When I first realised that Scottish independence was on the cards, I rejected it out of hand. My thoughts at the time included “If it’s not broken, why fix it?”. I was a firm “no” and wouldn’t see it any other way.
I lived in the North of England at the time having moved there as a twenty something and who had thumbed a lift south at the M74 services just outside Glasgow a decade earlier. I suppose you could say that I wasn’t the first to do that and I wouldn’t be the last. I saw the only way that I could get the life that I wanted was to leave Scotland. Over many years I built that life and ended up jointly owning the largest independent communications company in the North of England. I lived the life, sports cars and everything. So the idea that Scotland, the place that produced me would split from the UK and more pointedly England where I lived was anathema to me. I hated the idea.
What happened after that is a personal journey that many folk have trodden. I lost everything. Over a period of two years, I went from “millionaire on paper” to a man of straw. Allowing another larger company to buy in to the company led to a huge boardroom struggle in which I lost quite savagely. My marriage had also been on the veritable “shoogly peg” and what the rest of my boardroom left me my now ex wife took what was left. I was living in a caravan which, with a car, were the only possessions I had.
I returned to Scotland with my tail between my legs. Now I wont bore you with my “rebuild” but it did happen, suffice to say that I’m in more “real” circumstances these days but happier nonetheless.
So, on with the point.
After a while, I moved into a small house in a place called Duntocher which is near Clydebank. My next door neighbour was an SNP supporter. We had many over the garden fence chats and he incessantly talked about Scottish independence which I was still very much against. Some of the stuff that he mentioned was ridiculous and having recently purchased a PC and a “dial up” internet connection, I decided to search online for arguments to debunk what he was saying.
At that time searching online was fairly straightforward if a little slow. No one was posting scare stories at that time about independence and the websites such as “Oil of Scotland” were easy to find and access. What I found initially, was straightforward proof that Scotland had been stripped apart, de-industrialised and lied to for decades with regard to it’s wealth. I was hooked.
I heard about a website called “www.newsnetscotland.com” and registered so that I could comment. I chose the name “Saltire Groppenslosh” which was just a silly name chosen at the time. I conversed with people from many backgrounds and over time that publication became my favourite online newspaper.
I had made the transition almost as if by magic to become a “nationalist”. Now I won’t go into the many twists and turns that led me to where I am today but I would like to examine the thinking of the minds of Scottish people who may be at various points along the way from a straight “no” to a definite “yes”.
It is fair to say that at the time that I was a definite “no”, I didn’t have any evidence that said I should think any other way. Also I had a comfortable life and didn’t want any upset. That was a big factor. My Scottish identity was intact and was safe in the knowledge that Scotland would always be a part of the UK. It was that simple.
So at what point did I become an “undecided”? I can’t say “undecided voter” because at that time there was no vote, no referendum. I think that point came shortly after I started looking for that evidence. I simply didn’t find the evidence that I as a “no” expected to see. quite the opposite in fact. There wasn’t any positive case for the union, nothing, because no one had thought of forming one yet and haven’t to this day. Westminster’s vice like grip was around the neck of Scotland and no one, well not many, questioned that.
I can’t honestly tell you at which point I became a firm yes either, it was possibly the first time that Newsnet Scotland ran a story on the bias and propaganda of BBC Scotland. Perhaps, I’m not sure. What I am sure about is that over time, the evidence became overwhelming and the “yes” inside me became solid. Now, the choice is more stark than in those days. We now have a vote on Scottish independence taking place next year and the choices are easy for anyone in Scotland to see if they want to, they are;-
- Vote no and live under austerity for the rest of your life or vote yes and choose a different path which offers hope and opportunity for our future.
- Vote no and accept every daft policy dreamt up by Westminster in an effort to create a “one size fits all” society and doesn’t work for the people of Scotland or vote yes and have our own parliament at Hollyrood make decisions on our behalf that are fit for Scotland and would never, even on a bad day, dream up anything like the bedroom tax.
- Vote no and keep the weapons of mass destruction parked beside the most heavily populated part of Scotland or vote yes and see a day where they’ll be a thing of the past and use the massive amount of money used to pay for them to be put to use in benefiting the people of Scotland.
- Vote no and keep Scotland’s people locked into a low wage, high unemployment, service economy where our children dream of a long service award at a well known burger joint or vote yes and move towards a high wage, full employment, high technology manufacturing economy.
- Vote no and keep sending our oil revenue south to the UK treasury who will spend it “wisely” in London or the South East of England or vote yes and have that money spent on the people of Scotland.
- Vote no and accept all that the British Establishment want to do to you where very little of what has been done is for the good of the Scottish people or vote yes and put in place a form of governance and a government that are close to and respond to the people they work for because the people making the decisions live and work in Scotland. The buck would stop in a very visible and very accessible Holyrood instead of a largely faceless institution named the “British Establishment”.
If I wanted to go on I could, there’s no need though. If those choices don’t turn you into a yes voter, there’s a lot more going on to effect your personal choice than just a wish for a fairer more equal society in Scotland with more opportunities for everyone.
If you do complete the journey I’ve made, perhaps the least effect that we’ll see will be that our kids don’t end up in dead end jobs that we wouldn’t have accepted as a career choice ourselves. An independent Scotland will assure a better future for all that live here.
The facts are all available online, not on the telly, not in the mainstream newspapers. They are in bed with Westminster and are working hard to scare you into voting no. Every single one of those scare stories have been thoroughly debunked. The point here is that you have to find out for yourself. You have to make the journey on behalf of yourself and those that you love.
Better get started then…..
David Milligan Lvss