Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Independence?

Over the past couple of years my political views have been going through a bit of a change. When I was a student I was a hang em, flog em, send em back where they came from type of Tory. And (to the eternal dismay of my daddy) a staunch Unionist. Now things are very different - I am now much more liberal than I was when I was younger. The thought of the death penalty for example now fills me with dread, I would rather go to prison than carry a compulsory ID card and I think the treatment of refugees and asylum seekers in Britain in one of our nation's shame.

I still regard myself (mostly) as a Conservative but I have no problem whatsoever in not voting for any candidate that I regard to be sexist, racist or homophobic. I have no loyalty to the Conservative Party anymore but of the three main parties in England they are probably the one whose views are closest to my own.

And there's the rub - in England. I don't know how I would vote if in Scotland. I am still, mostly a Unionist, but not as staunch as I was a decade or so ago. I believe the Union has been good for both Scotland and England, fiscally and culturally and I think that a larger country will always carry more weight on the world stage than a smaller one and that Scotland benefits from this.

But, but, but.... Over the last couple of years I have started to question whether this is enough to base the Union on. I am fed up with the continual patronising of Scotland (and the people of Scotland) by politicians who claim that Scotland couldn't cope as an independent nation. Of course it could. Scotland, as with any nation, has the talent and ability to achieve great things. Or it has the capacity to elect dreadful politicians who mess up the economy. No-one can actually say for sure what will happen if/when Scotland becomes independent. But as part of the Union the same is absolutely true. Isn't that what happens in every country? And isn't that the decision of the Scottish electorate?

This is, of course, partly a result of devolution. I was, and still am, opposed to devolution, it's a ridiculous half-way house which does nothing to strengthen the union. And we now have a situation where the democratically elected government of Scotland in Edinburgh has to look to the other democratically elected government of Scotland in London for permission to do anything a wee bit off New Labour message. Or where the majority of Scottish elected representatives vote against Trident but it will still be partly funded by the Scottish tax-payer and based in Scotland. I was right about devolution - it was the first step to the break-up of the UK, just I think now that's not necessarily a bad thing.

So - why shouldn't Scotland be independent? I really don't know.

1 comment:

Anne McLaughlin aka Indygal said...

Louise, this is an excellent thoughtful piece and I am delighted that your feelings toward Independence are developing in this direction. You and I are probably very different politically (in terms of left vs right) but I think you have summed up very simply and succinctly (something I have never mastered!) the whole argument. And you're right - there really isn't an argument against Scotland being independent. Thanks, I really enjoyed reading that.