The devil I know

I am voting yes tomorrow, and here’s why.

This vote for me has always been about governance, how best to achieve a representative and accountable government for the people of Scotland. Lord knows the Westminster landslides of the last 40 years and the abuses they have enabled have shown that the first past the post system does not give the UK (or Scotland within it) governments that are representative or accountable. And here we have a chance to create a country with a written constitution, proportional representation, no unelected upper chamber; a more accessible and accountable government. Whether or not it will work, it’s a chance I am not willing to let pass by.

My vote is a vote of no confidence in the Westminster system of government.

It is pointless to say “stay and change it”. In the last 40 years Westminster has been getting progressively worse, with landslides that enabled Thatcher to create class warfare that divides the nation even now, with lies that enabled Blair to sex up a dossier and take us into an illegal war with no accountability or consequence and against the will of a million marchers in the street, with corruption which enables MPs to claim expenses and flip houses and avoid jail, with a minority conservative government able to sell off the NHS to themselves and their cronies in an maneuver which was not in their manifesto and which international treaties mean can never be undone.

So, no, I have no desire to stay in the UK and fight to change the system. I am bone tired of fighting to change the system, and there is no-one in the UK left for me to vote for. With turnouts in the 60s it seems most of the UK feels the same way I do. Cameron’s promises of Devo Max are just another example of unmandated maneuvering. Too little too late. The spell is broken, my trust has gone.

How can 8% of the Union end the Union, the English ask now they have had the news sprung upon them by a startled press. Is this fair? No, not really. But that’s another one to lay at Cameron’s door. Sorry.

Here’s the thing: If the referendum was held across the whole of the UK and came out with a majority in Scotland for an independent Scotland would it be right to hold Scotland against its will?

You see, there’s the awkward principle of self-determination. People and newspapers who blithely support people’s right to self-determination when it is far away or long ago and therefore not personal are more squeamish when it’s close to home. My father served in the Indian Army and was a prisoner of war of the Japanese and loathed the break up of the Empire. He used the phrase “when we gave our Empire away”; but I am clear that he was wrong and national self-determination is right. Scotland is not India; it is a partner in a Union of nations not a colony. But it has never been an equal partner. The Scots have a right to self-determination now, as the Irish did a hundred years ago. And I believe – given the venality and corruption of Westminster’s rule – we should be allowed to take it.

Am I afraid? Oh yes. I am very afraid. The currency fluctuations worry me. The market uncertainties. The long-term future of the banks. Mortgages. Jobs. The supermarkets. Of course that worries me. Better Together have done their work. But not better the devil I know. The devil I know sickens me and I cannot bring myself to go into the voting booth tomorrow and vote for Westminster.

Particularly since there seem to be three responses from the English; there’s one that asks how can 8% of the Union break the Union (see above), there’s one that asks “how can you leave us, we love you so much” (oh, diddums, you should have said so sooner then), and there’s one that says “nice country you have here, be a shame if anything were to happen to it” (charming).

I respond very badly to emotional blackmail and always have. So sorry. If you threaten me then my response is to agree with the mannie in the petrol station in Orkney on Sunday who said to me quietly “with any luck, we’ll get away”.

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