An article is doing the rounds today that I feel every Scot should read. Peter Arnott is a Scottish playwright whom I wouldn’t know if I fell over him. That’s my way of saying I am not at all interested in the medium of this message, but the message itself is profound, whoever wrote it. So, if you haven’t already done so (all loyal readers will have seen that I have already reblogged the original earlier this morning) then please do so here:
And while you are at it, please read Wings Over Scotland’s commentary and introduction, because it is just as profound:
Now I am going to have my say and it may be one that gets a few backs up or pushes a few buttons. Just remember, if your button is pushed, it is your button. Own it.
One of my main reasons for having a life-long desire for Scottish Independence is because I have long viewed Scottish society as being somewhat infantile. Our country produces some excellent thinkers and doers who go on to achieve great things, either within the UK or around the world as ex-pats. But there is a large proportion of people, many very smart, very capable, very well educated who are self-deprecating to the point of being irritating in the extreme. But their deprecation is not limited to self and the atmosphere created is one where people with vision and drive and self-belief are conditioned to keep it to themselves, or leave the country. We Scots are allowed to be successful, but not too successful otherwise we are accused of getting above ourselves. No tall poppies here please. The UK class system has beaten us into forelock-tugging submission over the centuries and we, as a society, believe that the decisions are best made by the people in the ‘big hooses’ and, by extension, the biggest ‘hoose’ of them all, the two Houses of Westminster.
But while we subserviently follow the directions of our betters we are not restrained from complaining when we they treat us badly, as they all too often do. The No campaign accuses the Yessers of being anti-English and while this is not true in the way they mean it, it is true to an extent. Scots tend to blame ‘the English’ for everything that goes wrong in Scotland (except for Scottish Labour who blame the SNP regardless of the facts). ‘The English’ of course means Westminster and the UK Establishment™ which include the many rich nobility (whether hereditary landowners or powerful people within business and politics) who are as ethnically Scottish as you or I, even if they are culturally British Upper Class. In many instances the blame lies fairly and squarely on the shoulders of those who have made the political and economic decisions that have seen Scotland’s industrial heart being torn out of its protesting body. Scots are right to think that our influence on UK politics is so minimal that we have little ability to withstand ‘the English’ onslaught but we take too much comfort in having someone else to blame and this allows too many people to sit back and take no responsibility whatsoever for trying to make things better in Scotland.
Voting Yes in September is the beginning of Scotland’s journey into adulthood. No more will we be able to blame ‘the English’ for everything from lost battles and lost coal mines to lost football games. We will have to stand strong on our own two feet and shoulder the responsibility for what works and what fails in our nation state. Because Scotland will fail, time and time again. All nations fail (sometimes in a major way, often in a minor) and recover and fail and recover ad infinitum, that is simply what they do. Right now we are in a UK which fails a lot of our people, Scots as well as English, Welsh and Northern Irish, but all the regions can take comfort in saying ‘its Westminster’s fault’ and doing little to change anything important. ‘Apathy rules OK’ is the motto we have all adopted.
We, the Scots and the other peripheral people of the UK, are like sulky teenagers who complain bitterly when our London parent imposes a curfew and insists we get up in the morning. We continually whine ‘it’s not fair’ when things don’t go our way but make no effort to move out of the parental home. Despite the fact we all have good jobs and earn our way, our parent insists our salaries are paid into their bank account and then doles out our pocket money as they see fit, constantly threatening to cut our allowance if we don’t behave the way they want us to. And you know what? From Westminster’s point of view, why should they change? Those of you who are parents don’t expect your children’s wishes to dictate how you and they live in your home. Many parents have responded to unreasonable demands of their whinging offspring by saying, ‘if you don’t like it, you know where the door is’ and perhaps Westminster should be saying the same thing to us Scots. But they are not because we bring too much to the table. Westminster depends on us for survival while telling us that the opposite is true.
But it is worse than that. Scots are not teenagers, we are fully fledged adults who are plenty capable of making a go of it in the world. But if we vote No we are refusing to acknowledge that and are saying that we want to remain perpetual-teenagers, tied to mummies’ apron strings for the rest of our lives. We Scots need to grow up, get our own house, make our own rules and learn to stop blaming ‘the English’ for everything that has gone wrong in our country in the past 300 years. We need to acknowledge that many of the injustices done to Scots were done by Scots and that is the system that is at fault and we have the ability to change it, if we choose. But we will only be able to do that if we tick the box which says , ‘Mum, dad, I’m leaving home!’ and get out from under the Westminster roof.