Introduction and house rules

Hello and welcome!

This blog is dedicated to my fellow residents of Scotland who are undecided on how to vote in the forthcoming referendum on Scottish independence from the UK on September 18th 2014. I am, and always have been, in favour of independence but I know that for a lot of people it is not an easy decision to make. I don’t mean to suggest I treat the issue lightly myself but it has been part of my thinking for so long that I have long since become comfortable in the decision I have reached.

My goals are first and foremost to raise the level of debate and knowledge concerning the independence referendum. Yes, I do hope to persuade you to vote Yes along with me but more importantly I want you to vote with an informed opinion and not simply fear and uncertainty about the future. If you chose to vote for remaining in the UK, I want that decision to be based on the real knowledge that the UK is Better Together and not simply the fear that Scotland will somehow be Worse Apart. My intention is not to provide anyone with The Answers™ but to provide a stepping off point for you to go and explore the issues. I will, where possible, link to both Yes and No sites discussing the same issues but it is often not easy to be totally fair and even-handed because many of these sources are not, themselves, fair and even-handed. On both sides of the argument, information is delivered in a certain way to persuade you, the voter, of a particular position. I make no claims at being impartial but I will strive for balance.

To my fellow Yes voters, I don’t know if you will find much here for you. Perhaps a few ideas and arguments you can use on your own undecided or No voting friends but don’t expect anything particularly ground breaking. I have been reading other Yes orientated sites for the past few months and much of what I am going to write here has been voiced by someone, somewhere else already. Perhaps not in the same manner and perhaps not all in the same place but I am not planning on adding much more to the arguments. I might indulge myself in voicing such ideas elsewhere, but probably not in this blog. My hope for this blog is that it becomes the number one place to send Don’t Knows or persuadable Nos, but I have no wish to preach to the Yes choir as there are plenty doing that already.

To those of you who are intending to vote No, I wish you well and respect that decision. I hope that you in turn will respect the tone of this place. I welcome questions and disagreements but ask that we concentrate on evidence rather than just personal opinion. I totally accept that much of politics is about opinion because politics is based on the values each and every one of us have and these values are not going to be the same. My values are rather socialist with a strong environmentalist streak so that will immediately be in opposition to others who take a more neo-liberal stance but if we simply approach this in the form of ‘I am right! No, you are not, I am right!’ then we will not get anywhere; it is like arguing over who’s cat is blacker and really rather pointless.

To everyone who visits here and choses to leave a comment: I have a strong dislike of censorship but I will employ it if I deem it necessary. I don’t mind the odd sweary word but personal attacks on people, either those on those commenting on the topics or individuals within the wider political sphere, will not be tolerated. Nor am I going to allow bandwidth to people (of any political persuasion) to push forward unsubstantiated ideas. I subscribe to the idea that “everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but they are not entitled to their own facts” (attributed to Daniel Patrick Moynihan, 1927-2003) so please be able and willing to back up your arguments with something resembling a factual source. We can then debate how good or otherwise such sources are. Please do ask questions and please do challenge things I write if you think I am wrong (it is certainly not unheard of for me to be wrong, but is it generally unheard of for me to be unwilling to examine those errors), but please be willing to have your own views challenged in return.

Yours respectfully,

Hugh Wallace




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