Slightly different post tonight as I have been nominated for an Aye nomination. Basically a video to say why I am voting Yes for Scotland to be an Independent Nation. This came through about three days ago and is on the same lines as YesBecause and other “naming” activities. I am supposed to video this but as I not only dislike being in front of the camera, I prefer the spoken and written word. To all those No Voting friends and family you will remain just that unless you choose otherwise.
Recently we are seeing a Yes Vote becoming a possibility as opposed to a No Vote a probability, which looked the case until a couple of weeks ago. I have never thought of my vote as a party political instrument but as a peaceful tool to set up a nation, small and prosperous, but more importantly fair and just, something I see less and less as I go about my daily life. This campaign to assert ourselves, our beliefs and hopes has led me to think about how strange the Scottish mentality of “doffing the hat” to supposed superior wisdom. Whether this is at a local, national or international level we seem to have lost the confidence in believing we can do things for ourselves. Maybe it is part of our history of being constantly told we are unable to look after ourselves that over time we have come to believe it. My view of the debate has been heavily influenced by writers and journalists who over time have put their weight behind the Yes Campaign, people like Riddoch, Bateman, Hassan and McWhirter. On the No side all I have read is disaster, it won’t work, the oils running out we can’t have the pound, won’t be able to defend ourselves and it goes on and on and on. Their campaign has been based on fear and uncertainty but I do not understand how they are so certain that we will go down the pan if we vote Yes. The uncertainty of oil revenues cannot be more uncertain than those of the financial sector, 2008 is not that long ago.
There are many things that I disagree with what the SNP Govt has carried out. The National police force, armed officers in the Highlands is not something I want to see. However I am voting for Scotland and not the SNP, Labour or the near extinct Lib/Dems. I was listening to a debate on Radio Scotland on Friday as I was out fishing and there was disagreement from the Yes speakers, in this case over the currency, and this was jumped on as a bad thing. Completely missing the point of the whole campaign. I am voting Yes to decide what I feel will be right in my new country. The balance of all the things that may go wrong could be outweighed by so much more, Trident being shipped down the road, public services run in our national instead of shareholder interest, development of renewable energy instead of building ludicrously expensive nuclear power stations and returning local power to local people. An inspiring speech from another time but possibly even more relevant today is Jimmy Ried’s speech to the students at Glasgow Uni on 28th April 1972.
“Let’s gear our country to social need. not greed.” An aspiration worth following in itself but also he said “To measure social progress purely by material advance is not enough. Our aim must be the enrichment of the whole quality of life. It requires a social and cultural or, if you wish, a spiritual transformation of our country.” Also the much quoted “The untapped resources of the North Sea are as nothing to the untapped resources of our people”. There may be many people reassessing their neighbours potential if the polls are to believed this weekend.
He finished the speech by quoting Burns from a poem called “Why should we waste our prime…..”
“The golden age,we’ll then revive, each man will be a brother
In harmony we will all live and share the earth together,
In virtue trained enlightened youth shall love each fellow-creature,
And time will surely prove the truth that man is good by nature.”
In a way I see what is happening in Applecross as part of this new and developing belief that we can carry out the necessary work that will enable us rebuild our communities, to increase our capabilities, believe in ourselves. Like recreating a nation it will not be done without many difficulties. Current establishment never wants any deviation from their status quo. When our Community Company was set up there was a 2/1 vote for it with a high turn out. There has been many problems along the way of setting up and running a Filling Station, Public Toilets,Community Broadband Network and the ongoing financing and building the Community Hydro Scheme with local power usage. There is a changing attitude amongst residents here with more wood being harvested and burnt locally and upsurge in bike use to name but two green initiatives. Change happens all the time whether we notice it in the short term or not. One incident that will always stay with me is a conversation about three years ago in which the Charitable status of Applecross Community Company was discussed. It came up when we were discussing the potential earnings from the Hydro Scheme and it was suggested that we would not need to apply for charitable status as thee was a Charity already established and all the proceeds could go through this Charity and they would decide to give out the monies as and when they saw fit to when we needed funds. I have always thought that this attitude is so prevalent amongst our establishment. We cannot know or be trusted to do what is best for ourselves. Our national revenues are sent south and come back depending on the political views expressed at any one time. Whether more or less comes and goes is entering an interminable argument of statistics but misses the whole point of responsibility of looking after our own affairs. So on Friday, in a place where views are often kept to oneself, I raised my hopes on a makeshift flag pole and steamed for home.