Of all the arguments against Scottish Independence, the appeal to solidarity is definitely the one that has the most potential to move me. It’s been a staple of anti-independence articles from the UK left since long before the referendum date was set, and it’s been heard in the mainstream press with increasing frequency as that date approaches.
This morning a close, NO-voting friend of mine raised the question with me directly, and I find myself freshly troubled by the suggestion that to vote YES is to skip out on the people in the rest of the UK who share my hopes for the future:
I stand by my Twitter response that I can’t see a route for the sort of social change I’d like to see within the United Kingdom as it currently stands. The solidification of voting loyalties and the triumph of the First Past the Post system in the recent AV referendum ensure that Westminister politics is geared towards an appeal to a semi-mythical “Middle England” rather than to the varied needs of the nation. A sober analysis of post-war electoral history reveals that for all its reputation as a pillar of support for Labour,there would only be a different winner in two UK elections since 1945 if you subtracted Scottish votes from the equation.
(The result in an independent Scotland would have different in eight elections during the same time period – nine if you include what would become a tie in Scotland in 1951!)
The question, then, is would the United Kingdom suffer without Scotland in a way that it wouldn’t if we were to stay?
‘Six Degrees’ (music by BadBadNotGood, guest verse by Danny Brown):
I hope Ghostface keeps making music with live bands, because this collaboration with hip-hop/punk/jazz trio BadBadNotGood is like a signpost pointing to a better record yet to come, one where he’s allowed to follow his cracked muse down whatever back alleys it might take him, with a band fit to follow in hot pursuit.
Last year’s Twelve Reasons to Die album was lush as hell itself, and it had an unshakeable fatalistic logic with which to lead you there – when the album finishes and rolls straight into its instrumental mix, it feels like the natural conclusion to this story of ridiculous bloodshed, like a walk around the movie set except that it’s empty and you suspect someone’s had to bury a lot of bodies to get it that way.
A few thoughts on SNP Leader/First Minister of Scotland Alex “I like salmon” Salmond, in the light of yesterday’s referendum debate between Salmond and Labour’s Alistair Darling.
While the media narrative has already framed the debate as a bruising set-back for Salmond, that wasn’t how I experienced it. A closer examination of the polling data suggests a much more complicated pattern of feedback. To be crude about it, people who came into the debate with the intention of voting YES generally felt that Salmond won, people who came in with a pro-Union point of view gave it to Darling, and those who came in undecided generally left the same way, with a minority possibly favouring Salmond.
Not that you’d have known it from a quick glance at Wednesday’s papers:
For those who came in late, or who live elsewhere and haven’t been following the debate on Scottish Independence, here are two descriptions of the lay of the land, one from an anti-independence source and one from a pro-independence writer.
This might come across like a slightly crap attempt at providing balance – probably because that’s exactly what it is! – but don’t worry, if you’re not yet sick of my own personal opinions on this topic, you soon will be!
(From Doom Patrol #63, ‘The Empire of Chairs’, by Grant Morrison and Richard Case)
I’ve been holding off on writing post like this for a while now because I thought it was better not to say anything at all than to say something stupid, but I’m speaking up now for two reasons:
(1) Because it currently seems possible that Scotland, as a nation, might vote for independence,
(2) Because it still doesn’t seem likely.
If I didn’t think there was any chance of a YES vote there’d be no reason to climb up on my soapbox, but since it seems as though it won’t happen the next few weeks are my last chance to say why I think it should. You are of course welcome to breeze by me as quickly as you would any other Buchanan Street barker but if you fancy hearing me out, here we go!