Now is not the time? Or is it?

I don’t have a newspaper column to assert my views every week. So I need to make due with my wee blog here.

Today’s topic is Scottish independence. Should we wait? Should we push through now? What are the options? And how does the reality of Brexit impact on Scotland’s future? So much to contemplate. Unfortunately, with 29/03/19 less than 2 months away, so little time.

I will come clean from the start, I’m not notoriously a patient person. It’s not always a fantastic trait, but overall it has served me well in life. I’m a risk taker. It’s why I have lived in 8 different countries over 4 different continents in my life. I take chances. Does it always work out? No. But I am the person I am today because of all those life experiences. Personally I am proud of my life and accomplishments. Anyway that’s me. It’s not the route for everyone, I fully understand that fact.

Which means I come to the Scottish independence debate from the perspective of now is the time. I don’t see a reason to wait. What exactly are we waiting for anyway? The stars to align to show a clear path? I have heard that we need to wait until we have 60% support. Why? For one thing that may never happen. For another, since when do you wait until you have a super majority until you set a date for a vote? If we had that attitude in 2012, the 2014 independence referendum would never have happened. I genuinely find that logic absurd. Almost no campaign would ever get off the ground with that kind of prerequisite.

Then we have Brexit looming over us. In my opinion this changes every position for Scottish independence. I don’t believe you can put off an independence vote for too long, when you have the reality of food and medicine shortages being foisted upon us. Not to mention the great uncertainty that over 200,000 EU citizens have. These people call Scotland home. But as immigration is a reserved matter for Westminster, their ability to live and work here is now in serious jeopardy. Many of them will leave. And let’s face it, once they relocate and settle somewhere else, chances are they won’t return. So what are the pragmatic solutions to these issues? Well, I see Scottish independence as the only answer. Will it be easy? No, I don’t believe it will be. But nothing worthwhile in life, is ever easy. However, I do think it’s the necessary remedy to a Brexit imposed on us by our much bigger neighbours. Scotland didn’t vote for Brexit. In fact, the last poll for Remain in Scotland had support for the EU at 70%. We’re a very pro-European country, and we most definitely want to stay a part of the EU.

However as long as we remain a part of the UK, we will leave the EU. It probably would not matter if 90% of us in Scotland were pro-EU, because England most certainly wants to leave the EU. They have 90% of the UK population, so they will decide the outcome for all of us. That’s the reality of life in this “United” Kingdom.

Now there is only one way to remedy this obvious disparity in our future travel, and that is with our becoming a completely independent nation. We then can decide if we want to be a member of the EU or not. The people of Scotland can decide. Not the people of Leicestershire or Lincolnshire, but the people of East Lothian and Strathclyde.

I realise there is no simple route to independence. Personally I don’t envy the leadership of the SNP having to best navigate that course of action. But I do feel very strongly that if you wait too long, there won’t be another opportunity for a very long time. I have closely observed the actions of the UK government and opposition for a long time now. I believe they will both ensure that Scotland becomes ever more absorbed by Westminster. I do genuinely believe powers will be stripped from our own Scottish Parliament. They don’t strike me as the type of people who will want life to be better for Scots than for anyone in England. Let’s face it, the only way to ensure that fact is to make sure our own Scottish government has little power. I foresee a future where Scotland is forced to have £9000/year Uni fees, and high prescription charges. I also see our NHS will no longer be free at the point of need. This is what I believe our future holds for us.

So forgive me, if I don’t believe we have the luxury of waiting until the people of Morningside get fed up with waiting in long queues every time they travel to Europe. We need a clear path to independence now. Because without that, I am afraid Scotland’s future looks very bleak, indeed.

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McCringe- Part Deux

My piece on the Scottish cringe (which I originally penned in April, but seemed to only generate discussion last month) certainly struck a chord. Regardless of how you identified with my blog, it certainly instigated debate. That’s always a positive, in my book.

So here’s my follow up piece. I was pondering how to structure this article. But after a week or so, I became inspired. Here we go.

I’ve concluded that British Nationalists or Unionists as they seem to prefer being labelled are never going to shake off the cringe. It’s not because they want to abandon Scotland, but because they don’t see Scotland as anything other than an appendage of the UK. To them, everything of significance and pride emanates from London and moves outward. Scotland is just a small part of that. Not a place of influence, just a bit of land too far north for most people in London to really bother with it. This suits Brit Nats just fine.

I spend significant time on social media. Probably too much time. But one thing all those hours on Twitter has taught me is that a certain segment of the Scottish population genuinely have no allegiance to Scotland. They don’t care if Brexit destroys our economy. They don’t care if we run out of food or medicine. I’m not even sure if many of them care what kind of impact this will have on their own families. It’s bizarre, but take a casual online stroll around the accounts of the most outspoken Brit Nats. Whether they be Unionist politicians and journalists, wanna be economic gurus, or just anonymous trolls. They all share a common view, and that is whatever happens to Scotland, no matter how detrimental, it’s okay as long as we move in the same direction as the rest of the UK. Did you know these folk have circulated a petition to have the Scottish Parliament abolished? Yep, Scotland is just getting too big for her britches, and that wee “prentendy” Parliament is getting above her station.

Which leads me to a very different conclusion than how I felt last April. I genuinely believed we could help staunch British Nationalists see that Scotland had a brighter future with independence, and that ALL our decisions could be made in Scotland by the people who live and work here. But I was wrong. The Scottish cringe is a part of the very psyche of these people. They don’t have any individual Scottish indentity. I don’t imagine when (or if) they travel abroad they ever try to tell others that Scotland voted 62% to Remain in the EU. And that it was our much larger neighbour in England who decided we would leave the EU. Why? Because to them Scotland has no separate identity. They’re British not Scottish. They don’t see a different attachment to Europe here. As long as more voters in Sunderland say Europe is bad, then it must be so.

So I’ve removed the optimism and hope I had for these people. I’m not even angry with them. I just feel a strong sense of pity for them. I don’t for a moment understand what makes a person so compelled to be so dismissive of their homeland. But now I fully understand, Scotland is only the bit of land they happen to live on. The UK is their first and foremost allegiance. Whatever the government of Westminster decides (a government almost always chosen by our much larger neighbour) is fine. Food and medicine shortages. Oh well. It’s part of a shared heritage for them.

I no longer have the energy or inclination to want to change this view. But come April when food is scarce, do you imagine they tell their kids that hunger is price worth paying to stay part of this “great” United Kingdom?  Here my dear child, try some HP sauce on that union jack, it makes it a big easier to ingest.

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