Sunday, October 30, 2016

Why the Independence of Scotland is More Necessary Than Ever

About four years ago I made three political wishes. The first one was that Stephen Harper and foul regime be totally destroyed.

And that one was granted.

My second wish was that the Republican Party suffer the same fate. And whoever wins the U.S. election that also seems likely to be granted.

Which leaves me with my third wish, the independence of Scotland.

A wish I've had since I was a small boy.

And thanks to the new Thatcher, Theresa May, and her brutish Brexiteers, and the explosion of bigotry in Little England, is now back on the agenda. 

Nicola Sturgeon warned that she was prepared to stage a second Scottish independence referendum before the UK quits the European Union as she attacked the Tories for their “xenophobic” rhetoric on the EU.

Now I'm not going to waste any time trying to explain why I support the cause of Scottish independence, because I've tried that before, and I know that most Canadians, and most of my readers, don't feel the same way I do. 

So I'll leave it up to this former NO voter to explain why it's necessary. 

As someone who opposed Scottish independence in 2014, writing numerous articles and appearing in public debates to put the case for unity across the UK on the basis of class, rather than division on the basis of nationality, I now believe that independence for Scotland is not only desirable but necessary. 

Not only is it necessary in the interests of people in Scotland, but even more significantly it is necessary in order to lift the banner of progressive politics out of the mud, where it currently lies, and raise it as a beacon of hope across a European continent engulfed by the ugly politics of racial and national exceptionalism to an extent not seen since the 1930s.

And to this other NO voter to explain why the young and so many others, dream of something better. 

The current state of British politics is shameful. Brexit has led to a 47 per cent rise in homophobic attacks, racist hate crimes have risen by 42 per cent, and, as a nation, we are woefully divided. 

Meanwhile, the right are storming ahead with their conservative agendas and my generation, a deeply pessimistic and disenchanted group of people, have been left behind feeling neglected, disconnected and hopeless.

And so many feel that independence is the only way to escape the horror of a post Brexit Britain.

If Scotland was to go independent, however, we’d have a socially liberal utopia just north of Hadrian’s Wall to escape to.

While initially I was fighting against unnecessary division, I now feel that in a society as divided as it currently is, the only way forward is to distance ourselves from the hate and the anger. Post-Brexit, and with an independent Scotland, young people can work towards building something which works much better for all of us.

And I'd only add that these are the kinder, gentler values I support. 

And that Scotland has a long history of embracing the oppressed, like the great  Frederick Douglass. 

Who felt himself accepted there as a man, for the first time in his life.

It's a country that has brought in more Syrian refugees than the rest of Britain. One where three of the leaders of the five major parties are openly gay, and where homophobia is taken seriously. 

And the values of Brexit Britain, or Little England, or UKIP England, fly in the face of its own values. And make independence more desirable, necessary, and inevitable.  

Now I'm not saying that Scotland doesn't have its problems, because it does. Serious social problems, poverty, and inequality.

And to feel the hope in the air, you really have to be there.

So I thought I'd take you on a tour of my very own backyard, the part of Scotland I know the best, through the eyes of the stunt biker Danny MacAskill.

A tour that begins at the gateway to the eastern highlands, the Cairngorm mountain range. 

I hope you liked that video, and understand a little better why in such a landscape, with so many mountains and so few people, and only your bike for company, it's really easy to become a hopeless dreamer.

And what I choose to take from that video is this: 

If at first you don't succeed, pick yourself up and try again...

Until the joy of victory replaces disappointment, and Scotland is finally free.

And of course, if those who would kill hope in my Canada ever succeed, you'll know where I'll be.

Will I stay or will I go?

Only time will tell....


  1. "A sense of dislocation has been spreading through our societies like a bone cancer throughout the twentieth century.We all feel it: we have become richer, but less connected to one another." Quote taken from CHASING THE SCREAM by JOHANN HARI.......

    1. hi Kathleen...that's putting it mildly. The world is coming apart at the seams, but are we chasing the scream or is it chasing us?

  2. Anonymous9:05 AM

    If Brexit was a dumb idea, and it was, Scots independence is doubly so. Eighty per cent of Scotland's trade is with England, and she already has a devolved Parliament anyway. Scotland's greatest days have all been as part of the UK.

    1. hi anon...I know how you feel, after all my Mum's English, so I can understand both sides. But I honestly believe that the question of Scottish independence is now less about economics than it is about values. Post Brexit England has become a frightening place, and the sooner we escape the grip of the monstrous Tory regime the better...

  3. as long as love continues to be disregarded, it will always surprise.

    how wonderful the wild card of the human heart!

    1. hi Luce...yes it is. I've always believed that love will trump hate, but these days I have to admit my confidence has been shaken. I sometimes feel like I'm living in a nightmare, and I long for a place where life is quiet and normal...

  4. I agree with you about Scotland and Québec, but you hate me because I'm not a Liberal, or Trudeau fan. And no, I DON'T "hate" him.

    1. hi lagatta...nice to hear from you again, and let be clear I don't hate you. I don't hate any women, I blame everything bad that's happening on men and misogyny. And no you don't have to be a Trudeau fan to comment here. My only point is that we should not tear down leaders who are keeping the Cons at bay, until the day that there is a better one. It should be obvious from what's happening in Europe and America that we are at war with the extreme right, and we should not fight each other while we face such a danger...

  5. Anonymous11:06 PM

    Hiya Simon, I want you to know that I'm with you. Down with Brexit bastards Scotland forever!!

    1. hiya anonymous...thank you, it is a noble dream, and sooner or later it will become reality...