I think it would be fair to say that the campaign for Scottish Independence has for one side been an invigorating, exciting, educational adventure in many ways. In my opinion, for the other side, it has been a frightening and horrible decent into lies and scaremongering of the worst kind ever seen in this country.
Whatever the result on Thursday things can’t be allowed to ever be the same again. What the YES movement and Better Together have shown us is that there is a war going on, its a war between an out of touch elite in Westminster, defended by 3 neo-conservative parties hell-bent on maintaining power at all costs, beholden to the rich, powerful and big business. While the other side has become a grass-roots, people and community led exciting vision of how things can be if we just reach out and take it. But what happens after Thursday either way?
For the 1 or 2 of you who have read my blog you will know that I have always considered myself a liberal. In fact I was planning on joining the local Liberal democrats after the referendum but that has all changed because of the fear, bullying and lies we have had to endure, particularly in the last week. I could never join a movement that holds people in such contempt, that the only way it can get it’s message across is through those methods, aided by the established media. So where do I go? There really is very little choice, the Liberal Democrats, the Conservatives and Labour are the same party now and they will never ever bring about the kind of change that a lot of us desire, they will not devolve power in any way that weakens their hold on it. Anyone who believes Gordon Brown is wrong, I’m sorry, but you are if you fall for his lies. The SNP is a left of centre party that I admit I was once briefly a member of, but are they willing to go far enough to bring about a fairer society, I’m not so sure they are. That led me to begin to look at the Scottish Socialist Party and the Greens, like all the parties they are far from perfect but they may well be worth considering. I must admit I agree with some of their vision:
•A basic state pension of £160 a week and the restoration of the link between pensions and earnings.
•Restoration of benefits to 16 and 17 year olds.
•The restoration of lone parent benefits slashed by Westminster
•A progressive tax system which will increase the top rate of taxation and reduce the tax burden on those on low incomes.
•An overhaul of disability benefits to remove means testing.
•The increase of all benefits by £30 a week with subsequent annual increases in line with inflation.
•The regulation of banks and building societies to outlaw the practice of charging customers to access their own money, and charging customers who exceed their agreed overdraft limit, with refunds backdated five years.
•The protection of public sector pension schemes.
•Carers Allowance to be replaced with the national minimum hourly wage rate.
•Rigorous new laws to prevent big business avoiding legitimate taxation.
•A new corporate tax regime which forces Scotland’s most profitable companies to pay their fair share of taxation, at least to Nordic levels.
•A two tier VAT system, with luxury goods taxed at 20 per cent and VAT on all other goods reduced from 20 per cent to its 1979 level of 8 per cent.
•Public ownership of North Sea oil with the profits used for the benefit of the people rather the profiteers.
•A socialist Scotland that will stand up to the forces of neo-liberalism and the free market.
•The establishment of a democratically run Scottish National Oil Corporation to take over the North Sea oilfields, with the profits used for public investment, including in renewable energy.
•The extension of public ownership into profitable sectors of the economy, including the banks and financial institutions.
•New forms of public ownership which reject top down nationalisation in favour of democratic management involving workers, communities, consumers and representatives of local and national government.
That is a flavour of the SSPs vision and one that I suspect many of us would agree with. There are parts that I suspect would be extremely difficult to achieve but the aspiration is worth it all the same. I have already decided that after Thursday the SSP will get my vote whatever happens. We can talk about a new Labour Party, Liberal and even Tory parties in Scotland but will they change enough, will they be that different from their sisters in the remainder of the UK in the event of an independent Scotland. The thought of Jim Murphy, Margaret Curran, Danny Alexander etc returning to Scottish political life is enough to make me sick to my stomach to be honest. They have betrayed us all and we should never ever allow them a platform in a future Scottish Parliament.
The change that we require is radical, it will involve a great deal of soul-searching, of putting to one side our individual needs and to take on board that we have an obligation to the rest of our fellow citizens. The recession that we are still going through, caused by the politicians, the banks and their friends has created hardship for the many to rival the hardship and devastation of the 80s. While at the same time the people who caused it, the politicians and the bankers have seen their earnings grow, their pensions grow, and in the case of Brown and Darling their private income from talking shit around the world.
If anything the YES movement is a rejection of the status quo, it is a rejection of limited powers being granted as some form of gift from the few to control the many. For myself the last 3 years have educated me, have forced me to think about my values, my beliefs and the future, not just in Scotland but the UK and wider world. Labour talk about the best of both worlds but most of us know that it is a lie, it is a way for the few to retain as much as possible at the expense of the many. We cannot and should not allow that state of affairs to continue, in fact this battle taking place in Scotland right now is an ideological one. It is about what power is, who it should serve and what it should mean to all of us. Irrespective of the result on Friday morning we cannot and should not accept anything less than change that benefits us all, change that means those with the most have to accept that they have a responsibility to those with the least, not just in Scotland but everywhere.
This change will require us all to not back down, to not let up and to make a choice as to how we go about it. Some might try to take control of the parties they once or currently support, but as we have seen that will probably never succeed. This has led me to this point, if we truly want change then we are going to have to look to the other movements in Scotland, movements such as the SSP and the Greens are showing us that there can be an alternative vision that maybe allows us all to become stakeholders in our futures. We will have to think out the box and we will have to be brave, I know that I have had enough of the poverty, the unemployment, the foodbanks and a life where you are told to want things like iPhones and that is what will make you content. I have an iPhone, it doesn’t make you content at all.
They are just things that we have been brainwashed to believe are signs that everything is ok, they are not. Lets not lose the ambition that so many are fighting for right now and lets never allow the politicians to put us back in our box until they do enough harm to annoy us again and again give us a couple of crumbs to shut us up.
My vote from now on goes to the people who offer us real change, they are not perfect, their vision is not utopia but their vision is different, it offers a different way, it offers an opportunity to break free from a system that has made us all poorer, made us all dumber and more afraid than we have ever been. We are not here to serve the politicians and the wealthy, the politicians are here to serve us and the wealthy need to be made to understand that their days of taking advantage of us are over. They have been given huge advantages in life and need to learn that with those advantages comes great responsibility.
From now on I’m voting for change, the kind of change that the 3 Tory parties can never bring about. Maybe you need to think about your vote also after Thursday. If you have gotten to the end of this long blog then I thank you and would love to hear your opinion.