Saturday, February 22, 2014

My questions about Scottish Independence

I apologize in advance for this message. I love ya, Scotland!

This week, for the first time, I commented on a facebook post that was remotely about Scottish Independence. It goes without saying I shouldn't have done that. Within minutes I was confronted with some of the craziest "facts" pro or con independence I could ever imagine. Political discussions are one of my favorite things ever but I can't say I'm a big fan of getting in one with people whose political awareness does not exceed the very basics of knowledge. Hence, facebook is usually not the place to have one. In order to make political choices this knowledge might suffice but not to give policy advice. I, myself, with four years of education in the field struggle sometimes to make an informed statement, however, the majority of people believe their information is sufficient to solve Scotland's problems entirely. And that is my biggest problem with the debate, and not whether Scotland actually claims independence or not.

I realize there are a number of angles to look at this from but it is the economic, the political and the national one predominantly in focus. So first of all, there is the economic reality, asking questions such as "Who's getting the Oil?", "What will happen to the pound?" and "Can agriculture feed a country?". Now this might be very old-fashioned of me but there were times when these questions came second to people, after "Am I free?" or something. During the big revolutions I don't recall people being concerned about the price of their pint staying the same. The question should be "Do I care about being represented in the government of my country?" It is that simple. If the answer is no, carry on, be British and live the life you've lived. If, however, and that would be the case in my life, political representation was a part of the democratic value I want to exercise there are few ways around voting Yes.

Political devolution in Scotland is very strong, yet the Scots are governed by a government they did not elect. If there is one thing you learn living in Scotland is that they really, really (,really) don't like Conservatives. And Maggie Thatcher. The day she died they had a party in George Square in Glasgow. That's an impressive amount of hate. Yet, their government is Conservative although all but one constituency voted against them. They are led by a man that is more hated in Scotland than Satan himself. This shows the reality that a country of Scotland's significance will never be able to influence Westminster. If Scotland decided to be communist there is no way they could be. Even if they all wished to be. When I think of living in a democracy, however, I consider having a voice a basic right. But even if all voices in Scotland shout the same thing, they still won't be heard.

As a result, I am surprised that Yes is going to fail. I agree that staying in the union is probably the more convenient way and will make life easier than Independence but wasn't there also some nationalist agenda? A people that hates being called British not taking the opportunity to put an end to that puzzles me. Hardly a Scot I met uttered the phrase "England's alright!". Ever! However, the main reason Yes is going to win is economic uncertainty. News flash: independence comes with uncertainty. It is a matter of whether it's worth it or not. Scotland, think about it: Is there really a possibility of you guys starving in the end? Or maybe an epidemic you won't be able to cure without the help of Westminster? As long as that is not the case I personally can't understand why economic uncertainty wouldn't be worth having a voice in democracy. The only explanation must be that nobody believes in democracy anymore.

Did Europe post-WWII have a long-term economic plan? Was storming the Bastille not uncertain? Was protesting at Euromaidan this month not a very risky business? None of these developments could have had a positive outcome without people willing to sacrifice and stand up for what they believe is wrong. And Scots believe being called British is wrong. So what it feels like to me is that Scotland is just too chicken to make the necessary steps to solve their biggest national problem. If there hadn't been an actual demand for independence there would be no referendum. And now that shit gets real the Scots pussy out. And I couldn't care less if they stay or go. My sovereignty, my voice or my national identity is not on the line. It is a Scottish decision and I will therefore refrain from continuing debates on facebook because my opinion doesn't matter (tbh I can see myself getting into a couple of more of them but I'm not saying it's a good idea!). However, it comes down to one question: Do you want to have a voice in democracy? Vote accordingly...

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