Thursday, June 26, 2014

Letter to No Voters or "Will Scotland's Turkeys Vote for Cameron's Christmas?"

Warning.  This one's a polemic. Addressed to No voters  Maybe they're all polemics addressed to No voters. Maybe it's even a little...angry. But I'm scared of what you guys are thinking...or maybe not thinking clearly enough...about doing. I'm scared of who you're trusting.  Of what and who is controlling the future you're voting for.
I really hope...I really hope I'm wrong about all of this...But here goes.
The Yes campaign are constantly being told that a vote for Yes is a vote for uncertainty. George Galloway used the word "havoc" the other day, as he addressed a rapturous audience of Edinburgh lawyers and bankers.
Those people who really don't see the need for democracy in Scotland as they've been getting on very nicely indeed for 300 years without it, thank you! 
Don't Rock the Boat!
Constant demands are made of us to look into a crystal ball and see stability...only to be rubbished. You can't guarantee any of that, we're told.  Currency, borders, the just don't know.
And of course, we don't.  All these things are negotiable.  The future is like that.
So the intrinsic uncertainty of the future is used as a rhetorical weapon by people arguing in favour of their "guarantee" of continuity, their promise that things will stay the same, only with a wee bit more democracy, just to keep the weans happy and amused.
My question to No Voters is, what kind of negotiations are you expecting after we Vote No?
Underneath the whole Better Together campaign is the "guarantee" that a Yes vote means "havoc" and a No vote means normality. I am here to tell you, and so is Professor David Heald of Aberdeen University, the World Bank and the United Nations, that it ain't gonna be like that.
The outcome of this referendum is going to change things.  Either way.  The status quo may be on the ballot paper.  It is not on the cards.
I've attached Scott McNab's piece on the Professor's testimony to Holyrood below and  I urge you to read it, and think very seriously through what it means.
If the Professor is even half right, there is already a barely suppressed head of angry, resentful steam building up at Westminster from all those MPs who look at Scotland and see only "subsidy junkies", who look at the figures the Treasury produces to "prove" that Scotland is the only energy rich country on earth that is a economic basket case...and believe them.  
And see a level of public spending that makes them determined, not to raise public spending on the poor, on the old, and on students and the sick in the UK, but to cut those whining Jock's down to size,
And if we Vote No in September, that's who we will be handing our asses to.  With no backsies, no comebacks, and no leverage.  We will be, and I'm sorry to use the offensive terminology, turkeys voting for Christmas.
Hang on, you mad, negative, insulting cybernat...what about the new powers they've guaranteed?
Okay...who has guaranteed these powers?.  MSPs.  Scottish MSPs. People who weren't good enough for Westminster.  From the Labour Party, the Tory Party...and the Liberal Democrats. 
Do you think, that even if the Labour and Tory leaderships have given a casual half-interested nod to this "power package", that they've really signed these off, line by line, with their backbenchers?  The backbenchers who are standing for election to the "real" parliament  9 months after the referendum?  Have the PLP and the 1922 Committee really said..."Yes...good old Scotland, we'll give them anything they ask...only please don't let them go!"
Or do those leaders know that if we vote No, any amount of "powers" can be promised, because power will stay exactly where it is.  Any legislation will have to get through Westminster.  because Holyrood...Ruth, Johann, Willie...won't matter any more.
And tell me, you're all experienced you really think that the UK electorate - angry and confused at austerity - will really give their MPs prizes for sending "their" money to Scotland? 
Pull the other one.
"But forget Ruth and Willie, the polls say that Labour will win in 2015.  Ed Milliband seems like a nice guy!" 
I agree, on both points.  The polls do say that. Mostly.  And he does seem like a nice guy. And I deeply hope for the sake of my Brothers and Sisters in the UK that Labour DOES win Westminster in 2015.
But a) they might not.  And b) can anyone from the No campaign give me a "guarantee" against Boris in 2020?  
Or Teresa?  
Against the Tories being in power for three terms - till 2035 -  after a fractious, exhausted,unconvinced and unconvincing Labour Government ( possibly propped up by Nick Clegg).makes a pig's ear of the recovery?  
When said Labour government will be undermined at every turn by the vested interests who did "bloody well, actually" out of the crash?  When the Labour Party remain indissolubly wedded to keeping the political centre of gravity on these islands exactly where the financial centre is.  Is that the stability a No vote is supposed to promise? Are these the "powers" we're expecting from those in power?
Well...let's be fair.  Let's take a look a look at the most important element of those powers, pick out the biggest plum, the one that we are supposed to find comprehensible,  novices in democracy that we are. 
Let's forget about VAT, National Insurance ,Corporation Tax, Customs Duty, Energy Policy and the Crown Estates off shore where all the oil and wind and wave power is...let's look at what's actually on offer.
The power to vary income tax.  The politically untouchable tax. The one no one ever raises  any more because somebody might notice.  That one
The "new powers" will mean that Scotland's income tax will be cut by 10p in the pound...and then Holyrood will be "made responsible" for raising it, bringing it up to the SAME level as the UK government dictates ..or a wee bit higher, maybe! Imagine how popular that will be!
Or alternatively, slashing public spending even closer to the bone that we're going to have to do already with all the tax powers we WON'T be given.
Nothing else. Nothing will change in terms of spending.
Largely symbolic, I'm sure you'll agree, something shiny for the weans to look at. And something that will support the austerity agenda that has already been agreed upon (read the papers) by all of the Westminster Parties.
Appetizing! And we'll have voted for it! 
Caveat Emptor!
Except, we're not finished yet.
"In return" for this "gift", they will slash the Barnett formula.
Remember, they think we're whining subsidy junkies that they indulge because we "threaten" them with separation, with taking their stuff away. They don't believe that in this Perfect Union we own anything or earn anything.  The only political capital we hold in London... for the moment Independence.
And we will have thrown it away. Because we were scared. And all that oil and wind and wave power that isn't worth anything, on which we can't depend...which we'd be much better off not controlling for ourselves? 
Let's just wrap all that up and hand it over.  Forever. When we go round for dinner, we'll put it on a plate.
And Westminster will say:
 "Independence is off the table?  Voluntarily.  Good.  Thanks.  (pause) What? Sorry...remind me...who are you guys? "
Deep breath...
"You were expecting a PRESENT??? You think they'll give us a PRIZE???? For loyalty??? THESE people?? Who would sell their grannies for a headline?
A Vote for No is a vote to give the Tories permission to do whatever they like. Why do you think Cameron agreed to the referendum?. Because he and his people calculated it was time to call our bluff. Because the cuts agenda, the austerity agenda, that drives EVERYTHING...the whole war against the welfare state...demands that Scotland submit, like it demanded that the Unions submit, local government, submit. David Cameron thought he could trust the Scottish turkeys to vote for Christmas. And we DID!!!"
And breathe normally!
And when we awake, after a No vote, on September 19th...powerless in a way we haven't been powerless since we awake to the monumental stupidity of playing Happy Families in the "greatest Union the world has ever known", and as Cameron and Osborne laugh like drains at our expense for as long as it takes them to forget that we exist...roughly September the 20th...we will rub our eyes and say: "What the hell did we just do?"
Does anyone really think that that is the path to "stability?" That a No vote is a vote for "Normality?" When we will come very quickly to understand that there is nothing we can do. Nothing. That it won't matter who Scotland votes for in 2015 or 2020. 
We will have to take whatever we are given because we will have declared we don't exist. 
If you vote No, my friends, my brothers and sisters, whoever you think is going to be in charge of your future, it isn't going to be you. To Vote No means either that Scotland is not a real country, or that if it is, democracy is too good for it. 
Time to get real.

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