Reluctant YES

I was speaking briefly to a friend yesterday who said he was a reluctant yes voter but feels very reluctant to leave the North of England to the ravages of Conservatives, I have actually heard this a few times and I totally understand the sentiment.

You won’t be surprised however to see that I don’t accept it as a reason to vote no. In my lifetime Scotland has always voted Labour in Westminster elections in the main, yeah there is normally around nine Liberal Democrat MPs and six or seven SNP MPs but in the main Scotland elects Labour for UK elections. In all that time, 45 years, I have seen three recessions, no real improvement in life expectancy, high unemployment masked by fiddles to the way it is measured, high child, adult and elderly poverty, diminishing public services to name a few. In around 30 of those 45 years I have been governed by Conservative governments that I did not vote for or Scotland voted for, my vote simply does not matter.

Now some will argue that devolution has made things better and in some ways it has but it hasn’t in many ways and never can be enough. Yes we have control over health, education, some transport etc but this is based on the amount of money we receive from Westminster within the Barnett formula. Now the Barnett formula is very complicated but basically if England cut health funding we receive a cut in the Scottish budget, if England cuts education spending we receive a cut in the Scottish budget. So while we might control how we spend the money we have in the these areas, in reality Westminster does as it can cut the Scottish budget simply be funding their own services in different ways, cutting them or privatising them. More recently we have seen massive investment being announced on high-speed rail and the London sewer system, in the past we would receive an adjustment up as they were seen as spending so would affect Barnett but what you have now, under both Labour and Tory governments is these projects being named national projects, so while our taxes contribute to paying for them we actually receive no financial benefit in any shape or form. The historical story of our taxes flowing South to fund parts of mainly England continues after 300 years.

But what does this have to with the north of England, well it does as it demonstrates that leaving English voters to vote for the parties they believe in, as they always have, will not be changed by Scotland leaving the political union with the rest of the UK. Our votes rarely have anything to do with the make up of a Westminster Government, take our votes away and the Governments for the last 100 years at least would have remained the same. English voters , as the larger populated country, decide who we get as our Government. That cannot continue anymore, the days of our vote not counting have to stop, leaving the north to the Conservatives is a choice that English voters already take with or without us. Remaining within the current system for sentimental reasons is not good enough, if we truly want to protect our children, do things a different way, have the government we voted for and get rid of nuclear weapons then you have to vote yes.

I actually believe our voting for independence is the best thing that can ever happen to England, our leaving the UK will encourage England and its people to have their own conversation about how they want to be governed, if they are happy to continue to be dominated by a London and elitist government and parties that is their choice to make, we have an opportunity to make a different choice and on this I will be leaving all sentiment behind when I cast my vote.

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10 comments

  1. Pingback: Reluctant YES | pictishbeastie
  2. Anonymous

    not last 100 years as 1974 government relied on the scottish vote, while I agree with what you are saying you need to make sure it is correct.

    • grumpyscottishman

      Anon

      1974 was a weird one because there were 2 elections , while in election 2 Wilson had a majority of 3 including Scottish seats he was always on the whim of the other minority parties who privided backing also. If they hadn’t then the Scottish votes would have made no impact. Hope that helps.

      1974 Minority Labour govt (Wilson)
      ————————————————
      Labour majority: -33
      Without Scottish MPs: -50
      POSSIBLE CHANGE – LABOUR MINORITY TO CONSERVATIVE MINORITY
      (Without Scots: Con 276, Lab 261, Lib 11, Others 16)

      1974b Labour govt (Wilson/Callaghan)
      —————————————————–
      Labour majority: 3
      Without Scottish MPs: -8
      CHANGE: LABOUR MAJORITY TO LABOUR MINORITY
      (Lab 278 Con 261 Lib 10 others 15)

      Thanks for commenting.

      Bruce

  3. Helena Brown

    As someone who does not like having her politics dictated to her I think that it is wise to allow others to do the same. It is not right for people in Scotland to make decisions for those across the border,

  4. YESGUY

    Interesting piece and i have to confess to being a reluctant YES voter too , to begin with. Once i made up my mind to vote YES i took my time to look for as much info as i could get. This is an important decision. Funnily enough after accepting my voting preference i found much to help me re-inforce my view. Now when i look back i think, “how could i have been convinced NO was the right vote”

    As for the sympathy for the North of England , it’s still there but you have to ask , why don’t they do something about it too. They were offered devolution and turned it down. You can take a horse to water……….

    I now see the indi debate as a huge change in the political landscape in Scotland and when we win we can show NE that there is another way. There is still voter apathy down south , whilst here its everyday talk. The Scottish public are engaging in debate and see a choice that was not there before. Sadly our northern friends don’t see it. I feel pity as well as a little anger and its fair to say i worry more for my family and friends down south more than i worry about what independence Scotland will bring.

    Great piece Grumpy , am sure many will feel the same.

    • grumpyscottishman

      Yesguy

      Thanks for commenting. I agree, I also fear for people in the North of England but as you say they have their choice. I also fear a no vote like you won’t believe, if people bottle it we will really be in a world of pain. Another friend said to me that if there was no oil England would have voted for independence in the 80s . I have a lot of sympathy for that view although its about democracy for me even if I end up a little worse off.

      Bruce

    • Helena Brown

      Yes Guy, I had so many people from there asking that we extend the border as far as Leeds, one time. Unfortunately as I said, England is England and we have no wish for more land. Time for them to make their wishes clear. I suggested setting up their own Party, after all did they think we did this in a day. So did, that is the trouble, many know nothing of Scotland or of the desire which has been here as I said elsewhere today since the ink was still wet on the treaty we are working to get out of.
      I think we have done all that was asked in remaining in it so long. Internationalism requires that you are at first looking after your own nation, once that is secure, no reason not to help out, but making decisions for others, that is a no no.

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