Some blogs and on-line news sites have discussed what they feel a no vote means but have kind of looked at this from national perspectives rather than a personal perspective. I thought I would look at this from my own perspective both individually and nationally.
First of all a NO vote will mean that we retain our current system of election in UK wide elections, First past the post can give you skewed results as we saw in 2010. This system can work where there are only two parties competing but when you have multiple parties it means that say the Greens can get the majority of votes but the least amount of seats, in Scotland that could mean the SNP get more votes but six seats as they have now. First past the post also results in the electorate voting for a party they would not normally vote for to keep another party out and also that many people who didn’t vote for the winning candidate are then not represented.
We have also seen in recent years Labour change boundaries to favour themselves, the Tories did this in the 80s and are trying again now. Minority parties always tend to lose out in this system, while that is a good thing for the likes of the BNP, it is not a good thing for democracy. The other issue, one which is prevalent in Scotland, is that your vote really doesn’t count. At the last election we were told vote Labour to keep the Tories out. As we saw this did not happen but was also just the same old lie from the 80s. The simple fact is that it really doesn’t matter who we vote for in Scotland, unless we return all SNP MPs who will represent Scottish interests and cause a bit of bother our vote really doesn’t matter. If the South of England and London want Tory we get Tory and that’s that. So a NO vote doesn’t mean more democracy it means more of the same or even less.
David Cameron(Tory), Douglas Alexander(Labour) and Wee Willie Rennie(Liberal) have all said that if Scotland votes NO then they will look at how devolution works and make it better. What they all refuse to do is to discuss in any detail what this might look like, they are asking you to trust them. They are also sniping at the SNP for not engaging in a debate on if Scotland votes NO. Now my question to you is will you trust them? I don’t trust them in any shape or form. First they hid the report from McCrone regarding the impact of the discovery of North Sea Oil. This was done by Labour/Conservatives to stop the SNP and keep Scotland shackled to an unequal union. They lied in 1979 when they rigged a referendum to stop a Scottish Assembly, again Labour/Conservatives colluded to ensure that Scotland remained part of the empire and dependent on Westminster. More recently they have lied about Scotland’s place in Europe, they have lied about Scotland’s economy when it loses its AAA status under the UK(already gone), they have lied about the amount of jobs linked to Trident, they have lied about the amount of troops to be based in Scotland while centralising the UK military might in England, they lied about Rosyth in favour of Devonport. A NO vote for me means more lies from the Tories, Labour and the Liberals to keep us down and them in their positions of grandeur, their nice expenses and their access to their retirement plan called the House of Lords.
The NHS. Now I am not as romantic about the NHS as some are but totally accept that in a civilized country the provision of health care at the point of need is vital and the decent thing to do with our tax monies. I also accept that there is only so much money so services are not always what we want them to be. We are told by the Better Together Campaign that the NHS in Scotland will not be safe in an independent Scotland but what they fail to even discuss is that it is at it’s most perilous now. NHS reforms in England right now and the move to privatisation of many parts of it will have a huge impact on our ability to fund healthcare. Our ‘ pocket-money ‘ for health is decided by the Barnett Formula. While I really don’t understand all the in and outs of the system, basically I think it means that we get a percentage of the total amount spent in England based on population. If charges and fees are raised in England and less money spent due to privatisation then the net effect is that Scotland receives less money. So while the Scottish Government are responsible for health they have to respond to policy in England which in many ways dictates what policy will be in Scotland due to less financial support coming our way in our pocket money. What this means democratically is that we actually do not control our health policy but maybe 70% of it. Therefore it is not safe in the UKs hands at all but the BT campaign don’t want you to understand that or even discuss it.
Social Security not Welfare(thanks Dean for that point a while back). Social security is not controlled in any way by the Scottish Parliament right now although crisis loans are to be devolved to local authorities with less money available. Anyway we have all seen the attacks on the poorest over the last couple of years. The shift to the right and the propaganda machine that has seen the working poor turned against the poor, disabled and elderly has been a campaign that would have made Hitler proud. The debate right now is about attacking the weakest in our their so called ‘ we are all in it together mantra ‘. While it is possibly appropriate to review the overall cost of social security and see where we can target resources better this has to be done within a wider discussion on taxation, where the burden lies, how proportionate it is to a person income and what is decent.
I would argue that in times of great need the burden has to fall on those with the broadest shoulders as they are also the ones who have benefitted most from this country, either through success or inherited wealth. I am not against people keeping most of the money they earn but really how much does a person need. People like most of the Cabinet are worth Millions, even Milliband is a millionaire, get large tax breaks that are in a year what some earn in a lifetime. Is that fair? Right now people are living in food poverty, fuel poverty, income poverty, housing poverty, health inequality and the list goes on. The bedroom tax is social cleansing at its worst, they attacks on the disabled to allegedly encourage them to work is a sham. It’s about taking money from the poor to support the rich. We are seeing the most controversial re-distribution of wealth in my lifetime. The opposition and BT in Scotland are trying to convince you, with the help of the BBC and mainstream media, that the Scottish Government should be doing more when in fact they have no powers to do anything. The power lies with Westminster, the power lies with the three parties Conservative, Liberal Conservative and New New Labour Conservative. Do you really trust these people with your future or to take care of you and yours when you need it? A NO vote will mean a return to Victorian Scotland, a NO will result in food banks and the poor house in every city and do not let them tell you that it is rubbish it is not, look around you now.
I appreciate that I have been prattling on so want to finish with a wee flurry on the Royal Family. This is where I totally disagree with the SNP but accept that it is not something we have to deal with right now. This unelected family , along with the House of Shame(Lords) mean we will forever be looking to the past of the class system. As long as we have this outdated and undemocratic system we will always be told we are second class, that we should mind our manners and bow to our betters. This family and system mean that aspiration only goes so far in this country and that your child is lower and less important than their child. A NO vote will continue this in justice while a YES vote will allow us to force the discussion and for the people to decide in the longer term who is our head of state, not an accident of birth.