened to part of a BBC Scotland phone-in programme today where the presenter struggled to find any caller to take sides with a Tory advocate of stiffer sentences for ‘benefit cheats’. Many asked why not a single banker  had faced the courts and one inquired if it was appropriate for Nick Clegg to claim for his tv licence on parliamentary expenses. Scots readily  separate the wheat from the chaff; they do not subscribe to the demonisation of the poor which spills from the Daily Mail and David Cameron. Most Scots are appalled by the zeal of the Coalition Government in hammering the most vulnerable for the failure of capitalism.

The ‘No’ campaign, at an early opportunity, with all the delicate finesse of  a slurry spreader, decided that ‘a scare story a week’ from their allies in the media would ensure defeat for the Question in a year’s time.  Thus we were treated to the ribald absurdity of ‘Scots to pay mobile roaming charges’, pension deficits,  border controls, re-negotiation of a trillion pieces of legislation and so the list went on. I have no doubt that there are still some in the locker – famine forecast or  a great plague are still to come. ‘Better Together’, as their campaign is called, has  provided some laughs. However, we should not really be amused at the discomfort New Labour and the LibDems must surely experience with each new draconian announcement from Westminster. The Tory Party conference should be a right hoot.

Quite ostensibly, Scotland is a country gifted with considerable resources in both human and material terms. A YES vote in the referendum will provide the people of Scotland with an opportunity to determine how best to deploy its wealth in the best interests of all of the people who live here. It will allow for investment in public services and not cuts in subsidy as London would have it.

I am not a member of any political party, although in my time here I have scattered my votes around most of them with the exception of the Tories. My decision is not a party political one but rather is based on   old fashioned principles of social justice and a nation’s right to self-determination. One year from today, there will be  the chance to create a Scotland where we will take our own future decisions about the kind of society we want to live in.

Seize the time!

  1. Well said, John. I watched Channel 4 News from Scotland this evening and I struggled to keep from shouting at the ‘Scottish Secretary’. It’s as if the Scots were children that needed Nurse’s hand if they were to find security. I can’t tell you how much I hope the Yes vote swings things round.

  2. Well said John, a must for the YES vote!

    • Thanks, Liz

      Time for the non-aligned to get off the fence and let voices be heard.

      Thanks again for lunch and gift. I sent a little thank-you note to dermot

  3. Thanks, Jude.
    Analysis of weekend polls has revealed a propensity for a sizeable number of YES voters to emerge from the ‘undecided’ block. The competition has got some way to run. IDS et al are the equivalent assets to the YES campaign that Bill Craig and Paisley were to the Civil Rights Movement 40+ years ago.

  4. John good to see your support.

    Very odd that there has been no mention of the vote on Newsnight last night. Where the audience voted yes after listening to the debate.
    Once people understand that an independent Scotland means a government that is based on the values of the people living in Scotland. No longer having to put up with policies from right wing Westminster governments.

    If you have not signed the declaration please do so:


  5. Thanks John
    I have been reading a few blogs and been astonished by how little pride the Ranger’s supporters who contribute have in their Nation, its history and its culture. Though on reflection I suppose I shouldn’t be.

    Of some concern were others who felt strongly that Scotland could turn into something like the old Northern Ireland and that Catholic schools would be phased out and indeed that the process had already Started. I would be in favour of integrated education, but for better or for worse, I would bow to parental choice.

    If I had a vote my instincts would of course be to vote yes, but as I have got older the yearning for freedom from the Ancient Enemy has diminished and my opinion of politicians could not be any lower. I would like to have a long hard look at the ‘financial model before I made up my mind.

    I have written this off the top of my head and there is much I still don’t know, but literally bottom line.
    I would love to see an Independent Scotland.

  6. Hi John good to see that there is fire in your belly and a fellow feeling for your Scottish co-residents. Here’s hoping the yes vote prevails.

  7. Larry and Frank: Good to hear from you both. There are as many views on the’financial model’ as there are economists willing to push an agenda. Many have no doubt that Scotland has the wealth to manage extremely well, although in the short term there might be some settling in to do. I go back to may main point the ideological trajectory of the Westminster Govt does not sit comfortably with the social concerns of most Scots. They have an opportunity to do something about it.

  8. Hi John, the independence referendum will be the occasion for the most important vote I will ever cast – the outcome could profoundly change this country and the way that we view it, and ourselves. I intend to vote for self-determination and I am pleased to see that you have articulated the case for independence so clearly.

    • Thanks, Sean.

      When you think about it, for people living in Scotland, there is no alternative.

    • I agree, Sean. And I believe that the kind of clear case John presents should be heard as often and widely as possible. I don’t live in Scotland (although my two eldest siblings were born there – does that count?), but it seems to me that Scots should run Scotland. Simples. That said, I think unless the No media receive a strong counter-blast, Scottish people will be gulled into thinking the ties with England are in their interests.

  9. Thanks for lifting me from the fence John. It was getting a wee bit lonely watching the splinters group and weeds tumble. I’ve never affiliated myself with a political party either – even worse, shied away from polling booths.
    Won’t do next time. Change is far better than a rest.

  10. Welcome aboard, Paul. Let’s hope you’re the first of many and that’s what I anticipate.

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