Why I am voting no.

I don’t want to put my name to this, not because I am ashamed of my views but because I think it is better that there is no face, no name, no way to identify me. I want you to take my views at face value and not judge based on my looks, my name or how comfortably off you judge me to be. I won’t even tell you my gender.

I am a No voter. 

I do not believe the UK is perfect. I believe there is massive room for improvement. I believe that as a group of nations, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland can do better and should do better. And I believe that some of our politicians could represent us more effectively. 

I have voted in every election and referendum in which I have been eligible to vote since I turned 18 and I am interested in politics even to the extent of joining a political party. But even then I don’t agree with all their policies, in the same way I agree and disagree with a number of policies in the other parties too. I say this because I know people are already yelling “Tory” at their screen, even if it is only internally. 

I have been told countless times in this referendum campaign that Scotland can’t effect change in the UK and that we are too wee to do it. And I call bullshit on that suggestion. Of course we can change things. We already have. In 1992 there was a Day for Democracy held in Edinburgh. Hundreds of thousands of Scots joined a march and rally and there was a concert in the Royal mile at night, even though it was December (damn, but we’re a hardy bunch). We were campaigning for a Scottish parliament. And yes, it did take another 7 years, but we got there. When Nelson Mandela was languishing in jail, no one thought that he would one day be the first black president of South Africa, but he did. And black people didn’t even have a vote at that point. Scots have votes in 4 levels of Government and yet some claim we have no voice. 

So here is a challenge. Is your MP or MSP not representing you well enough? Then write to them.Go and see them. Stand against them if you have to. Campaign for the other bloke/wumman. Take a weeks holiday during the next election and head for a marginal constituency in England and shove leaflets through letter boxes and canvass. If you don’t want a Tory government, do something about it? (I only say the Tories because that seems to be one of the main gripes of the SNP).

Do you not like nuclear weapons? Me neither. But sailing them 400 miles down the coast will not make me or you or our kids safer. If those babies do go off, it’s goodnight Vienna (probably literally). I want those things gone. But I also want Putin’s ones gone. And Obama’s ones gone, And Israel’s. And the rest. You get my drift. To be in the argument, you need to be in the room. Yelling at people from outwith the room will have no effect. Stay in the union and campaign for disarmament. Join CND. 

I believe in federalism because I believe in devolving power to the lowest level of government possible. Independence is a step away from from federalism not a step towards it.

So why am I a federalist? Because when all is said and done, in some things we are better together. Look around the world. Look at Iraq, Ukraine, Palestine, Syria, North Korea. The UK has an amazing diplomatic corps and an amazing armed forces.They work hard and they put their lives on the line for our safety. And now the entire nation is praying that the diplomatic corps and or the armed forces can manage to pull through for the ongoing hostage situation.

I keep being told no more illegal wars if we go indy. Was the war in Iraq legal? Well frankly, as far as I’m concerned the jury is out. Is it worth breaking up the UK over? No. Governments get things wrong–spectacularly wrong at times. Look at the stuff that happened last century alone. Did Bavaria demand independence from the rest of West Germany because of what Hitler did? No. The country pulled together, accepted the blame for what happened and got on with it. Unified, Germany is the greatest force in the EU. It also has to be remembered that Scots did vote for Labour before the Iraq war. We actually can’t blame England entirely for that one.

Do you not like the House of Lords? Excellent. Me neither. That said, I have some respect for some of the Lords. If you were or are disabled, who do you want making and approving laws with regards to rights for people with disabilities? Baroness Tanni Grey-Thomson, retired wheelchair athlete, olympic gold medalist and person who knows how it feels to start going up for your BBC Sports Personality of the Year award only to find that not one person thought that maybe as a wheelchair user you might just need a ramp to get up on stage.? Or perhaps you’d prefer Oscar Figginbottom who has just left Oxford with a third class in social anthropology and psychology, who once stubbed his toe then he was ten and had to limp for a week? You see, even in the things I want to change in the UK, I can see the good. Still though, I’d prefer an elected upper chamber. So let’s do it. We keep being told that Better Together, Naw, No voters have no vision and don’t want change. Excuse the vernacular, but that’s bollocks. We can have change and we will have change. And frankly there are a lot of people in other parts of the UK who want that change too. So let’s do it. 

Now I’m not going to mention the damned currency except to say, look up sterlingisation and see what it really means. Then look up the EU treaties. Eek. That is all I have to say on that.

But the economy is not just about the pound or the groat. It’s about jobs and inward investment and making the most of our country. So let’s imagine it’s 2020 and rUK has just elected a Tory Government and Scotland has a Labour Government. Labour in Scotland have put up the minimum wage. It’s now a living wage. Zero hours contracts are a thing of the past. Corporation tax has been raised because North Sea Oil is still there but harder to get at. The UK freezes its national minimum wages, slashes corporation tax, allows zero hour contracts. Where are all the jobs going to go? Have you ever met a businessman that paid more than he had to for anything? We’ll be in a race to the bottom against a much bigger and much more powerful neighbour. Now, that’s not to say I believe there should not be an increase in minimum wage. Of course there should be. The current minimum wage is pathetic, but then it’s better than we had in 1996 (i.e. no minimum wage). . But… it needs to be a UK increase so that we are all on a level playing field. There has to be no advantages to setting up in Sheffield as opposed to Stirling. A race to the bottom is in no one’s interest, except for those who are shareholders in Starbucks and McDonalds.

So I am finishing this blog. It became a bit of a magna carta but it is heartfelt. I may even write another one befiore the 18th.

And so to sum up. I don’t want to leave the UK as it is. I want to change the UK. Scots can be the leading lights in this. Or are you telling me that the Scots are too wee, too poor and too stupid to be the change that the UK needs us to be?