Sorry England, it’s a Yes from me
ZACK HASSAN is sick of your Southern politics. Here’s why he’s voting Yes.
“What, you’re going?” “WHY?!” “What did we DO?”
Seemingly England has just choked on their muffins in realisation that Scots might want to make their own political decisions about Scotland.
The cliché is that Scotland has voted Labour in every post-war election but suffered Tory-led governments for half those years. But Westminster is anti-democratic in other ways.
It’s not just the Lords, Cash for Honours and Expenses: the voting system means that even when Labour gets into power, it is not because Scotland voted for it. First-past-the-post intrinsically biases towards a two-party system, which become inevitably more identical as they appeal to centrist, swing voters.
And there is no swing in Scotland. So it is no surprise that in 69 years of Westminster rule, Scottish votes changed the largest party only once, in 1974.
Why would we agree to that arrangement? Why, when the AMS system in Holyrood is representative and accountable (by political standards, pure sex), and coalitions force parties to adopt common-sense policies everyone can agree on rather than successive ideological reorganisations?
But many say, “We can have social justice without leaving.” Or Owen Jones’ version: “We must stay united to change the country.” However, this ignores the fact Scottish and English politics is diverging.
A lot of students voting No do so to prevent “divisive politics,” and “Nationalism.” The words holds the same vague, irrational sense of complete unholy evil as “socialism” in America.
It’s ironic, because Holyrood never draws on identity politics. It draws on Scotland’s collectivism.
Free university education, anti-bedroom tax payments, removing NHS charges, and land reform stand in stark contrast to austerity and corporate welfare. People ask me why the current devolution isn’t enough. The real question is how could we not want more of it?
Meanwhile, UKIP’s rise guarantees that British politics will resemble the worse kind of nationalism more than Holyrood ever could. Westminster stresses benefit thievery, not tax-dodging. Immigration, not job creation.
Those politics entrench establishment, widen wealth gaps and shrink social mobility.
I find it tragic when national left-wing forces ask us to stay; what will energise them is Scotland walking away from institutions, not incrementally coaxing them.
Having a smaller voice that says good things is far more practical than being complicit in the bad language of a large one.
But No voters mostly agree with this. The main argument for Union is not its credibility, but the uncertainty of leaving.
Concerns over daft currency ideas, oil price and the emigration of business fuel this.
But there is equal uncertainty with a No vote. Will the UK leave the EU? Will budget cuts force Holyrood into austerity?
The short answer is the economic arguments of both sides are leakier than an outbreak of diarrhoea aboard the Titanic. Every single fact is disputed and amid the arse-spraying mayhem an informed decision is impossible.
But unlike No voters, I no longer wish to accept political injustices to gratify the stock market. Engorging bankers’ bonuses while food banks multiply and students are laden with debt, then saying that it is the way things have to be for economic prosperity? It is an Orwellian hypocrisy.
After the vote, Scotland’s productivity will not have changed.
Though the stock market may fluctuate, it is absurd that businesses would abandon jobs they are making profit on. Evidence of wealth in recession is everywhere: the number of billionaires in India doubled in 2009. The pound’s wobble was not genuine concern for Scotland, but rather fear of existing power structures being challenged.
If corporations cannot see they would still profit in an independent Scotland, then it makes it arduous for me to give my tacit approval to their current exploitative economic system.
Though it will not be immediately rosy, a proposed cut in corporation tax waits to reward the entrepreneurs that are waiting to create jobs in any gaps business leaves.
Even if Scotland is worse off, the freedom (THERE, I SAID IT! Bite me, Braveheart!) to address economic inequality without an austerity agenda or the City of London’s influence outweighs the potential harms for many.
Scotland is only Westminster’s priority during crises. David Cameron once refused devo max, trying to drive away undecided voters from independence. Only when the City of London reacted badly were concessions offered, and even then they were diluted.
Westminster will offer as little as possible for our compliance, insensitive to Scottish voters’ real wishes: social justice and fair democracy.
So while I do not exactly wish to leave the UK, I won’t politically soft-soaped into endorsing its treatment of students, the disabled and the poor.
I appreciate Union, but I won’t be economically blackmailed into thanking it for austerity.
My vote as a student matters now in a way it might never under Westminster.
I’m voting Yes.