Saturday, 11 August 2012

Scare stories of the Unionist 'No' campaign

Just over 300 years ago Scotland was sold into a political union with England. The so-called ‘nobility’ of Scotland were paid handsomely for their treachery, while ordinary Scots rioted in the streets in opposition.

Robert Burns described the pro-union nobles as being “bought and sold for English gold, such a parcel o’ rogues in a nation”. Today, another parcel o’ rogues is attempting to keep us in the British Union with a campaign partly funded by ‘English gold’.

They call themselves the ‘Better Together’ campaign, but in reality they are an unprincipled coalition of British Unionists, committed to working together in an attempt to prevent Scotland from assuming the status of a normal, independent nation – so let’s just call them what they really are, the ‘No to Independence’ campaign.

The so-called ‘Scottish’ Labour Party has no qualms about jumping into bed with the Tories and their Lib Dem lapdogs, nor from working in a campaign partly funded by Tory donors: recently a pro-union fundraiser was held at the Signet Library in Edinburgh, organised by the Essex-based United & Cecil Club, where tickets cost £150 each (£1,500 to sponsor a table) and the main speaker was right-wing Tory Education Secretary Michael Gove. These are the people determined to keep control of Scotland, even when Scots reject them at the ballot box.

Only by retaking our political independence will Scots be able to create the situation where Tories can never again impose their will on Scotland, yet ‘Scottish’ Labour is working with the Tories to prevent us from having that power. Labour, by their actions in the ‘No to Independence’ campaign, have made clear they would rather see the Tories continue to govern us from London, than allow Scots to elect our own government in an independent Scotland.

Even on their own website the paucity of the pro-Union case is revealed for all to see. Instead of a positive vision for Scotland within the British Union, the site pleads for help, with headings such as “Tell us why you think we are better together” and “Share your ideas for the campaign”.

At the ‘No to Independence’ launch, the campaign’s ‘big hitter’, former Labour Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling, was so bereft of anything positive to say about the British Union that he resorted to attempting to scare parents about their children’s future. Honestly, this is what Darling said: “If we decide to leave the United Kingdom there is no way back. It is like asking us to buy a one–way ticket to send our children to a deeply uncertain destination.” Seriously!

So, apparently, we should stick with the certainty of Scotland governed by Unionists from London. You know, the certainty of soaring unemployment, the certainty of cuts to desperately needed services, the certainty of increased areas of multiple deprivation, the certainty of children growing up in poverty, the certainty of our elderly dying in winter because they can’t afford to put their heating on, and the certainty of young Scots being sent to kill or be killed in illegal, immoral, imperialist wars.

As for there being ‘no way back’ once we have voted to retake our independence: at a rough count, I make it 48 countries that have become independent from Britain – spanning the United States in 1776 to Brunei in 1984 - none of which have ever sought to give up their independence and find a way back.

After we have retaken our political independence, the social union between Scotland and England will continue, so don’t listen to the other nightmare scenarios painted by the increasingly desperate British Unionists: there will be no border guards at Gretna, we’ll still be able to watch Coronation Street, pensions and benefits will continue to be paid (usually through the same offices), Scots and English will still be able to work in each others’ countries.

There is nothing to fear from Scotland becoming a normal, independent country.

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