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How strange, that this matters so much to me! Pushing and pulling, reading and thinking... Scottish Labour voters are now voting yes to an independent Scotland,not out of a braveheart fantasy but because they have been ignored, and their needs dismissed. Part of that is the lack of connection between the people of the UK and the political establishment, not just the Tory party, though they are the most visible, they represent the most overtly wealthy and are perceived as the most arrogant. Cameron with his shining face and plum voice, his slight air of upper class twitdom and his Bullingdon boy background...of course they hate him. They would always have hated him, but even more so at a time when the numbers of poor relying on foodbanks has exploded, when rickets and TB have returned to our cities, and reports cite Britain as a country still riddled with class privilege and social injustice. Who wouldn't want to start again, to try to create a fairer society? If it was anyone other than Salmond, I'd want to go myself. In fact, I still want to, despite my instincts re that declaiming weasel. If I feel the pull towards a kinder world, how much more do those who feel so disenfranchised?

At the end of my last post, I said 'we' would be all right. But that depends on who 'we' are. The UK as a social construct will get past a division, however painful, though I think more cities will look for devolved powers, and that may be good. But the poor, and those who strive for equality, those who seek to protect the welfare state and the NHS, those who relied on Labour MPs to get them out from under Tory rule?

Here is the thing about the poor, they can't be ignored forever. The state is not just a business machine, it has a moral duty to protect its members. If sight of that is lost, then prepare to lose much more.
smokingboot: (default)
Increasingly I am disturbed by the Yes campaign.

I've listed my emotional leanings in an earlier post; it's easy to see and understand the desire for a Scotland free from the greed and self service of Westminster, but it seems that Westminster is being equated with London and London is being equated with England, in a kind of lumpen broth of things and people it's OK to hate.

When all is said and done, that's a matter of choice. It's the practicality of the thing I don't get. Salmond keeps telling the Yes camp that of course there will be a shared currency, that Scotland will have the pound and the BoE will guarantee it. But why would the BoE guarantee the spending splurge promised by Salmond? This is the man who brought Fred the Shred to the fore, the man who spent £20,000 of taxpayers money in court to prove that he had got legal advice on the standing of Scotland in the EU; the court ruled that he had not got the advice he claimed. I wouldn't trust this man with a fiver, never mind a country's budget. The response to adamant claims that England won't share the pound? Salmond and chums claim that England is bluffing, that of course we will share the pound. But surely we never would unless we could determine and veto the money, and what kind of independence is that? But there just seems to be this blank assurance that England is playing chicken...maybe it is. But it's a dangerous game, and I see no gain to England in it. As important, I see no loss to England in refusing to play. Scotland is the player at risk. I think. But my fiscal knowledge is very slight.

The response has been that if England doesn't share the pound, Scotland will just renege on its part of the UK debt. Despite the hit our GDP would take, the temptation would be to shrug. After all, there are a lot of lenders out there; Scotland can go enjoy the interest rates any bad debtor faces. Of course, the oil might help a great deal, but there is so much finagling about how much oil there actually is and what it's worth, who can judge? Of course someone will buy it and just as well, with the loss of the financial sector, and the need to renegotiate everything from whisky exports to military shipping - both of which gain their major custom south of the border - said oil may well have to cover a lot of expenses. But it is worrying to depend so much on one resource; it makes for a wobbly utopia.

Then there's the EU. Salmond has claimed all sorts of rubbish, from fast-tracking onwards, and I think there is a hope that Europe will welcome them in just to annoy the evil English. Maybe that will happen. If so, Scotland will have to adopt the Euro, for all its sins. But an independent Scotland wants the same get out clauses and exceptions negotiated by the UK. And that might happen too, but there's no guarantee. What there are, are potential vetoes...

Of course, none of it may happen. What do I know? But it has an ominous feeling to me, the sense of a grand kilted party, and then a hangover lasting longer than William Wallace's legend. If the worst should come to pass I have no doubt that Scotland will survive, though it will be hard. But to see the end of the Union? Something in me sorrows, another part of me knows that we'll be OK.
smokingboot: (default)
Not so pleasant this time, last night.

The story has faded through the day, only the sense of a chase through a tesseract of walls and houses, a blonde youth having his bike stolen, then both of us running and many following, an eerie paranoid feel. Turned out the only way to deal with it was to turn and aggressively face the pursuers, to the extent of outright attack. It was only then that I discovered that attack didn't work - some force stopped punches from connecting. So there was no point anyone fighting, and they all went home. Later I learned the blonde boy had no genitals and many diseases. Full moon nights, good for bringing out my not so inner loon...

I am troubled by the Scottish referendum. Some of it is selfish...I don't want to think of my father's country as a foreign land; it's never been clear to me where home is, only memories of childhood when, in Scotland people were kind to me, and in England they were not.

To me it seems that England has long been in love with the idea of the rich, a sort of Upstairs Downstairs obsession, most assuming that they would somehow be upstairs enjoying the parties. In Scotland, the Highland Clearances and other historical issues seems to have left a less drooling idea of the Lovely Rich and What They Do. If only Salmond was a man worth trusting! There's a craftiness and excitability about him I don't like. It worries me that he just expects to have the pound, expects the Bank of England will guarantee his spending, or, he says, Scotland will renege on its part of the UK's debt - hardly an inducement for any other lender to help out or invest in Scotland. I think he is so eager to go down in history, he can't be bothered with details.

As far as I can tell, Scotland doesn't want the NHS to be dismantled (neither does England, but the NHS marches going on just don't get reported by the Beeb or Sky) nor do they want the kind of austerity measures that kill people http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/sep/09/david-clapson-benefit-sanctions-death-government-policies?CMP=fb_gu) they don't want the extraordinary cult of inequality and privilege that has shaped our society,(http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/old-boys-club-still-dominates-public-life-according-to-major-new-report-9695229.html) and they don't want a corrupt government we can't change because the very system of parliament we rely on makes it impossible to remove them. Take fox hunting for example. The British public are overwhemingly against it, something like 80%. Cameron hunts, in fact, the master of his local hunt was one of the first to be taken to court for illegally hunting. If Cameron gets a second term, he wants to put the hunt thing to the vote again - not a national referendum of course, but he would get the MPs to vote on it, and if he has enough MPs he'll overturn it. Knowing the hunting ban is the will of the people, he will dismiss it because his friends don't like it. Fracking? The people don’t want it, so he will change the law to make their opinion irrelevant. Badger cull? Independent scientists and advisors warn that it is inefficient and being carried out inhumanely, so this year, there will be no independent observers. What manner of government is this? No wonder Scotland doesn't want it. I don't want it either.

I love this dream of a new Old Land where the ideal of fairness for everyone is important. The childish part of me gets excited by imagining a new heraldic device for Scotland, a unicorn unchained, as opposed to the maltreated circus lion of the south. Very recently a TUC leader was giving a speech on the UK's seeming return to a nastier poorer society, defined by class distinction and poverty. Her broadcast was cut short by a newsflash on the next royal baby (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/tuc-leader-frances-ogrady-speech-on-class-system-cut-off-by-royal-baby-newsflash-9719503.html)

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