My Politics are Changing? My Journey Evolving.

The last 12 months has seen a rise in the populist right in Scotland, in the United Kingdom, and across the World. This rise of populism and the polarisation of the arguments in Scotland to basically Yes v No, SNP v Conservative and Yoonionist Party, has resulted in myself becoming increasingly frustrated with the slow creep towards independence although I do understand the approach that many in the YES movement have.

However, a friend pointed out today that he has detected a shifting in my politics recently and the more I think about it the more I think he is correct. My journey began at around 16 years old when I attended one Scottish Socialist Workers Party meeting at the Central Library in Dundee. This then got me interested, and growing up in what was Thatcher’s Britain, I started to become more and more concerned with equality, fairness, protecting the most vulnerable and providing a help up to the people who needed it most. This eventually led to me becoming a Community Educator after serving my time as a Gardener/Greenkeeper, but my loathing of injustice just grew and grew.

Around 2013 I joined the SNP as I wanted to express my support for independence and my rejection of Westminster, which I had been rejecting my whole adult life. I never became active in the SNP, I never actually attended even one meeting and decided to end my membership when the party brought in all women short lists and consolidated candidate selection at the National Executive level, one consolidated power and the other discriminated on the flawed argument of gender equality, my 6 months as a member came to an end, didn’t really bother me and I wouldn’t imagine the SNP noticed all that much.

During this time my views and beliefs were developing and I was gaining a better understanding of where I stood, I believe in individual freedoms, I believe in the re-distribution of wealth and I believe that the state has a role to improve people’s lives and protect the dignity and well-being of those less fortunate be it through circumstances or age. I believe that decision making should be taken at the lowest point where appropriate and I believe in proportional representation. Not really radical, many people share these same beliefs all over the world. This led me to join the Liberal Democrats in June 2015 believing that my liberal beliefs should find a home within the party, what I found was a party with some fantastic people in the main but a political leadership that were very far from liberal in most respects and that membership lasted two months.

In the last 20 months we have seen the slow re-emerging of the Tories in Scotland, supported by the mainstream media and the defection of many Labour voters to the Tories. This rise and the risk of a Conservative Government with an untouchable majority at Westminster in June will see the UK slip further and further to the right. It is becoming increasingly clear that we might become a tax haven for the wealthy, a greater rise in corporate power, the continued erosion of social security for the most vulnerable and poorest people in our communities. We may lose our rights, the NHS in England is creeping towards privatisation which will have a huge impact on the budget of the Scottish Government, everything many people feared is sadly coming to pass.

So this leads me to where am I now, well my beliefs are still the same but I am leaning more towards a more left of centre, some might think, view of policies and ideas I support. I looked at all the manifestos for the council elections and found that I agreed with some of the SNP one but found that I was finding more common ground in the ideas of participatory budget setting for local councils, more affordable local transport, cheaper rents, protecting green spaces, protecting services etc. The surprise for me was that these ideas weren’t coming from the SNP or the Scottish Labour Party but they were coming from the Scottish Green Party. I have always given the Greens my list vote for Holyrood in all the Scottish Parliament elections I have voted in but had never really looked at them in any great detail. I have also broadly supported environmental issues, regeneration and greater devolution at the local level but was very surprised to find the common ground we shared.

I remain a committed YES voter and that is the main issue for myself and it always will be but I don’t think we can continue with the slow creep as we are overtaken by populism and the right, the SNP have won the council elections today and I am glad of that but it will be portrayed as a defeat by the yoon media and the message will be attacked from all sides so now is not the time to take baby steps, it’s time to think in different ways, not to sit in the centre hoping for a breakthrough as the right continue to build momentum through their lies and deceit to the electorate. It;s bad enough we get too poor, too wee and too stupid at every turn but when that message starts to gain traction we need to seriously consider going for it and making it very clear what we stand for, surprisingly for me that has led me to the manifesto of the Scottish Greens. For some this might be a lost cause but they might just be the party of the left, the real social liberals in Scotland.

I’m changing, I’m becoming more impatient and getting older. My world view is changing as I am assaulted by the right wing messages we all face on a daily basis, I am rejecting the middle and moving back to the left of my youth. I now see that we are in the fight of our lives and we really need to stand up. It might be time for people to consider a more left agenda, for the members of the SNP to move the party further from the centre and more to the left, for every one of us to consider what we want in our country and surely that has to be more than hoping for things to change by themselves, they won’t, they will get worse as the Tories and their far right take away more of our rights and consolidate their power.

I’m changing, my views are adapting, my understanding growing. But my patience is running out so maybe, just maybe, we all need to consider a more radical approach.

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11 comments

  1. daviddrawsandpaints

    I would urge more patience and determined focus on the prize, Bruce.
    I’m sure you will agree that we will achieve nothing without full independence and it won’t (unfortunately) fall into our laps. There are still far too many Scots who are feart/self absorbed, especially old buddies (our contemporaries), and need to be enlightened. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for a bold approach but I am happy to support the political nous of Nicola and bide my time. Slowly, slowly, cathchee monkee!

    Also, while I too am of an environmental bent I am not entirely convinced by the Greens that, when shove comes to push, they are for independence unequivocally.

    We all need to keep growing politically. My journey is, unlike yours, unencumbered by party loyalty. I prefer to keep myself pure in thought and deed (yes, that is a halo you see above my head) and stand aloof from party machinations though I do contribute from the outside to the SNP’s Fighting Fund. They are our best hope and the vehicle to our self-determination.

    We will get there eventually I’m sure but we need a steely determination that overcomes. Keep up the good fight,
    DAVID

    • grumpyscottishman

      David
      I totally understand the different approaches but I really do think time is running out,I really do. I don’t have a lot of issues with the SNP to be fair and Nicola S is far more astute than I’ll ever be but there is a fear in me that can see it pass us by as the narrative changes to more fear and blame. I think we might have to become more radical so that we are clear in our direction, I just happen to like a lot of Green Policies but I am not about to join them. I’ve had two disappointments with party membership that I can’t see myself joining another, I’m just not the follower kind and don’t seek a role in politics at all other helping out in the next ref and doing my little blog. I learn a lot from blogging and get to speak my mind without having to care what someone in are party thinks.

      Thanks for commenting.
      Bruce
      Excuse any typos as I am using phone.

  2. TheStrach

    No political party can accommodate any one person’s total desires and beliefs. I support the SNP because they are the only party which believes in independence above everything else.

    We can’t achieve the fairer society you want without winning independence and we can’t achieve independence without the SNP. Voting for the Greens in the General Election is a wasted vote as they are not able to win any seats because of the unfair electoral system.

    I’d like independence tomorrow but we don’t yet have the numbers. I can well understand your fears but I think the Brexit fallout will deliver a majority for independence. We have to wait for that before the big push for independence.

    • grumpyscottishman

      TheStrach
      I don’t think they can either and I am not saying people should vote Green I am thinking more about the possibility that we might need to be more radical in our ideas. As the country moves far right should we be looking at clear ground as in policies. Independence is the main aim for me as I totally agree we cannot make things better without it so maybe playing less safe is the way to go.

      Thanks for time to comment.
      Bruce

  3. Sianna MacDonald

    Couldn’t agree more. The reasons we’re given for patience and waiting (for what?) have run out, each day under Tory rule brings more and more atrocities, and whilst I feel sorry for those in England who hate Tory policy every bit as much as many in Scotland do, England voted clearly and I’m sitting here wondering why, when Scotland habitually votes against such policy and dictat, we are STILL under Westminster rule and STILL without self determination. I’m famous among my friends for my lack of patience, my longing for independence so fierce it’s pretty much a constant ache. I believe it’s justified. My husband is an EU national and permanently disabled, a doubly whammy to the Tories. We’re sitting here waiting for that Home Office letter and no matter how much the SNP tell us they have our backs, recent news stories bely that. With families being “evicted” from Scotland due to Tory xenophobia, we’re wondering when our turn will come. And Scotland are, right now, powerless to stop that. So speakiong for self alone here, I’m backing off from it all until/if we hold ScotRef and even then, with issues such as Idox postal vote counting, I wonder why when I’ve repeatedly raised concerns over vote count procedure it goes ignored by ScotGov. Until then though? Done with it all. I think politics is Britain is so skewed, so undemocratic, and we are all so cowed nothing is changing, so that even when an entire nation votes, nothing changes…if we don’t achieve independence soon, Scotland will be renamed North Britain and we’ll deserve all we get. And me? I’m too damn auld to thole that for long. For as long as there are folks like my husband, or the disabled, poor and vulnerable continuing to suffer under Tory policy and mismanagement, Scotland is beginning to feel very like a lost cause. I’ll vote Yes, I always have and always will. But am beginning to think nothing will change in what’s left of my lifetime, unless it’s to simply get worse. 21st C Scotland, 1984 reality, and it’s here already.

    • Bruce Hosie

      Sianna
      I must admit I am concerned with the slow creep, I hate the Tories and the yoon media, but their constant drip drip of fear and hate is taking hold and while many think this will in the end help the yes side I am not so sure. They are doing this deliberately because a) they are bastards and b) they know that the more they drag us down to their level they can portray us as the bad guys plus and as you say every day brings more atrocities, which they spit in our faces by saying if you don’t like it change it but we will keep the big powers and it’s a big f you.

      I can understand your worry about your husband, my wife is from Ghana and when the Tories won a couple of years ago we decided to pay the not small sum to pay for her to get British Citizenship as we just did not trust them, but it cost a small fortune even though my wife had been in the UK since she was 12 years old. I totally hate them.

      Thanks for commenting.

      Bruce

  4. Lanark

    I like the Greens, one of the reasons being that they are republicans. Like others, I wish they were more committed to independence. If they were, I’d join them.

    Stay patient, but the future looks scary unless we get out.

    • Bruce Hosie

      Lanark
      Patience gets harder and harder when I see what these bastards are doing everyday, and many so called Labour vote for them, the angrier I get the more I just want Labour to die as a party, scumbags and worse than the Tories because they would rather vote for a flag of shame than do what is right.

      Thanks for commenting.

      Bruce

  5. Grafter

    Don’t buy MSM rags and stop paying for a ridiculous TV licence. Actions speak louder than words.

    • grumpyscottishman

      Grafter
      I don’t buy papers other than the occasional National and I wish I could give up the TV, however wife would kill me. I am though starting to move more left and getting more impatient the longer it goes.

      Thanks for commenting.
      Bruce

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