Politics Special – Scottish Independence

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I recently received an email in my capacity as politics editor for BritMums. It was enquiring as to whether we would be writing about the upcoming referendum on Scottish independence. Of course we will be, I replied. Then feeling rather under-educated on the matter myself I asked some fellow bloggers who are far more informed to help me out. To that end I pass you over to Ruth from Dorky Mum to introduce the debate.

This September a referendum will take place to determine whether Scotland will remain a part of the United Kingdom, or whether it will become an independent country.

When it comes to politics, I always find it hard to keep my head down and my mouth closed. But at the moment that’s exactly what I have to do. As a Scot living in Australia, I have no say in the matter. I get no vote. But I am finding it fascinating watching all my friends and family who are still resident in Scotland work out how they will cast their vote. Facebook, Twitter, and the blogosphere are buzzing and busy with debate and discussion.

For the most part it seems like these small discussions taking place on social media are better informed and far more reasonable than a lot of the commentary in mainstream media. It feels like for once it really is the people who will be in charge of this decision, rather than the politicians. It’s an exciting time.

We asked three bloggers – one who will be voting yes to independence, one who will be voting no, and one who is still undecided – to share their perspectives with you.

The Yes Voter – Kate Higgins from A Burdz Eye View

Something remarkable has happened in the debate in Scotland on independence. Suddenly, all protagonists, from Yes and No, are talking about women. Not just talking about us but ruminating on our needs and interests and offering us big policy pledges.

The biggest is from Yes Scotland which says that independence would give Scotland the chance to transform childcare provision, with children under 5 entitled to 30 hours per week free childcare and early learning. Let’s not argue why or whether childcare is or should be a woman’s issue but accept the reality that in many families, it is. But what this policy does is shift childcare to become a vital piece of economic infrastructure, enabling more women to be able to return to and stay in work.

Labour has responded with five pledges for women: more free childcare, equal representation on business boards, better pay and my personal favourite, requiring companies to publish their pay gap. It’s all good but actually, as a woman who has throughout my working life, compromised career choices for family responsibilities; who has paid over a third of my take home pay in childcare fees; who has watched local authorities pay millions in legal fees to avoid paying women in the lowest paid jobs the same rate as men; and seen women I know fly high only to plummet to earth as soon as they become pregnant, “more” and “better” is no longer good enough. I don’t want pay gaps, still less to have to read about them, I want the equal pay promised women 40 years ago to become a reality. I want free childcare as a right, as an acknowledgement that investing in this reaps economic benefit down the line in terms of enabling women to keep more of their earned pay, but I also want better economic and cultural support for women who choose to stay at home, a societal acceptance that this is a good thing for children.

I’ve spent 25 years in the workplace, fortunately working for good and just employers. I’ve raised two children. I’ve bought my own house, made my own life choices, good and bad. And I’m tired of waiting for oft promised change to come. Things are worse now for women than they ever have been in my lifetime. Doesn’t matter what age they are – older women face the whammy of reaching retirement later, still with compromised state pensions, lower private pension pots and the risk not just of fuel poverty in an energy rich country but now also, food poverty in a country which spends billions on needless nuclear weapons.

I want women in Scotland to have better. I want to look forward to better in my old age, now hurtling towards me faster than I’d like. I want better for my sons and the women they will have in their own families. I’d like to think that if Scotland votes yes to independence and we make a more equal, fairer society – and I’m not so naive to think it will be a given; there are lots of interests requiring to be un-vested of their privilege to make change happen – we not only give hope, but provide a blueprint and pressure for things to be different elsewhere on these islands. For all women, not just some.

The No Voter – Donna White from Mummy Central

If Independence were the best way forward for Scotland, I’d be voting for it. No question. But I’m not convinced. At least not with Alex Salmond at the helm.

What worries me most is that Scots will vote with their emotions – placing a hatred of Cameron, Westminster and the Eton elite above the issue of whether this country can prosper if it severs ties with the rest of the UK.

Salmond and his lot play on the image of the “English oppressors” holding back this wonderful country. A Braveheart-style tale of good versus evil.

But the truth of the matter is that this man (who incidentally was born and raised in the town I now call home) has the consistency of a flag on a windy day and is just as much a threat to Scotland as the perceived tyrants down south.
His U-turns are numerous. He was for the euro and then against the euro. He branded sterling a “millstone around Scotland’s neck” and then decided he wanted it. He was against Nato. And then he was for Nato. He said he had seen the legal advice on EU membership. And then it emerged it did not exist (so he lied).

Chancellor George Osborne has ruled out currency union and European Commissioner president Jose Manuel Barroso has said it would be “extremely difficult if not impossible” for an independent Scotland to join the EU.

Why would Britain shackle itself to an independent state but still have to bail it out if things go pear-shaped? And why would Scotland want independence – just so it can be economically controlled by London without any representation?

Scotland’s self-styled saviour has put the needs of rich American right-wingers over those of local people. When Donald Trump demanded an obscene golf complex for the super rich in Scotland, it was “called in” by Salmond, despite the objections of planners, environmentalists and local people. The plans were eventually pulled following a legal dispute.

The Leveson Inquiry revealed how Salmond and Rupert Murdoch exchanged admiring letters and held private dinner dates – more than two dozen meetings. In its final report, the inquiry said: “Mr Salmond’s readiness… to stand ready to assist News Corp is striking”. His desire to lobby for the BSkyB deal “would have rendered the decision unlawful” if it had taken place.

We may hate Cameron and all he stands for. He may not represent our best interests. But before we divorce ourselves from the UK, we should be careful whom we place at the helm of Scotland’s future.

Look at this purely from a Dragon’s Den point of view. Salmond is presenting a business plan for an independent Scotland – with no solid facts, figures or guarantee of success. Would you invest in that?

As Scot Duncan Bannatyne puts it: “I’m out.”

The Undecided Voter – Ellen Arnison from In a Bun Dance

Yes. No. Maybe. No. Yes. Maybe. Round and round it goes. One minute I think Scotland should go it alone and the next a Yes vote in September fills me with dread.

It’s not that I haven’t tried to reach a decision or considered the arguments. I’ve pondered and discussed until my head hurts.

The problem with Scottish Independence, as far as I can see, is the politicians – they’re getting in the way of the issues.

The Scottish National Party – the ones in power at the moment – are all about independence. Of course, it’s their thing and I get the feeling they’d promise the earth to get what they want. Free tartan unicorns as pets for everyone! OK, maybe not, but the picture they paint of Scotland alone is temptingly brave and exciting.

But then the other side, the Better Togethers (pretty much everyone else) are so full of doom and gloom it’s positively terrifying. Imagine Private Frazer from Dad’s Army only talking about financial collapse, catastrophic immigration and political isolation. “We’re doomed!”

But the thing is it’s not actually all that much to do with them and their persuasive agendas. Whether or not Scotland should be part of the United Kingdom is a constitutional issue, not a political one. It’s like deciding not to buy a new house because you don’t like the sofa cover belonging to the current owner and you don’t know how you can replace it.

The reason there’s so much hot air on the subject is that, as far as I can see, no one actually knows any of the answers – because things can only be decided once the country votes Yes. It’s not even certain an independent Scotland would have an SNP government. There’s every possibility that all those powerful Scottish politicians would get their bums off the Westminster benches and head north.

So I’m still swithering. Nations the size of Scotland do perfectly well on their own and many of them have fabulous things like better equality, efficient childcare and compassionate social care, so there’s no reason this one couldn’t. But – while those possibilities are real – the decisions would be taken by politicians (for the most part the same one’s we’re tired of listening to) voted in by us. If the nation is brave enough to take the leap, is it brave enough to insist on the country it was promised?

So those are the eloquent thoughts of members of the blogging community, how do you feel about it? We will open a linky at the bottom of this post for you to add posts you may write on the subject, and also please do feel free to comment below.

Further Reading:

The two official campaign sites are Yes Scotland (pro independence) and Better Together (pro union) but there are numerous other sources of information and opinion.

Pro independence bloggers and grassroots organisations include Women for IndependenceNational CollectiveBusiness for ScotlandBella CaledoniaDerek Bateman, BroadcasterCommon Weal, and Radical Independence.

Pro union bloggers include Notes from Northern BritainInside the BunkerSteve SayersIan S Smart and Caron’s Musings.

For more information on the Scottish Referendum from the UK Government:-

Follow on Twitter: @youdecide2014  Get in the Know on Facebook

Go to: www.gov.uk/scottishreferendum

A big thank you to those who have contributed to such a thought-provoking piece.

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About Sonya Cisco

Sonya Cisco is a 42 year old mum of three from Dorset. She spent 15 years playing in bands at various festivals and insalubrious locations throughout Britain and Europe. These days she is more of a home bod hence the title of her blog ‘The Ramblings of a Formerly Rock’n’Roll Mum’ , but she can still be persuaded to strap that bass guitar back on for special occasions. Has an opinion on everything, but always open to discussion. Likes biscuits a little bit too much.

22 Comments

  1. 07 May 2014 / 17:20

    Thanks so much for including me in this. I should add before a storm of people come forward, pointing out that a vote for Independence is not necessarily a vote for Alex Salmond, that I’m well aware of this.
    But he is currently at the driving wheel, setting the scene for what Independence will be like. And I just don’t believe him.
    As I said in my Dragon’s Den analogy, a proper business plan needs to be put together by someone capable of pulling this off.
    A good business can be run into the ground by bad management, and I’d hate to see Scotland damaged by him, before its people can vote in decent leaders to balance the books and make this country thrive.

    • G
      07 May 2014 / 20:59

      Thanks so much for including me in this. I should add before a storm of people come forward, pointing out that a vote for dependence is not necessarily a vote for David Cameron, that I’m well aware of this.
      But he is currently at the driving wheel, setting the scene for what dependence will be like. And I just don’t believe him.
      As I said in my Dragon’s Den analogy, a proper business plan needs to be put together by someone capable of pulling this off.
      A good business can be run into the ground by bad management, and I’d hate to see Scotland damaged by him, before its people can vote in decent leaders to balance the books and make this country thrive.

    • Dave Ward
      07 May 2014 / 21:09

      Hi Donna, I’m a soon to be Scot-Dad, am I allowed in? 🙂

      I appreciate what you’re saying, but there will be a Scottish GE held almost as soon as we are independent. So that will be our chance to change leadership if we choose to. And that is the point. It will be us 5 million choosing our future, not the ~ 15 mn living in Tory heartlands which Labour, Tory & LibDem all cater for because it is a powerful political area to hold.

      Proper business plans HAVE been draughted and considered by many experts. Please have a look at http://www.businessforscotland.co.uk/ . We can more than survive on our own, we have the people, the resources and the will to be a great nation again. Unlike the UK, a powerful nation, but not a power wielding nation. 🙂

      Take care, and good luck!

    • Gill Coyle
      08 May 2014 / 23:29

      Have you heard of the ‘White Paper’ Donna? That’s the 600+ page ‘plan’ for an Independent Scotland, which you ignore in your piece and appear to dismiss in your follow up comment. It gives you a lot of the answers to the questions women (and men!) want answered in this debate.

      Where, exactly is the ‘plan’ for our future under the Union, please?

      It’s a sad indictment of your case for a NO vote, that you focus almost exclusively on Alex Salmond. So you don’t like HIM? Who cares? Do you think your children, or your children’s children will even know who he was? Can you offer any rational case for a NO vote that makes you think it right for a modern Scotland?

      The constitutional reality of this Referendum is this:
      Scotland has a serious choice to make between TWO opposing political systems. Either we continue to allow 650 MPs at Westminster – and over 800 UNELECTED members of the House of Lords – to decide what’s best for us, with our 59 MPs. OR we elect our own Government, and get Government WE choose, 100% of the time. A Government which will set policies which are right for Scotland not our neighbour, which has vastly different needs.

      It is a fact that the ‘Union’ is unfair to Scotland. How can it be anything else, when we’re in bed with an elephant, more than ten times our size? It may be a very nice elephant, but eventually it’s sheer size will crush you, no matter it’s intention.

      What that has to do with the personality of Alex Salmond, baffles me?

  2. Jeannie Mackenzie
    07 May 2014 / 20:19

    Please see my blog entry: http://dwellinginpossibility.weebly.com/1/post/2014/03/-aye-naw-maybe.html.

    Since I wrote it, I have become more likely to vote yes. It seems to me to be the best option for a more democratic, more internationalist and more caring country. But there will be a huge responsibility on us to work for the kind of country we want post independence. We need to stop grousing about our politicians and become more involved ourselves, working for the policies we need.

  3. Lynda
    07 May 2014 / 21:15

    Was at an independence referendum meeting the other day and someone said just imagine if 20 years down the line you are talking to your grandkids and they ask how did you vote in the referendum of 2014?

    You reply that you voted no and they ask why.

    Because I didn’t like the guy who was leading the SNP at the time you say.

    Who was he they enquire and you come back with the punchline – I don’t know I can’t remember, that wee chubby bloke.

    This really isn’t about any one person it is about the future of our country, the future of our kids. Basing your decision either way on whether or not you like Alex Salmond just isn’t good enough.

  4. 07 May 2014 / 22:17

    Some really interesting points of view here. I think I am with Ellen here with one of my favourite Scots words – still swithering. The whole Alex salmond bit worries me as he sees himself as a statesman and figurehead rather than someone I trust to do the best for us. Then again I don’t have any faith in Cameron and his cronies either to have our best interests at heart. What to do for the best ??

  5. Jeannie Mackenzie
    08 May 2014 / 08:50

    Lynn, suggest we don’t get hung up on the personalities of the politicians. The decision should be about the larger picture. The vote is for independence, not the SNP.

  6. 08 May 2014 / 16:39

    Hi there,

    Really interesting debate. On the subject of chidcare raised by Kate, UK government believes in the principle of high quality early education and childcare – and has made a substantial investment in it. All three- and four-year-olds in England are already entitled to 570 hours of Government-funded early education per year, as well as 20% of the least advantaged two-year-olds – rising to 40% in September.

    The Scottish Government already has devolved powers to make these changes – they don’t need independence to do it.

    For more information on the Scottish Referendum see this blog that looks at the myths and realities of the independence debate: http://www.buzzfeed.com/youdecide2014/scotland-the-uk-10-myths-10-facts-oykn

    • Gill Coyle
      09 May 2014 / 12:26

      The subject of childcare is an interesting one, which illustrates perfectly the ‘in bed with an elephant’ analogy to which I referred in my last post. Let’s break it down to show how the Union doesn’t work for Scotland:

      If the Scottish Govt. decided to increase the childcare support to the levels they could under Independence, that would need to be paid for. What would you cut to do so? Personal care for the elderly? Free education? Mitigation for the bedroom tax? No, me neither!

      If however, they did make the changes they want to now, to get more women back to the workplace, that additional tax take would go straight to the Westminster coffers, not back into the Scottish budget, to make it work for us, here. What that means is, the devolved Govt. have to PAY for the childcare policy, but under devolution the benefit from it goes to WESTMINSTER. It’s that simple. The elephant takes up the whole of the bed and we’re left hanging on to the bill for the mattress!

      Pocket money is an analogy I particularly like. Because that’s for kids, just like dependency. Independence is for grown up, mature and capable adults AND nations. It’s not Scotland that is odd, it’s Great Britain. Where else in the world would you find a nation getting pocket money from it’s larger neighbour to look after its people?

      And finally, if we are being asked to view UK Government website as impartial information then can I ask one question… ? A UK Govt. who won’t even ‘subsidise’ a spare room for a disabled person, is happy enough to subsidise an ENTIRE country? Really? Google ‘the McCrone Report’. It contains all the evidence you need – and proof they’ve been lying to us for decades, before believing their myths about Scotland. Every one of these myths have been debunked – some by the Brit. Govt’s own experts!

      If you don’t know who to trust, just ask yourself this ONE question? Which Government would you trust to put Scotland’s interests FIRST?

      The British Government with over 90% of it’s population in another country? And a Prime Minister who won’t even debate Scottish issues in public? Or the Scottish Government at Holyrood, with only 5 million Scots to look out for, concentrating on what’s best for Scotland, 100% of the time?

      I think you’ve got your answer!

    • G
      12 May 2014 / 12:51

      I’m a little bit loath to bother to reply to you, because you’re probably from the Cabinet office if you’re connected to that blog, and thus don’t have a vote, but here goes..

      If you care about childcare, you would have paid attention to the Children and Young People Bill that’s just gone through Parliament. All 3 and 4 year old children will be entitled to 600 hours of government funded early education per year. That’s more than in England and Wales.

      For 2 year olds again, come August, the most vulnerable will be eligible for free nursery places (many are already), and there’s a set timescale for expanding this over the next few years.

      If you’re wanting to pretend to be impartial, you should probably stick to the truth, for a start.

  7. 08 May 2014 / 22:59

    In response to Kate’s comments, i would like to politely challenge and ask what the SNP would do to encourage more men to take on my role i.e. become the main carer for their children? To reach true equality, politicians must put policies in place that will assist men become homemakers, it’s not simply about women and their rights in the workplace or childcare. The shared parental leave policies were mainly forced through by the Lib Dems and I’ve never heard Salmond comment on such issues.

    I’d also add that very few people have considered the impact on Northern Ireland. If Scotland goes independent, the ramifications in Ulster could be very serious indeed. We’ve had a decade of peace after decades of civil war. It would be naive to assume that hardened republicans won’t be watching the outcome of this vote very carefully.

    I’ll finish with a controversial comment; Scotland, please do not grant England independence. This would be the ultimate outcome of a majority “yes” vote. Who really wants to see an independent England marauding across the international stage?

  8. 09 May 2014 / 19:01

    I’ve read that white paper and find it’s a book of guesses based on guesses for the most part. I don’t agree Alex Salmond, as a leader, should be taken into account for this debate or question, but he does influence many voters, whether we like it or not.

    There’s nothing I can do about David Cameron. No vote of mine will every make the slightest bit of difference in the outcome of his privileged status now or in the future, but a vote for Scottish Government is one that I have a say in. If we don’t like how it goes, we can turf them out and vote someone else in.

    Politicians are messing up the vote for me. Plain and simple. The scare tactics from Westminster have turned me towards yes but I’m still uncomfortable.

  9. 17 May 2014 / 16:29

    What a brilliant article, thank you so much for featuring this.

    I am very much in the same swithering situation as Ellen. But I will say that I feel the YES camp are showing us a promising future, whilst the NO camp aren’t really offering anything to entice us to stay – they are just scaremongering. Scotland deserves better than we have just now, and Westminster aren’t displaying how they could make that happen.
    So do we just want more of the same, or do we take the leap of faith into a future that whilst unknown could possibly be better

  10. 20 May 2014 / 11:16

    Just a few points based on these comments:

    1. If we vote Yes, how can anyone guarantee it’s not a vote for the SNP and Salmond? He may well be voted in – and in the absence of anyone else talking about what’s going to happen in an Independent Scotland then a lot of voters ARE going to base their decision on him and his plans, whether the rest of you like it or not.
    Let’s face it, an election would be a two horse race between Labour and the SNP. Salmond will claim the glory if the Yes vote wins and there’s a very good chance he’ll gain power.

    2. Lynda’s reply shows she’s not listening to me. Yes, I don’t trust Salmond. But I also don’t see any concrete plans for how Scotland will be run effectively. I will quite proudly tell my children in future that I did what I thought was right in 2014 to ensure the country prospers in the future.
    I could just as easily paint a picture of a future where the Yes vote has resulted in the country’s economic ruin. When Lynda’s children ask her why she voted for this, would she say “Because I didn’t like the posh bloke down south making all the decisions – and thought a shifty Scottish politician would be better than an English one”?

    3. The aggression of some Yes voters when someone says they will be voting No unnerves me. You don’t see any of the No camp attacking those who want Independence. We’re happy to place our vote and see where the majority falls.
    They accuse us of “scaremongering” – which is the Nats favourite buzzword – but nobody addresses our “concerns” and tells us why they are unfounded.
    In reply to Gill’s very aggressive and sarcastic statement, I have indeed heard of (and read) the white paper. Speculation and guesswork in my humble opinion.

    Writing this post made me see that I love the idea of Scotland running its own affairs. I’m not against it and I’m not particularly attached to the UK.

    But I need to be convinced if we leave Scotland would be stronger for it. Nobody has shown me anything which has proved that to be true.

    I get that people feel independence is the hopeful, adventurous choice.

    My view is that we’re jumping off a bridge, with no idea of the depth of the water. If that sounds like a positive choice, then go for it.

    I’d rather not risk being smashed to pieces on the rocks. My survival instinct is much stronger than my need for that sort of adventure.

    But hey, that’s just my point of view. An informed choice. You are welcome to make yours.

    Please don’t stoop so low as to imply I’m not doing my homework, or that my children will be ashamed of me. That kind of talk doesn’t endear you to me or make me want to see your point of view.

  11. Jeannie Mackenzie
    20 May 2014 / 13:01

    I’m an undecided, Donna. However, I do think it is helpful to think about this issue divorced from any feelings we may have about the SNP. The raison d’etre for the SNP will disappear if we gain independence, as will the Labour Party in Scotland’s need to bow to pressure to win at Westminster. It will become an entirely different political landscape, and then it is up to us to make or break it.

    • 21 May 2014 / 10:16

      But the SNP aren’t going to disappear Jeannie. There’s a good chance they could end up running the country. We can’t assume Labour will get in. That’s all I’m saying.

  12. Gillian Coyle
    20 May 2014 / 21:48

    There are a number of problems, for me, Donna with some of the statements you represent as fact in this follow up. Generally they fall into two distinct areas; let’s deal with accuracy of FACT first.

    It is a fact, that at the time of writing, that only TWO people the length and breadth of our country have been ‘attacked’ for their political views during this campaign. One is an 80-year-old Edinburgh activist, who was set about, pushed to the ground and assaulted with his own YES placard by a 5’9 ‘bruiser’ of a WOMAN who objected to his campaigning in the High Street. Police Scotland are still trying to trace her from CCTV footage as she ran away after knocking the man to the ground. The other? A Yes activist in Hillhead, Glasgow who was punched and kicked by thugs whilst out campaigning on his own. Both were reported to the police and are the only recorded incidents of ‘attack’. These are verifiable facts.

    What you claim is attack, however, is in fact robust political debate.

    Is my position strongly defended? YES, absolutely, but I’m pretty sure from what I’ve seen on this forum, Britmums would not allow ‘attacks’ on ANY contributors. What they do allow is a right to reply. So I suggest you are stretching the truth somewhat to suggest ‘attack’ here and can I also suggest, whilst addressing that point, that this robust debate involves contributors from BOTH sides.

    Life is generally like that. But please don’t let these FACTS get in the way of your ‘big bad Nats’ claims, will you? Most of us Yes voters are no more ’Nats’ than the other side of the British Nationalist argument in this, but I’m sure, by now, we’re used to being classed as such, simply because we believe in democracy for Scotland. There has been a constant barage of ‘nat bashing’ from the NO campaign and their supporters in the media – and on all social media – with accusation after accusation of ‘cybernat’ since the Referendum was announced and your remarks are no different.

    The 2nd issue I have with your comments, is the ‘guarantees’ and ‘concrete plans’ you expect to find with a Yes vote, when you don’t extend the same expectation to the UK political system. So let’s look at those guarantees you don’t get with the UK looking after Scotland, shall we?

    The UK don’t guarantee there won’t be significant tax rises in a future Parliament.

    They don’t guarantee a good, livable Pension, that isn’t the LOWEST in Europe. As it is now.

    They don’t guarantee a future living wage, or that the minimum wage will keep pace with inflation, as it isn’t now. Or that ‘hard-working’ families who STILL have to claim tax credits to survive, will be better off.

    They don’t guarantee continued access to our biggest markets in Europe via the EU, instead playing Russian Roulette with our EU status via in/out referenda to appease UKIP with NO MPs.

    They don’t guarantee Nigel Farage and UKIP won’t be in coalition with Tories (come 2017) or that the fascist tail won’t be wagging the dog in the UKs future. They don’t even guarantee they can stop UKIPs plans to remove the vote from women or lower class men, as they’ve threatened this week.

    They don’t guarantee less foodbanks, less bankers bonuses, less than 800 unelected peers, accountable to NO-ONE. All collecting £300 a day just for TURNING UP to the House of Lords!

    The don’t guarantee we won’t be dragged into ANOTHER illegal war, or that WE won’t be spending 20 BILLION POUNDS replacing unnecessary weapons of death – situated 20 miles from OUR largest city (not theirs!)

    They don’t guarantee there will BE an NHS in England in 10 years, with Scotland to follow in the event of a no vote.

    I could go on, but my point, I think, is well made.

    Life in general, but political life specifically, doesn’t come with guarantees or concrete plans.

    It comes in cycles with Governments changing every 4/5 years along with their priorities, whether you’re talking about the UK or Scotland. So why exactly do you expect a different burden of proof or ‘guarantee’ to come with a Yes vote? Is that a fair or even logical position to adopt? I don’t think it is. And if I haven’t convinced you yet, ask yourself this: If this vote was to join in a Union with the rUK, and you were being asked to give up the vast majority of your decision making rights, would you vote Yes and be happy to be consumed by your hugely bigger neighbour? (Genuinely interested in your response!)

    We ALL get that you don’t like Salmond, it is writ-large in all of your contributions. No, no-one can guarantee he won’t be ‘in charge’ of an Indy Scotland, after all, it WILL BE a democracy and he is the First Minister now! I’m not a huge fan either, truth be told, but one thing I can say is that the man and his party always put Scotland first (with no competing priorities from the rUK). You may not always agree with the SNPs specific politics, although you’ve not said whether it be Universal access to free education, free prescriptions or free personal care for the elderly or something else…?
    It just seems to be his personality you find is not to your liking and that isn’t an intellectually sustainable argument for a No vote.

    There is NO conflict between Scotland as his TOTAL focus and ONLY priority, the way there isn’t with any and EVERY UK leader. That is FACT. Any UK leader has to focus his energies and prioritise the South East of England, as that’s where the bulk of the population live and it’s also where the money goes; so self-evidently any UK leader’s policy platform SHOULD focus on what is right for that ‘region’ in a country with 60 million people and limited resources. Scotland IS simply not a priority for London Governments of whatever ilk. It has different needs and requires different solutions and these priorities aren’t being addressed via the Westminster system of Government. It’s that simple.

    What it isn’t about is the personality of one man, ‘shifty’ or otherwise. (Although I do notice that whilst you cast this aspersion on Mr Salmond, at no point to do you back it up with any facts). Like his opponents in the Scots’ Parliament, slinging mud – I think 5 or 6 times now, he has been reported to the Parliamentary Standards Authority and NOT once have they found any case to answer? If you have evidence, it would be good if you could back that claim up with facts and not just CLAIMS of ‘shiftiness’ masquerading as fact, whatever that may actually mean.

    Finally, I totally agree that your vote is your own business and that’s exactly the way it should be, but when you take to a public forum spouting forth about one man’s personality and why a nation should be denied its right to decide and define it’s own priorities because of it, don’t be surprised that those with strong political views take issue with your pontifications.

    That’s what rigorous, intellectual, politically informed debate is all about and it matters very little to me whether that ‘endears’ me to you or not. The future opportunities of our children and our country is, quite simply, way too important to let personalities or feelings define it.

  13. 21 May 2014 / 07:40

    Just a quick update from me and the point I raised about “what has the SNP done to encourage men to take on more childcare?”. The answer seems to be nothing…but this report from Edinburgh’s Equal Ops Committee (headed by a Labour MSP) makes interesting reading:
    http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/newsandmediacentre/76560.aspx

  14. 23 May 2014 / 12:38

    Gillian I have glanced at your reems and reems of words – and will not be reading in order to prevent myself becoming upset and getting into a “she said, she said” row with you.

    Can we just leave it as you’ve got your viewpoint and I’ve got mine – both of which are based on a love of Scotland and a desire to protect it?

    If others were accusing me of being aggressive I’d be taking a long hard look at myself and my tone – instead of shouting louder and claiming that this is “rigorous political debate”.

    Good luck to everyone at the polls. We all have our vote and we all want what’s best for Scotland.

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