I’m English, and I live in the Home Counties, and I’m nineteen, and I shouldn’t say anything about Scotland’s independence referendum. It is a matter entirely for the Scots to decide without interference from me.
My opinion has always been that the Scots should decide, and then I could have opinions about the divorce settlement if they voted ‘yes’ in the referendum.
If they voted ‘no’ then things would go on as usual, and it wouldn’t be necessary for me to have any opinions at all on the matter. I could focus on school, life, the dogs, and my friends.
Things are never so simple, are they? So, lately I’ve been reading a lot of Scots nationalist sites to try to understand what’s going on up there. Objectively, I still haven’t changed my opinion on whether I should have any say or not. I shouldn’t.
But from a purely egotistical point of view, looking at my life and future and prospects, I am leaning toward that I hope Scotland votes yes because it means that the government in the UK would have to change.
I haven’t written on this blog lately because I’ve been out travelling. I went to Scotland and watched Jake Bugg and Arctic Monkeys at T in the Park. It was a lovely trip, and it was entirely unplanned because I screwed up something good and bought tickets without reading the information properly.
I spent a day visiting my relatives who live near Stirling in Scotland. I have an uncle, an aunt, and two cousins there. My uncle, a stout Yorkshireman, is married to my aunt from Sunderland. They have three boys, one of which lives down south in London. Two remain in Scotland.
The three cousins count themselves as fully Scots now, but my uncle and aunt call themselves Scots-English. Both intends to vote ‘yes’ in the referendum because both see a chance to right everything that’s gone wrong with politics since Margaret Thatcher.
This woman from thirty years ago sent my grandfather looking for work first around Sheffield, then the Midlands, and finally down here in the South. This is why I’m here, after all, because of that decision decades ago. My uncle was old enough to stay behind and eventually move north to Scotland when my grandparents moved south.
Of course we talked about the referendum during our visit there. And I told them that I didn’t really want to offer an opinion, but that didn’t stop them from banging on about the Westminster government. For someone who mostly feels contempt for our system of government and what it does, and has done, to a country I have grown to love, I’m finding it harder and harder not to fall into the ‘yes’ camp.
There’s this schizophrenic split between the debates in Scotland and England in a way. Down here in the South, what dominates is David Cameron’s slip into nasty Toryism and Euro-scepticism. He keeps throwing bones at the swivel-eyed loons on the right, and they just keep barking louder and louder.
It seems, it’s hard to tell yet, that the latest reshuffle of the Tory-part of the government is the final capitulation to the Tory-right. No more gay marriage support, no more nods to the innate English decency out there. From now on, it will be frothing-at-the-mouth conservatism until an election win is secured.
The despicable Liberal Democrats are now trying to salvage whatever remains of their positions and cush jobs by U-turning so fast you could stick a wire in them and power a small city. Whatever they believed last week is now wrong. Now they’ll put in the manifesto that the bedroom tax is wrong – and we know how much the manifesto pledge about tuition fees were worth.
Now, turn that a hundred and eighty degrees around, because in Scotland the Westminster parties are trying to woo the no-leaning voters with more EU, more social justice, more everything that the new nasty Tories in Westminster would have a hysterical breakdown about in England.
In my own egotistical and selfish way, I have come to believe that the only way forward is to give a huge shock to the system. A shock so big that the Westminster state would be reeling afterwards, and so that forces could be enabled which would change it.
I don’t see any other way for that to happen than for Scotland to vote yes. If there’s a no, everything will muddle along in the same old tracks. That would be even worse – for Scotland, for England, for Wales, and for me.
So… I think I’m going to support ‘yes’. Even if I’m English, and nineteen, and live in the Home Counties, and shouldn’t really offer any opinion because it’s entirely up to the Scots.