Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Why Canadian Progressives Should Have Supported the Scottish Independence Struggle



With one day to go before Scotland's historic referendum vote, the excitement is building and the polls are narrowing. 

Support for the Yes campaign is increasing but it still lags just behind No on the eve of Scotland’s independence referendum, an exclusive poll conducted for The Scotsman reveals today. 

The Yes vote stands at 48 per cent compared with 52 per cent for No, when the undecided voters are excluded, the survey of more than 1,000 voters by ICM found.

And the fact that the YES side is still standing, let alone so close to victory, is truly amazing.

Considering the campaign of fear that has been waged against them. And the way they have been shafted by the media. 

Perhaps the most arresting fact about the Scottish referendum is this: that there is no newspaper – local, regional or national, English or Scottish – that supports independence except the Sunday Herald. The Scots who will vote yes have been almost without representation in the media.

Because it has been truly disgusting, so many journalists have been so shameless, the way their corporate bosses have tried to bully the people of that small country is simply unforgivable. 

And the way the YES side has refused to surrender, and still managed to get its message out, is truly inspiring.


That so many Scots, lambasted from all quarters as fools, frauds and ingrates, have refused to be bullied is itself a political triumph. If they vote for independence, they will do so in defiance not only of the Westminster consensus but also of its enforcers: the detached, complacent people who claim to speak on their behalf.

Even if meant climbing this tall statue of the Duke of Wellington in Glasgow, which has been wearing a traffic cone for years...



To further adorn it with a YES sticker...



And I have to admit the exuberant spirit of this peaceful revolt to build a kinder, gentler left-wing society separated from the Con jungle the UK has become, has moved me beyond belief.

But in the dying hours of this extraordinary campaign I also have to admit that I have been terribly disappointed by the way so many progressives have reacted.

For what can explain that in the progressive blogosphere I inhabit I have been the only one, to my knowledge, supporting the YES side so strongly?

When their struggle is our struggle, we have the same Con enemies. And Scotland and Canada have such a long and shared history together.

For this is Tobemory...



No not Tobermory, Ontario, the beautiful place at the tip of the Bruce Peninsula, where Sébastien and I sometimes go diving at its underwater national park.

Tobermory on the Isle of Mull, in Scotland, where so many place names in Canada come from.

And from where so many sailed forth to help build this country.

So I really can't understand why so much more was written about what happened in Ferguson, Missouri, than was written about what happened in Scotland.

I've blamed that on a lot of things over the last few weeks. I've blamed it on the fallout from the Quebec referendum, even though as I pointed out, the two referendums are quite different.

I've blamed it on a sentimental attachment to Britain and the Queen. Even though the Queen will STILL be the Queen of Scotland whatever the result. 

She's scheduled her Servants Ball at Balmoral Castle in Scotland for the day after the referendum.

So she can't be too worried eh? Are you reading this Mum ??!!@#!!!!

And Britain isn't going anywhere either. Even if Scotland separates I'll STILL love my English friends AND my mother, as much as I do now.

Her Majesty's Royal Canadians will STILL be able to buy teapots like this these...



And STILL read Andrew Coyne...



Who shall henceforth be known by me as Colonel Blimey. 

But seriously though, it has been a terrible disappointment to see so few Canadians support the YES side even in the places progressives post their blogs. 

And as I mentioned the other day I have rarely felt so lonely...



Or wondered if I really belong here, in this beautiful but blighted Harperland.

In my most bitter moments I've also blamed it on the fact that the blogosphere is aging like everything else in this country. And that many of those who blog as a retirement project aren't as interested in the young and the future as I am.

For obvious reasons.

But that isn't fair, and it doesn't fully explain that strange lack of enthusiasm either.

So in the end, at least in our little Canadian political blogosphere, I blame MYSELF.

For not being able to properly describe the YES side's magnificent struggle for a different, better, and proudly left-wing country.

And it's why in the dying hours of this campaign I am so grateful that the Scottish actor and director David Hayman has made a powerful video.

One that explains what they're fighting for so much better than I ever could...



Yup. That's what it's all about. 

That's why I am supporting the YES side. 

That's why all progressives should.

Here's to the victory of hope over fear.

Go Scotland GO...



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35 comments:

  1. I have been the only one, to my knowledge, supporting the YES side so strongly

    Ahem. You need to get out more. :)

    http://drdawgsblawg.ca/2014/09/things-fall-apart.shtml

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    1. hi Dr.Dawg...actually I read your post and I found it quite interesting. But it was only one, and I although I realize one of your posts is worth about a hundred of mine, it still doesn't negate what I said about our blogosphere. And neither did I appreciate your mocking tweet. Because although I probably should have used the word "alone" it was painful to be so excited about something and see how few progressives shared that enthusiasm in this broken old country. Finally, I do get out quite a bit, probably more than you. I was in Scotland this summer, and if you had been there you might have been more supportive and less contemptuous...

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    2. "Mocking Tweet?" I told people to go visit your site! Good grief, no good deed goes unpunished.

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    3. hi Dr Dawg....If I misinterpreted you I'm sorry. But how am I supposed to interpret your suggestion that I go out more? Or your tweet this evening that i should "grow up'" Why do I hear that all the time? Older people mean it an insult. Are we supposed to get better when we get older? Some do some don't. You could have said Simon believes that the progressive blogosphere hasnt written enough about the Scottish referendum. And I would have been interested to hear how you explained that. Oh well I admit that I am totally frazzled, so if I misinterpreted you I'm sorry. And thanks for retweeting my story...

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  2. Anonymous8:52 AM

    My kids marched in Montreal. I still have the red felt square they gave me. They are watching the Scottish play carefully. It's all yes around this neck of the woods.

    And some bloggers do support it.

    http://buckdogpolitics.blogspot.ca/2014/09/scotland-aye.html

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    1. hi Buckdog...I saw your latest post, and the one about Willie. And I appreciated them both. I should have left a comment, but I'll say now what I should have said then. You're a great progressive, I love you dearly, and of course Scotland forever !!! :)

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    2. Anonymous9:44 AM

      I am not Buckdog, I am Anonymous ;)

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    3. hi anon...oh no. I'm sorry about that. But I do feel that way about Buckdog, and I appreciate your support of that great cause. Because now there's at least four of us... ;)

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  3. Anonymous9:03 AM

    Well, if you rationally weighed the pros vs the cons of seperation.
    You'd realize that the breakup of the UK is a disaster.

    But then again , I did mention "rational".

    As a Quebec seperatist once said to me when the vote was too close to call in the 1996 referndum( exactly like this similar referendum).and I had pointed out all the "rational" points of a disasterous seperation result.
    He looked at me and admitted, "Well , we Quebers think with our hearts not our heads".

    Time will tell.
    Scotland will be far far worse off economically if they seperate and the rest of your socialist "utopia" cannot exist without money.
    Period.
    Grow up.

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    1. hi anon...no I'm sorry I don't see it as a disaster. Please don't compare it to the Quebec referendum because as I pointed out here...
      http://montrealsimon.blogspot.ca/2014/09/why-scottish-referendum-is-not-quebec.html
      ...the two are quite different.
      Scotland is also wealthy enough to exist without being attached at the hip to Con England. Even if the YES side does win I'm sure the two countries will get along just fine. And as for your recommendation that I should ":grow up" I take it like a grain of salt and toss it over. For if growing up means becoming as old and as passionless or as Con as so many in this half dead county I think I'll stay forever young, even when I am as old as you. But thanks for your comment, and have a nice day...

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  4. "Well, if you rationally weighed the pros vs the cons of seperation.
    You'd realize that the breakup of the UK is a disaster."

    — for the plutocrats, the neo-liberal Thatcher-spawn. Scots independence might bring a lower standard of living, but thanks to Thatcher, the Scots aren't afraid of hard times.

    Time will tell whether the politicians in England can grow up and realize that when you skim off all the cream for your cronies and their financial fascist buddies, eventually those who have to do without figure out they can do just as well without — English politicians.

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    1. hi Edstock....thanks for that comment which is as great as you. I'm sure you've heard the joke that there are more pandas in the Edinburgh zoo (two) that there are Con MPs in Scotland. But of course one is too much... ;)

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  5. April Reign9:24 AM

    I haven't blogged in awhile but if I did -- Scotland YES!

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    1. hi April Reign...why did I know that you would support the YES side? ;) And don't you love the way most of the heroic YES side posters feature women instead of men? Women have had a decisive role in shaping the YES campaign, and are largely responsible for its success. And it's another reason I support the YES campaign so much...

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  6. Rob Ford has cancer and I am sad. No matter how much he did things he should be schooled for this man raised himself into ICON., In a world of bland platitudes he spoke his mind. For sure I disagreed with most everything he said but he said it, and that in our weasel down world was courageous,

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    1. hi Steve...I'm afraid you sent your comment to the wrong box. But I can only repeat what I said in what I earnestly hope will be my last post on Rob Ford. I wish the man a full recovery. But I can never forget or forgive his vicious homophobia, his crass misogyny, his bullying behaviour, and the way he shamed his city and his country...

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    2. I feel the same. I don't wish painful and possibly terminal illness on anyone, but I sure as hell want him and his damned brother far from anywhere near an elected office.

      Obviously, Ford had about the worst health habits one could imagine, but I also knew people who were very health conscious, such as cycling activist Claire Morissette, who died far too young of cancer. Better to have reasonably healthy habits (without becoming a fanatic, which can lead to other problems), but there are no guarantees.

      He was also always going on about the gravy train and saving taxpayers' money, but being coked-up, drunk and stoned during his working hours was stealing from those hallowed taxpayers.

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    3. hi lagatta...I see dozens of people every day suffering from cancer and fighting it bravely. If I'm humble, and I am, it's largely due to them. I wish Ford the same strength, I don't condemn him for being a drug addict, I despise him because he is a ghastly bigot bully. For there is noting lower...

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  7. The bullying and bad behaviour has been coming from both sides (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/scottish-independence/11098301/Scotlands-most-senior-civil-servant-intimidated-bosses-over-referendum.html), with only one side actually trying to make concessions. The romantic arguments from misty eyed Tartan Tories are not backed up with anything concrete and the darker side of everyday life (sectarianism) in that wonderful place has been ignored in its entirety. In fact try actually raising any "better together" points and see what the response is from the Yes crowd it isn't pretty and reminds me of the tactics of the nastier sectarian elements.

    We saw what happened in Iraq, Egypt etc. when the West dabbled in it's internal affairs for their own gain and the result there is the result why progressives here in Canada should keep their noses out of this. You want the creation of a left wing nation, so are willing to sacrifice the rest of the UK to guaranteed right wing regimes to achieve that. That is not very progressive in my view. You think basing a country on a certain ethnic grouping is a fine way to go, but when did Progressives ever think that something like "Scotland for the Scots" (or Deutschland fur die Deutsche) was a good idea?
    If you want others to live an experiment for you then that is wrong and not very progressive. If you committed to live in this post independence Utopia that you think will result from this that is a different matter. But if this is just using Scotland for your political dreams, I'm afraid I'm a little more Kantian than that.

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    1. hi harebell...the the Scottish police commissioner has sent out a message accusing the NO side of exaggerating a climate of intimidation, which of course they would do because their entire campaign was based on fear. By contrast the YES campaign was based on hope If Scotland's departure would cause England to become even more right-wing than it already is, then that's a problem the English people must solve, not Scotland's problem. The Scottish referendum is a socioeconomic revolt not a tribal one. Many people in Scotland want to live in a centre-left country. They couldn't do that in a union, so they're trying to do it the only way they can...

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    2. Call it what you want, it's tribal and as the majority of the UK get no say in it it is distinctly undemocratic. And there has been plenty of lies and intimidation on both sides with Scottish Civil Servants threatening businesses and even letter bombs being sent.
      Progressives would never support nationalist rationale because that is inherently noninclusive and divisive as are all nationalist and patriotism based politics. Solidarity and togetherness are progressive traits not appeals to blood and heritage, those qualities appeal to fascists and Nazis and are used to divide working people and create hatred.

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  8. Simon: I put down my opinion at Dammit Janet, here, in overall agreement.

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    1. hi Namo... you got it, something has gotta give. Scotland is trapped in a country with a City State called London, that dominates the entire island. It is wealthy, greedy, rapacious, its dismantling the social safety net, privatizing medicare, making the rich richer and the poor poorer, and ANY risk is worth taking to break out of that nightmare. We need to take chances and strive to be better, or they will drag us all down in their insane race to the bottom...

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  9. Anonymous12:59 PM

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BteIwbKU_iQ

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    1. hi anon...Van Morrison Days Like This? Hmmm..a little too down for the YES side but perfect for the NO... ;)

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  10. Hey I did my part too.

    http://ffibnamol.wordpress.com/2014/09/10/a-scotch-versus-a-brit/

    and all 46 visitors seemed to like it.

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    1. hi WILLY...brilliant as usual. I always used to kid my Dad about having settled in the Moray upon our family's return to Scotland, because it just happens to be within striking distance of the so-called Whisky District. Not that I would know anything about that because I can't stand the stuff...or haggis. My Scottish grandmother warned everyone that those who start late are the WORST. But luckily she was wrong. At least until referendum night when I fear I may need a bottle or two to settle my nerves... ;)

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  11. oh I"m yes for sure Simon. I don't blog anymore but am on Tweeter and FB. I've a strong Scottish heritage with grandma from Scotland.
    FYI, Luke Skipper who is the chief of staff to the Scottish National Party is from my hometown - Kincardine, ON. Everybody here is flying their Scottish Flag - the blue and white one!

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    1. hi jan...good stuff. As I said in my posts I can't believe any progressives would not support the YES side struggle. It's not the Revolution, but it's a step in the right direction, and it has been a stirring democratic spectacle. If I could bottle that political enthusiasm I'd bring it back to Canada and invite everyone to take a swig...

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  12. hope you don't mind if I try to upload your scottish lass pic into my background of twitter.

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    1. hi jan...I borrowed it from the internet somewhere, so go ahead. She is beautiful isn't she? And the picture deserves to be shared widely....

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  13. I am definitely thrilled by the YES campaign and hope they win. And thank you for your brilliant posts throughout the campaign. I just adore the butterfly poster and today's Scottish lass.

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    1. hi Beijing...Thank you. I'm glad you feel like me about the YES side. Their brilliant campaign has sent my spirits soaring. In a gloomy world it has stood out for me like a beacon of hope. And I dream of seeing the same thing here one day.And yes aren't those posters great? And there were so many. I was going to choose the one of the hunky guy swinging a hammer. Ahem. But the lassies were just too beautiful... :)

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  14. I do too, but remember than not all Gaelic folk are gingers. Lots of Scots and Irish have a Celtic type that is dark haired and pale skinned - and of course nowadays, there are Scots of all colours!

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  15. hi lagatta...just enjoy the picture. If they ever make a poster of a rasta in a kilt like the one I met in Edinburgh I promise you I'll publish it. But you're right about the pale skins. On the way up north in the train I passed a few beaches which were crowded with locals. And they were the whitest white people I've EVER seen. So bright was the glare I had to put on shades.... ;)

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