Sunday, September 07, 2014

Scottish Independence: The Triumph of Hope Over Fear

With less than two weeks to go before the Scottish independence referendum a new poll has shown the YES side ahead for the first time. 

Some 51% of those who have made up their mind and intend to vote back an independent Scotland while 49% plan to vote no, the YouGov poll suggests.

The poll of 1,084 people, carried out between 2 and 5 September, is the first and only serious study to put the Yes campaign ahead, and suggests the pro-Union camp has lost its lead - once regularly in the double-digits.

Sending a shockwave rolling across Britain, and sending David Cameron's ghastly Con government, and almost the entire British establishment, into a state of almost total panic.

Amid signs of panic and recrimination among unionist ranks about the prospects of a yes vote on 18 September, the Observer has learned that a devolution announcement designed to halt the nationalist bandwagon is due to be made within days by the anti-independence camp.

With some on the NO side trying to appease the Scots, others threatening to crank up the Fear Machine. Or just acting like they had been hit by a bolt from the blue.

Even though the trend has been obvious for weeks...

And offering a last minute package of powers won't easily make up for having spent the last few months trying to frighten the Scottish people, with the greatest fear campaign I have ever witnessed.

One that makes the one the NO side deployed during the last Quebec referendum look tame by comparison. 

For after months of hammering away trying to convince the Scots that they're too small or too poor or too stupid to have their own country, in the last few days alone David Cameron has tried to scare them with a terrorist threat.

Goldman Sachs has warned that a YES vote could cause the entire Eurozone to collapse.

And Ed Miliband, the hapless Labour Party leader, has threatened to put up armed border crossings between the two countries...

Like the Roman Emperor Hadrian once put up a wall, to keep my fearsome ancestors out of conquered England.

Without appearing to understand that the Scottish people aren't easily intimidated. Not with that history eh?

Or even understanding that the debate isn't about narrow nationalism. It's about the desire to break free from a Con government whose brutish values most Scots don't share.

And it has sparked an explosion of democratic engagement.

The debate has intoxicated Scotland. Feeling involved in something BIG has intoxicated Scotland. People have seen the opportunity to seize power. It has become worthwhile to take an interest in political issues, achieve an understanding of them, discuss your own understanding with others, start formulating your own ideas.

Which the NO side has been unable or unwilling to counter...

The Better Together campaign says: “Leave it to the big boys. It’s all too complicated for you lot to understand. Get on with your work. Look after your kids. We know best.” The Yes Scotland campaign says: “Think about how government impacts on your own life. Understand it. Reflect it back. Don’t be intimidated. Get involved. Get your workmates involved. Get your kids involved. We can work out what’s best together.” 

One campaign says: “Be quiet.” The other campaign says: “Speak.” Is it any wonder that yes has gained converts, while no has not?

So in the face of all of that, today's poll result is not that surprising, but it is a triumph of hope over fear. 

And it's another reason why I support the YES side and believe all Canadian progressives should. 

Because they are fighting for the kind of country I want Canada to be. 

A country where medicare is strengthened not privatized, where pensions are improved not slashed, a country that doesn't get involved in useless foreign wars, and believes that money spent on weapons is better spent on poor people and children.

A country where the government pays to send its kids to university, as the Scots have done for years. Where doctors and nurses visit seniors where they live, so they can stay in their own homes as long as possible.

And yes, a country whose government was quick to offer its hospitals to treat  wounded children from Gaza...

Instead of refusing to let them enter the country, as Stephen Harper's cruel Con regime has done.

And one of the things that pleases me the most, is that the polls started to narrow when pollsters started including the opinions of 16 and 17-year-olds.

Who for the first time have been given the right to vote...

Have become engaged in the political process in numbers never seen before.

Are letting people know what kind of country THEY want to live in. What kind of future THEY want for themselves and their children

And I love the many creative ways they are getting their generation's message across...

Because I want young Canadians to feel the same way about themselves, and their power to change this country.

So they can help destroy the Harper regime. And we too can start dreaming about a building a better Con free Canada.

Of course, the YES side's struggle for a better Scotland is not won. It's just one poll, and there are still eleven days to go. 

And I'm glad this is the poster that won the competition I told you about the other day...

Ciaran Murphy

Because it captures the gentle creative spirit of this peaceful revolt against the neo-liberal agenda and its brutish values.

And because those who support independence will have to be very brave to resist the campaign of fear which the Cameron Cons and Big Business are sure to unleash upon them in the next few days.

But as I said, the Scots are not easily intimidated, they have a dream.

Many have chosen hope over fear.

And I'm always dreaming of a better world. And I couldn't live without hope.

So I'm with them all the way...

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  1. Anonymous9:08 AM

    We'll see how the Scots feel when bad queen bess sends Harrier jets with tactical nukes to Edinburgh to bomb some sense into those dirty provincial rebels. The world screams and wails about the "terrist I.R.A." on the one hand and yet they say they promote democracy on the other hand which, by the fucking way, which is not having your homeland invaded, occupied and held by unimaginable, vicious brute force, terrorism and torture for centuries.
    Maybe when the Scots get their own country back, they could send a few of their lads to Ireland to lend a helping hand against the hun invaders/oppressors there.
    God Bless Scotland and the "Yes" vote! Get 'er done, folks!

    1. hi anon....the Queen will do no such thing. She is at the present time at Balmoral Castle set in 50,000 acres of land in Aberdeenshire, hosting David Cameron on his annual trip to see her. In the even of independence she gets to keep her castle, and remain Queen of Scotland if she so chooses. In fact that's one of my talking points to try to convince my mother to vote YES. "But Mum you get to keep the NHS AND the Queen." ;)

  2. The con government and the British establishment are terrified that if Scotland chooses independence then other countries under British rule will follow.

    1. Anonymous2:09 PM

      Pam. Did you actually put that in writing?
      Britain is "terrified" that Wales might leave? Mother mary of St Francis, where do you come up with this? FYI
      Australia, Canada, India, South Africa, and many many other former common wealth countries around the world have their own countries with their own govts completely seperate from the British parliament. Common wealth countries that are happy with their unique trade agreements between each other. Of which a new Scotland will have to renegotiate because they are a new country. 2 years , 5 years, 10 years to hammer out a trade agreement, while the economy of Scotland contracts........
      So you must be thinking of all those other countries that answer to the British Parliament.................... Lets see, ............Hmmmmmmmmm.............cant think of many...........hmmmmmmm I've got it!
      Wales , with its own unique language that even the Welsh have a hard time speaking or writing.
      Wales, with its many defunct coal mines that produce nothing.
      Wales , that relys on English retirees and vacationers for most of its tax revenue.
      Nah, I think Wales will wisely sit and watch the slow motion train wreck that will be Scotland and decide that the Union is the best, safest result......
      But we'll let those 16 year old voters decide. Because they're sooooooo well informed about the economic and political ramifications of the most important vote they will probably ever participate in.
      Yup. Lets give a 16 year old boy a handgrenade in a crowed room. Nothing could possibly go wrong because 16 year old boys are so mature and wise beyond their years. Hell they should be driving cars at 12 they are so mature.
      Ludacris , craven pandering to the uneducated masses = successful separation vote.

    2. hi Pam...yes you may be right. The Welsh have been making some rebellious sounds, as have for that matter people in the north of England who are unhappy at the way London dominates that country. I read a lot of comments from people in the north asking if they could join an independent Scotland. What I think it means is that if Scotland does vote for independence there will have to be a new federalism in Britain.
      The Cons are actually mumbling something about that, but of course they can't be trusted with anything...

    3. hi people like you ever get tired of putting other people. The Welsh are an excellent people, as are the Irish. And as for the young, they don't need you to put them down either. I found them to be very well versed in the main aspects of the debate, which isn't surprising considering they have their mobiles with them all the time to allow them to google anything at any time. And as for pandering to the uneducated, dare I say since you can't spell LUDICROUS, you're in need of some education yourself...

  3. Anonymous11:35 AM

    Unbelievable, 16 and 17 year old children get to decide on the fate of an nation? WTF?
    Its seems pretty obvious the 'Yes" side will do anything to win .
    The majority of yes voters are the youth. Looking at all the marches, the protests, the audiences in the televised debates. Nary a person over 40. And now 16 and 17 year old kids are 'allowed to vote". One wonders how many of them actually have the foresite to realize the ramifications of the results of seperation.

    I read through the 650 questions pertaining to seperation posted by the Yes side. Drivel .
    Direct, pertinent questions (such as Scottish passports) are never satifactoraly answered. Lots of flowery, bafflegab that dances around the question ( but YES you can keep your British passport ! Whew! Its safe to seperate)
    If this foolishness of seperation actually happens ( which I still believe what people tell pollsters and what they do in the privacy of the voting booth are totally different) you will see an ugly backlash from England never envisioned.
    Just the comment of "Borders" . The yes side states " there will be no guarded borders it will be the same as entering Ireland" . Is delusional.
    All it will take is one terrorist bombing in London with the perpetrators entering England from Scotland to change that border crossing.

    Never forget this. The people that are pushing for Seperation are politicians first, last, always. They will lie cheat and steal for their own gain. Never trust a politician.

    The Bristish bookies are setting the odds of Scotland seperating at 20%

    Interesting times :)

    1. freedom is a state of mind you carry with you your whole life. However its most intense in the teen years
      and the opinions and truth you reprieve at that time are for most impenetrable. I am a floater I rise above the propaganda looking for some half truths that are better than lies, that is the sad standard off political life in Canada and when it comes to democracy we are ahead of the game.

    2. hi anon 11:35...actually you're wrong, if you look at pictures of any YES rally they include people of all ages. And why shouldn't the young have a say in a future that concerns them as much as it does any other group. It's not as if the older generation has done a terrific job. In fact one of the stories going around these days on the internet is one about the grandmother who convinced her grandson who was working for the NO side to become a YES supporter. Yes believe it or not a fair amount of young people support the NO side, which may distress me, but is all part of the democratic process. It's important to get the young involved in the political process, and as I've mentioned I hope to apply some of the lessons I learned in Scotland to our situation here.
      As for all that talk of violence and destruction it really says more about your disturbed mind than about the situation in Britain. You really should take off your pyjamas, leave your fetid basement, and get out more....

    3. hi I've always said the ideal society for me is when old and young work together. The young are the ones who died for our freedom on the battlefields of Europe, and they can provide an energy that older people lack. While older people can give them the benefit of their accumulated wisdom. It's a match made in heaven as far as I am concerned...

  4. Anonymous1:43 PM

    Simon you shouldnt have titled this article "The Triumph of hope over fear"
    It should be titled, " The triumph of delusion over reason".
    Apperently the warnings of Goldman Sachs of political anarchy are falling on deaf ears so far as Scotlands youth are concerned.

    1. hi actually I like the headline a lot, because it does reflect reality, and it's exactly how I feel about everything. Fear is what Harper and his thugs would like to install in us, and I reject it absolutely. As for Goldman Sachs issuing dire warnings of financial collapse, they are the last people on earth to talk about that. I mean can you believe it? The people of Scotland are up against some powerful economic interests and that's one of the main reasons I support them. The status quo is not defendable and we do need change...

  5. Hi Simon, I really do no have a great deal invested. However if Scotland can be free, then maybe the world can be as well. Just people living there, not puppets in some play that ends when you sons and daughters die.
    I blogged about it and I hope you approve, FREEDOM!

    1. hi Steve...I agree with some of the things you say, but I think one shouldn't make sweeping generalizations. There are good people in England as there are in Scotland. And I'm half English myself, so I straddle both sides of the border. I just think it makes sense for the Scots to have their own country because as I've pointed out before it has remained faithful to its social democratic traditions, while the Westminster government has been scrapping the so-called welfare state. So as Scotland's greatest historian pointed out the other day, it's not the Scots who are walking away from the common table, it's the Con government that has abandoned Scotland...

    2. Hi Simon, of course you are correct and I have amended my rant to take that into account.

  6. Anonymous5:05 PM

    Hi Simon, I want to thank you for supporting young people, and for always being so hopeful and optimistic. I also liked the gentle way you put down that commenter who couldn't spell ludicrous, after calling people uneducated. He sounds like a real weirdo. :P

  7. Anonymous5:11 PM

    (I think these kinds of scare tactics are only going to bolster the "Yes" vote)

    Scottish homeowners face mortgage meltdown if Yes campaign wins

    PS Great blog Simon. I discovered it yesterday.


  8. I'm a proud Scottish lass with my ancestors coming from Scotland. And I live in Kincardine, ON so our ties are close. FYI, and another poll

    Mumsnet users poll puts Yes ahead
    48% Yes,
    41% NO
    11% Don't Knows

    So excited!

  9. hi's amazing how many places in Canada are named after places in Scotland. And yes it is exciting. It is the first real pushback against the neo-liberal agenda in an English-speaking country, and if the Scots succeed it could send a powerful message. Needless to say I like your poll a lot, although I do fear that the Cons who are directing their fire at seniors, could scare enough of them into voting NO in the last few days. But as I said in my post, once you create a mass movement like the YES side the dream will cntinue whatever the result of this referendum. And with most of the young supporting the YES side the future belongs to us....