Stop the bus: we’d like to get off

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by David Milligan

A Labour Party member asked the following question in an article done for “Labourhame” and I answered his question in straightforward language that went to the centre of the Labour Party’s core values.  Thanks here goes to Mr Currie who I believe is Labours’ Treasurer for Glasgow South who authored the article.  It can be viewed at “Labourhame” under the title of “Stop the bus – Can some non-politicians get on” along with the other responses I wrote.

by David Milligan

A Labour Party member asked the following question in an article done for “Labourhame” and I answered his question in straightforward language that went to the centre of the Labour Party’s core values.  Thanks here goes to Mr Currie who I believe is Labours’ Treasurer for Glasgow South who authored the article.  It can be viewed at “Labourhame” under the title of “Stop the bus – Can some non-politicians get on” along with the other responses I wrote.

I was struck by the honesty of the question and that is why it was important to answer not just for Mr Currie the author but for everyone.  Please remember that this was written to provoke thought about the situation in a non-confrontational way so that it could be digested easily by Labour supporters without offending them and let them see a point of view that ordinarily they would brush aside automatically because it comes from a CyberNat, which in a previous response is how I introduce myself.  Labour Party supporters still make up a sizeable chunk of the population, and if we want the independence referendum to be a roaring success, we need to talk to them and give them the arguments in a way that doesn’t try to browbeat them into some kind of empty submission which achieves nothing in the long run.

It is my sincerest hope that any visiting Labour supporter will find that we on Newsnet Scotland are very capable of thoughtful and well considered posts.  And it is also my sincerest hope that if someone from the Labour supporters decides to post on this thread that they are given the space to make their point properly.  

Mr Currie asked: “A question that is never asked is “Why would we want to separate?” We are not like the states that emerged from the former USSR, where Russia oppressed Estonia, Latvia, etc. They were right to demand independence, and it was great that they got it. However, England does not oppress Scotland. The proof of that is the simple fact we are having this debate.”

Dear Mr Currie,

The reason that people like me want separation/independence/re-attainment of nation status etc etc etc is simple, the Act of Union 1707 has worked against the Scottish people.  If the Union had been set up fairly then there would have had to have been an equal number of representatives from each of the two countries sitting in Westminster when the Union was kicked off. As it was, the Scottish voice was drowned out. That is unfair and undemocratic.

Adding to this, we have seen a situation where due to the skewed seat of power, Scotland doesn’t benefit from her own resources and we have seen an unfair advantage given to London and the South East of England through successive parliaments.  Our people are left in a terrible state whilst money is pulled from Scotland to fund any number of projects that benefit the South of the UK. Think about that one for one moment.  It could even be argued that the North of England is in a similar state but that is possibly where the argument for independence has a benefit for England. If Scotland removed assent for the Act of Union 1707 then the Westminster Parliament would have to deal with the situation in the North of the country and as a result the Northerners would ultimately benefit by a re-balancing of finances.

There have been many times when the administration in Westminster have “covered up” the true economic position of Scotland and in fact they are still doing it today as can be seen if any of you download and do a bit of digging in the “GERS” report. This is just human nature at play again. Scotland produces a lot of wealth for the UK and contrary to popular belief, more than pays her way. The Nationalists in Scotland were responsible for the obfuscation of Westminster because as the Nationalists in Scotlands’ voice grew, there was a very real prospect that they would seek independence, Westminster could not afford to lose (certainly in the 70′s) such a golden goose when in all respects they were pretty broke.

 

I’m trying not to judge here but instead trying to see both sides of the situation.  So, it’s a given that the UK has benefitted from the oil and gas revenues. The figure that is generally settled on is somewhere between £300 – £323 Billion over the last 34 years. Solid estimates give another 40 years of oil and gas production in Scotland and given that the price for these commodities tend to go up as they become more scarce, that means that an independent Scotland would have the wealth to tackle all the really nasty problems that Scotland has at the moment.  Our lifestyle would improve and we would have a more egalitarian society.  Problems don’t always go away no matter how much money you throw at them, but child poverty and mass unemployment and costly, poor quality social housing are all inextricably linked and therefore the wealth of our nation and a reindustrialisation would have a resoundingly positive impact on the lives of those at the bottom of the social strata, and then position them to take up the opportunities that would exist.

You see (and I’m sure you know), child poverty lies at the bottom of a pyramid of social and economic dysfunctionality and the only way to tackle it is to deal with all the root causes. Without independence, all we can do is tinker round the edges, no more than that, and it doesn’t matter who is in power in Holyrood, the situation would remain the same because Westminster would never give us the wealth that would be needed to sort it properly.

So to give an answer to your original statement on this issue, I would ask that we define the word “oppression” in our case. We seem to have free speech (we’re having a free debate) so no problem there. However we don’t have the ability to help our own people and Westminster are certainly not going to cough up the cash for us to do it, so there is a problem there, and because we have been lied to about our true financial position in an effort to keep us under control, I would in this sense call that a form of oppression. I don’t feel oppressed personally, but that’s just because of my particular circumstances, however, I can’t ignore the plight of people who are unable to break out of their circumstances because opportunities don’t exist for them to do so.

It is down to you and me Mr Currie, to find a way to give these people a chance in life so that we don’t have any more lost generations due to deprivation and mass unemployment.  We are, underneath all these political clothes “socialists” and if we ignore those at the bottom of our society then it cheapens us all and society as a whole suffers.

That’s why I’d like us to separate and become the Scotland that I know we can be, a Scotland that we all know where we’d like to live and prosper in.  If someone came along and told me a way where we could achieve all this without independence then I assure you I would be listening.  Promises though, are not enough, “jam tomorrow” has been tried before and we were lied to on that one. This time whatever the answer, it has to be for keeps and it has to be for Scotland.

I thank you again for your time,

Kindest regards to all,

David Milligan