This year, in September, Scotland will vote as to whether it should gain independence from the United Kingdom.
Save for retweeting some people who’s take I find particularly interesting, I’ve been relatively quiet regarding my own views on Independence, but with the referendum looming, I think that it’s important to share one’s views on the matter as with only a couple of months to go, a large percentage of voters are still undecided.
There’s been a lot of propaganda on both sides of the fence — the “yes” side try desperately to paint a beautiful picture of a successful picture, rarely providing the evidence for such a future; the “no” side use scare-tactic and threats of a restrictive border.
It’s not surprising to me that so many people are still undecided: there are so few facts to base the decision on.
I am pro-independance. I wasn’t always, though: around this time last year, I was pro-union.
There are several reasons that I’ve since changed my viewpoint. Most of which are stemmed in optimism and naïveté.
In the last year, the Edward Snowdon leaks brought to light the far reaching extent of the UK government’s surveillance programs. The government has laid the groundwork to censor the Web. It sold off the national Postal Service, and would like to privatise other public services such as the NHS. The “bedroom tax” and other policies are harming some of the most vulnerable people. There’s also the growing support in the UK Parliament for parties that want to do away with the Human Rights Act, deny Global Warming, and espouse generally xenophobic and bigoted views — a support that (for the most part) isn’t mirrored north of the border.
[Update: It’s also now come to light that the UK Government are trying to force a bill through parliament that would allow for the type of mass data collection/retention that the EU courts deemed illegal.]
It’s optimism and naïveté.
I hope that an a Scottish government would do better. I hope that a Scottish Government will do away with the UK Government’s censorship of the Web. That it would be transparent about the reaches of it’s security programs, and would respect the privacy of it’s citizens. That it wouldn’t put undue stain on the poorest and most vulnerable. That it would keep vital public services in the service of the public, rather than shareholders. I hope that an independent Scotland would continue to support cultural diversity.
I don’t know if it will. But I hope.
With the limited devolved powers the Scottish Government does have, it’s already doing huge amounts of good. A limited example would be Scottish education: not only are students at Scottish universities not required to pay tuition fees or graduate endowment charges, but Scottish Universities are consistently ranked among the best in the world.
Independence, to me, isn’t about an Braveheart-ian wish for “Freedom”, as I think some people see it. It’s about Scotland getting a Government that represents the views of our country: something that’s not possible when Scotland only votes for about 8% of the people in power.