The people of Scotland, my people, have lived through a very unusual experience. Let’s go through the facts.
Scotland, for want of a better description was “annexed” and without delving into history too much, the ordinary people of Scotland were against any union with England. Riots and protests were dealt with most severely. A fair treaty it was not. It was forced.
Scotland’s people eventually made the best of things and became the steam that powered the engine of “empire”. The empire where the “sun never set” would never have happened in the way it did without the people of Scotland.
Fast forward to the First World War and we see a disproportionate number of Scots falling in battle, they don’t tell you that on Westminster’s mouthpiece the BBC who are going to fill your summer months on TV and Radio with the glory of the First World War. The Second World War saw a plan where the British Establishment had a plan in place to let Scotland be taken by the Nazis, so even then in a conflict where Better Together say we fought side by side, that British Establishment were actually accepting the fact that a large part of the British Isles would be allowed to fall to protect the homeland, “this England”.
Before I go any further, let me state quite categorically that this is not a diatribe against any normal English folk or England for that matter. I have no quarrel in that direction and believe that the folk that live in England are being led down the garden path by their parliament that should be looking out for them. It is however, most definitely, a diatribe against the “British Establishment” and everything and everyone that goes with it.
Then, (to continue the story), we have the 60’s and 70’s.
In 1969, the Polaris Submarines took up residence at Faslane on the River Clyde. The Scottish people yet again protested but were ignored. The American Subs would also use Holy Loch as their berth. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UK_Polaris_programme
In the 70’s we had the three day week, blackouts and fuel rationing. There were few that were unaffected. Oil was discovered in Scotland’s waters and was seen by some in the British Establishment as a way to both silence the Scots and deal with the unions who had been fighting with the Westminster Govt for years. In the early part of 1979, a change was made to the funding of Scotland. It was changed from the Goeschen (1888) formula which gave us 13.75% of what was given to run both England and Wales and changed to the Barnett formula. The Barnett formula gave us an equivalent 11% and so, on the day the Barnett formula was pushed on the people of Scotland, a country that had just a few short years before discovered untold riches in the waters around it, became poorer as a result. It is no secret what happened next…
A referendum for a Scottish Assembly was called but a 40% rule such as never seen before was appended to the result and even though by straight numbers of folk voting yes won, the 40% rule was used to ignore the vote. The disgusted members of the SNP in Westminster stood against the Labour administration that had done that to the people of Scotland. However, what no one bargained for was Maggie Thatcher. She despised Scotland.
She used that wealth to both benefit those in London and the South of England and took on the miners. That particular fight cost the UK almost its entire coal mining industry which incidentally means that even though we’re sitting on trillions of tons of the stuff, we have to import it from the Netherlands at a vastly inflated cost. This was very poor management of the situation and decisions taken then have cost normal folk a lot of extra money on their electricity bills since that time.
She also used that wealth to shut down the heavy industry in Scotland. She wasn’t actually in power when Ravenscraig came crashing down but she was certainly the architect of its destruction. We lost coal mines, shipyards, steelworks and a whole host of related firms in just a few short years. The effect was crushing for both the Scottish economy and the Scottish people. Just prior to that time, oil had been discovered in vast quantities on the Clyde estuary and even though a huge push took place to set up the oil industry in that part of Scotland, the MOD who had submarines stationed at Faslane, secretly blocked any oil boom that would have occurred to prevent inconvenience to their fleet on the Clyde. https://ncdiblog.wordpress.com/2013/12/09/did-the-mod-block-an-oil-boom-on-the-clyde-they-certainly-did/
The shipyards and steel industry would have been in existence today if that oil boom had happened, and we’d have had a whole lot more (read about it in the link above). The oil is still there though……
It is fair to point out that all through the period since oil was discovered in Scotland, we were told that “It’s poor quality stuff” and “It’ll run out in a couple of years” in an attempt (yet again) to bury the hopes of the Scottish people. “Keep them down” was the name of the game played by many in Westminster. I don’t think I need tell you how that makes me feel.
Now we fast forward again to the demise of the Berlin Wall. Prior to that happening, a group of people in Scotland had formed the S.U.N. Committee to fight yet again for the formation of a Scottish Assembly or Parliament. “S.U.N. Committee” stands for Scotland U.N. Committee. I’ll pop up the link so that you can read for yourself what happened. http://www.electricscotland.com/independence/uncommittee.htm
It has long been an assertion of those involved with the Labour Party that it was in fact Tony Blair that we should thank for the Scottish Parliament but as you’ll see (click the link above), all the Labour Party were doing at that time was grabbing the glory and making it look as if it was their idea all along. I beg to differ. It is also quite telling that Cabinet meeting minutes of that time requested under a freedom of information request have been refused “As releasing them isn’t in the public’s interest”. Hmm.
So we have a Scottish Parliament run by Labour. In my personal opinion, very little was accomplished by that parliament in the Labour years, however, by the thinnest of margins, the SNP got to establish a minority government in 2007. What followed was a bitter vendetta by the Labour Party due to the fact that they thought they had a “God given right” to run Scotland no matter what.
The SNP administration handled themselves brilliantly and many things were achieved which previously would have seemed impossible. They built schools without PFI (Private Finance Initiative) and incidentally, this is the awful legacy that the Labour Party left us with where we’ll pay for the schools or whatever that they put up under the PFI scheme, and we’ll end up paying many times their actual value and some of them we’ll be paying for, for the next hundred years. Thanks Labour, thanks a lot!
When it came to the 2011 Scottish Election, it actually looked from the opinion polls as if Labour were going to get back in, but by election day, we witnessed a landslide for the SNP. No one should trust opinion polls in Scotland, that’s just a matter of straight fact.
The SNP’s “flagship” policy was to create a referendum on Scottish independence. They had tried to make it happen during the previous term but were voted down by the London political parties in Holyrood. “Turkeys don’t vote for Christmas” do they? But this time they had the political clout to do just that.
From the word “go”, the Scottish people have been subjected to a fear campaign designed to put them off the idea of Scottish independence. We’ve had politician after politician make the long journey from Westminster to tell us “You can’t do that because…….” Each time they told the Scottish people that, the membership of the SNP grew in size.
Then we saw the birth of the Yes campaign. I know it had its critics at the time, but it has brought together people from a whole host of political backgrounds and a fair number who don’t rally under any political flag at all. That was ultimately a good move because independence was unlikely to be supported by members of Labour who couldn’t even look in the SNP’s direction. The Yes campaign have now been going from strength to strength and the campaign will kick up another gear as we get into the summer months with all sorts of activities planned. I call this “Project Hope” because it talks of a fairer, more equal Scotland for all that live and work here.
Shortly after the launch in May 2012 of the Yes campaign, we saw the launch of “Better Together”, a name they had pinched from the Scottish NHS. It wasn’t very long before we realised that their intention wasn’t to lay out a positive case for staying with the union, although they did put up a fairly weak article on their website with the name “The +ve case” which took me a few short hours to completely debunk. https://ncdiblog.wordpress.com/2014/03/09/the-positive-case-for-the-union/
Their whole Raison D’etre was to put Scotland down in any way they could without making it seem that way (too much). Their whole narrative was based around “ye canny do it” and “yer too wee, too poor and too stupit”. They called themselves “Project Fear” and then tried to deny it. Then they accepted the term quite readily, that, in itself, speaks volumes. It has become common knowledge that they are a Tory funded campaign and it doesn’t matter what they do, they can’t shake that one.
As we run towards the referendum I can honestly say that “I live in hope, not fear” and it seems that now, every time one of the unionists speaks out, their words just seem silly or condescending.
Scotland it seems will become a small, rich, fairer, more equal, independent, normal European nation and there’s not a thing that the British Establishment can do about it. I cannot wait. It hasn’t been easy, I would be lying if I said otherwise, but I can say that because of that struggle, it will be a prize worth having and one that we are proud to pass onto our generations.
We are watching the demise of “Project Fear” and now have a clear mission. That mission is to get round everyone (not just those with internet access) and tell the positive story about an independent Scotland. It will do us good as a nation if we speak with one voice. That voice, if it’s loud enough will silence those in the British Establishment forever. No longer will we have the sticky fingers of Westminster all over Scotland, and we’ll experience an economic bounce that’s never been experienced by any other country in history. According to Tony Kenny, “Scotland is stinking rich, the question isn’t whether we’ve got the money, it’s what we’ll do with it that counts”. I completely agree with him.
David Milligan Lvss