Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Free My People!

If I had to pick a heritage I identify with, it would be Scottish. I don't mean that I would pick that out of a hat - I am definitely substantially Scottish by descent. What I mean is that I feel more Scottish than I do English - though I have English ancestors as well. Or, I should say, perhaps I am Viking by way of Scotland.

I am not going to attempt to put  a veneer of rationality over these feelings. I will say that when I visited the United Kingdom my time in Scotland was constantly wonderful and my time in England - while overall worthwhile and probably on the whole enjoyable - was riddled with disasters large and small. Plus the average daytime high while I was in London was probably around 30 and the daytime high in Edinburgh was never higher than 17. Also, my clan is ancient rivals with the McPhearsons.

So even though I have very little stake in the matter and I wouldn't want to speak on behalf of actual people living in Scotland, I do feel like tomorrow it is my people who are voting for their independence. And with that, I feel like they are voting for their freedom.

The United Kingdom is a really rotten place with a horrible political class and an ever-increasing police state. They've got detention without charges, secret courts for rich people, pretty much no freedom of assembly or expression, and ubiquitous surveillance. They are really deep into the idea of passing absurd to draconian laws to police the internet. They are still a deeply classed society.

The United Kingdom has some things going for it, but it seems like Scotland has those things going for it as well. I feel like independence is the best option to get away from the maniacs who run things in London.

But also, I don't think independence is nearly as big a deal as everyone is trying to make it out to be. In an objective way it is a really big deal, but the changes in the day-to-day lives of both English and Scottish people wouldn't be that large after an initial period of upheaval. Where there were large changes in Scotland it would probably be because that's what the Scottish people voted for.

In 1995 when Canada nearly lost Quebec in a similar referendum, our federal government painted the separatists as monsters trying to destroy the country instead of sitting down at a table and saying, "So what is all of this about, why do you want to separate?" It feels like we back then our federal government could have had a constructive conversation with the leaders of Quebec so that both parties could understand what it was that the other wanted to achieve. Imagine what you'd like the country to look like five years in the future then mutually determine if that is best accomplished by independence or within the existing structure.

That kind of, "What do we want and how can we get there?" type of thinking is obviously expecting a lot from people who are in charge of running countries.

But the reality is that in London a couple of days ago a rally to try to convince Scots to vote "No" had about two-thousand people present. Bob Geldof and Eddie Izzard both spoke at that rally. If either of those two people had charged tickets to a performance they could get a similar number of people to buy $100 tickets in any major city in the UK or North America, but between them they could only get that many to come see them for free when it was about Scottish independence. Maybe this just isn't as big a deal as David Cameron and others would suddenly like us to believe it is.

No comments:

Post a Comment