By Alex Robertson
I have never read the Scottish Daily Mail before, but on Monday morning, due to circumstances beyond my control, I found myself reading its ferocious anti-independence ranting and a flurry of attacks on the SNP and First Minister, Alex Salmond.
I thought the broadcast media were bad enough, but in my naïve innocence I was quite unprepared for such virulent British Nationalism.
Being built of a stubborn frame of mind, it just made me even more determined that the quicker Scotland escapes from the tyranny of such obsessive Unionism the better it will be for all concerned.
But it had a beneficial effect of provoking me to try to distil into very few sentences, the reasons why Scots should support independence. It’s worth the effort, and I recommend it to you to try for yourself.
For me, the argument is not about the detail, important though that undoubtedly is. And it is not really about party politics. In my vision of a new Scotland, the political parties will all be reconciled to an independent Scotland, and politics will just be business as usual.
Right now, as we watch Tory and Labour local governments being formed, unholy alliances in the old style politics, now motivated by fear as a last bulwark to keep the pro-independence parties out of power, it is hard to imagine that these same politicians will all find it in themselves to accept independence when it finally comes, but they will, count on it.
It is not about the price of butter either. Of course, as even the UK’s Tory Prime Minister says quite openly, Scotland can be economically successful.
We are energy rich and building long term new industry sectors of Renewable Energy, travel and tourism, food and drink, medical science and entertainment technologies to complement existing sectors such as financial services.
For me, the argument is about freedom.
In an independent Scotland we will be free to make our own choices, our own decisions. Sometimes the choice to be made might not be all that pleasant, but what’s new about that, and at least then we will be making decisions, choices, for ourselves, by ourselves.
Now we have a chain and ball attached to our ankle, and as we look at the future, and dream of things that might be, we are reminded that the choice is not ours, but is made for us, by a Parliament 500 miles away in another country, in which we represent barely 10% of the membership.
Our voice is weak and feeble when it comes to war and peace, to setting the rates at which we will be taxed, and who we may form alliances with to safeguard and advance the interests of Scots.
In the Union the interests of others determine the laws, the taxes and the wars we fight in. In an independent Scotland, only the interests of the Scots nation matter.
In our pocket-money parliament, we are allowed the pretence of being able to decide our own future, but a proud nation is obliged to go begging to another country if we want to reduce taxes, and we have to step up to the plate if the government of another country decides it wants to fight in another US war and make ourselves terrorist targets.
We have no choice in the matter.
Sometimes I can almost taste the freedom that we yearn for, and feel the winds of hope as I dream of a Scotland which has the right to choose and decide our own way. And when it comes to describing what kind of Scotland it will be after independence, I invite you to aspire, to dream for yourself.
Just imagine, then only we ourselves will be able to stop us building a new homeland just as we want it. A nation-state, citizen of the world, at peace with our neighbours and all other states, seeking only to win a commercial living, raise our families in peace and safety and make or dissolve whatever alliances and collaborations we wish. Just imagine.
The desire to be free beats within the hearts of all humankind, and no less for Scots.