I just want the tribalism to stop

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by Elaine C. Smith

As Chair of the Independence Convention I have the honour of kicking off our series of “election blogs” which will run from now until the Scottish elections in May.  All of us to a man and woman in the SIC have become more and more frustrated, disgusted, and dismayed at the level of political and intellectual debate on the issues that affect Scotland, constitutionally, emotionally and economically.

In all of our media, from TV and radio to tabloid and broadsheet, it feels like the debate and discourse has been reduced to that of a sound bite, a few pictures and a reductive by-line.  Surely things should and could be better?

The fear of journalists and editors alike (and not just in the totally pro-Union papers, which sadly does mean almost all of them) when it comes to Scotland’s future, is palpable.  Confusion, ignorance and bias abound and that is very frustrating for anyone who wants self determination for Scotland.  But thanks have to go out to some journalists like Iain MacWhirter for making me personally feel sane of a Sunday morning and help me to realise that I do not actually live in a parallel universe.  I don’t mind a good fight with any arch Unionist, having respect for their beliefs and principles, but why can’t the argument be a decent and informed one.

It suits Labour in Scotland to keep the debate in the run up to the election to be about Westminster politics and not about the Scottish Parliament.  It was a ploy which worked well for them in Glenrothes and in the UK election so the plan will, I am sure, be to continue in the same vein with the electorate hoodwinked into thinking that by voting Labour they will be delivering some sort of a blow to the Coalition.  We know it won’t … if there is any blow then it will, I believe, be another in a long line of self inflicted wounds that the Scottish electorate have given to themselves by voting for what they believe to be socialist principles but instead getting corruption, cronyism and neglect in return.

Fifty years of Labour rule, councillors, MSPs and MPs, in my neck of the woods here in Glasgow have done little for those who need it most … the poor, the elderly, the sick and the unemployed.  Shame on them all …

I just want the tribalism to stop and for people to see what is really being offered to them and exactly what they have not been given in return for their loyalty over many years.  So these next few weeks will be tough for all of us who believe in independence … not because of the issue itself, but merely in trying to get the issue on the media’s agenda to be discussed in an intelligent way, absent of the usual scaremongering and fear.

We at the SIC have decided to contact as diverse a range of contributors as we can in an attempt to create that decent, intelligent discussion about this wee land of ours and who rules it for the next few years.  Over these next few weeks we will have a terrific range of people giving their thoughts on the election and where we as a nation should be heading.  This will hopefully create a resource for people and the media to get a decent debate and accurate information and intelligent opinion.

So join in and get the discussion going … don’t just leave it to four guys in suits on a late night politics show that turns the punters off rather than leaving them engaged in the future of this country.{jcomments on}

All the best,

Elaine C Smith

Published with thanks to the Scottish Independence Convention.