Sunday, September 22, 2013

Scottish Independence and Some Lessons for Canadians

Well for a brief moment today I was able to escape the grim, grey, reality of Harperland. My body was in soggy Toronto, but my heart was in Edinburgh. 

Because one year from now Scotland will hold a referendum to determine whether it wants to become an independent country.

And as a son of that small but proud land, not only does that historic vote move me deeply, coming as it will 700 years after the Battle of Bannockburn when the Scottish people first won their independence.

Only to lose it again and again.

I see in what's happening there some lessons for progressives in Canada.

And not just because it all looks, and frequently sounds so familiar...

But because the Scottish National Party is not just campaigning for their vision of an independent country. They're also campaigning against David Cameron's brutish Con government.

England is dismantling the traditional welfare state through marketisation of the NHS, welfare caps and free schools, while Scotland retains faith in the monolithic health service, social security and universal comprehensive education.

And because they have called on Scots to get involved, and describe THEIR vision of what an independent Scotland should look like, they have made politics fun again. 

The prospect of this seismic vote has triggered a wave of creative and intellectual energy that has not been seen in Scotland for a generation....Putting the union in question somehow permits other fundamental debates that are not necessarily about the referendum, but are catalysed by its question.

Scottish politics has become fun again. There is a desire to experiment and that is not likely to go away, regardless of the indyref outcome.

Which is something we badly need in Canada eh? For not only is our political scene old fashioned, without energy or imagination, or just plain boring.

The progressive parties need to do a much better job of communicating their vision of Canada, and contrasting it with the horror of the Con regime. For although I know what they're for or against,  I cannot see that vision. And as I wrote a few weeks ago, they really need to start encouraging Canadians to chase the dream. 

For unless they can inspire and excite Canadians, especially the younger ones, they will not move enough of them to destroy the Con regime.

Ironically, the Scottish referendum will probably fail because the independence dream wasn't bold or imaginative enough. The SNP being too conservative to lead us to the Promised Land.

Or the time not yet arrived...

But they will get there one day. Just like we will get there in Canada.

If we unite, if we organize, if we're smart and creative, if we fight them harder than ever. If we chase the dream. We can defeat the Cons and drive them from power FOREVER.

Then like the Scottish people, we shall be true to our history, hold our heads high.

And march bravely into the future...

Aren't I lucky to have two big dreams eh?

Scotland forever.

And Canada free again...

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  1. FYI Simon,
    Luke Skipper is the Scottish National Party’s Westminster chief of staff, and he's not Scottish but Canadian. And he's from my home town of Kincardine, ON. Luke was home in the summer to attend the Kincardine Scottish Festival!

    The Scottish Player

    1. hi Jan...thanks for the link. What a great story. I'm a bit pissed off at the SNP these days for not being bolder and more imaginative. But they are the best government Scotland has ever had. And Skipper's boss, Angus Robertson,is the MP for the Moray, where my family lives, and the best MP we've ever seen. Even my (progressive) Conservative Dad has been forced to agree with that, so I can't help feeling we're making progress... ;)

  2. That is odd, as I'd think the obvious parallel would be with Québec independence (and also with the PQ which has become increasingly conservative and unimaginative).

    1. Anonymous5:53 PM

      Unimaginative? Who but a totally deluded, misguided, racist bunch of fanatical assholes could come up with a prejudicial piece of shit like the p.q. just did and try and pawn it of as legitimate legislation? Call them australopithic or ignerant as 'murkans or even jack-booted fucking morons but don't be so unkind as to call them "unimaginative". That's not nice and maron (as in moron) might just have to send some of her H.A. pals out to deal with you for hurting her feelings. There's no reason to be proud to be from Quebec right now. "They" put her in power so "they" must be in agreement about this stinking, putrid shit that "they" call "legislation" there. Better off living in Alabama or Mississippi than Quebec.

    2. hi lagatta...the SNP may be flawed, but it is infinitely better than the latest edition of the PQ. They're independence project is far more inclusive, and their social policies are far more progressive. The PQ is just a shell of what it once was, and growing more reactionary every day. I can't hardly watch that twit Bernard Drainville, without feeling like vomiting. It really is a shameful period, and when I look at the National Assembly I don't see any relief in sight...

    3. hi anonymous...As you can see, like you I don't think much of Marois and her PQ. But don't blame the whole province. She only has a minority government. Are we all to blame for what Stephen Harper has done to Canada? Her stinky charter has divided even her own party, so hopefully in time she will get her comeupppance...

    4. Anonymous10:20 PM

      Quebec is a racist state, Scotland isn't hence the difference.