Website of poet Elizabeth Rimmer

Why I Will (Probably) Vote Yes

Lawks! The debate round the White Paper for independence has been juvenile.

“If the Bank of England is going to be the bank of last resort, they are going to want to control you, and how is that independence?” I think it might be the sort of independence an adult has with a credit card and an overdraft, rather than a the sort a teenager has with his pocket money to me!

“It’s a wish list, not a promise!” – sounds like a five year-old complaining that Santa didn’t bring him everything in his letter! A white paper – or a manifesto, for that matter, can never be a ‘promise’; it’s a to-do list. We are not buying a package, we are deciding if we will sign off on the outline of a project, which we will get to participate in taking further.

It sounds like a good to-do list to me. I’m going to be spending some time thinking about whether it is as good as it looks, but at the moment I’m inclined to say yes :

  • because there are no Tory MPS in Scotland, although there is a bunch of articulate and active Tory MSPs. This is because the Tory party in Westminster by no means represents the actual thinking of right wing people in Scotland, and as far as I can see, has no intention of doing so.
  • because although, as far as I could make out, the majority of left-wing voters in Scotland, including a lot of Labour supporters, were on the march against the Iraq war, the Labour party in Scotland was in a conference at the same time approving of it. Westmenster Labour has absorbed the attention of Scottish Labour to such an extent that Johan Lamont gets to do nothing more than sabotage the SNP, no matter how irrational that makes Labour look.
  • because Westminster has no settled intention of reforming voting to allow the ideas of smaller parties to have any impact on the political process whatever, whereas in Scotland, we have  much wider variety of MSPs, and the committee system is designed to make this workable.
  • because it looks as if 90% of the electorate is going to take an interest in this process, which is going to be a wake-up call itself.
  • because Scotland has a vision of a state as a community mutually responsible for all its citizens. It gives me great pleasure, as a Catholic, to credit the Kirk for this. The much-maligned Covenant, from which this originates, is something we should cherish. Whether all the items in the social justice agenda can be delivered as we’d like is not certain. But I’d sure as hell prefer to live in a state that was trying for it.
  • because Scotland so far seems to be avoiding the hatred for Europe, the suspicion of immigrants and the contempt for those on benefits which characterises  so much political debate in England. I don’t wish to make a racist generalisation here. None of the people I personally know in England buys into it either, and it must be a great frustration to the many activists there who are fighting so hard against it. And I’m not saying there aren’t xenophobic hard-liners here either. But they don’t get the same level of connivance from the establishment here.
  • because the only reason that English media seem to imagine we want independence is because we are racists who hate the English. As an English-born person, who has received nothing but kindness and welcome here, I can’t reject that one fast enough.
  • because the no campaign assumes we have been nothing but a drag on the UK and we should be grateful for the handouts we’ve been getting. I don’t see that as a good sign if we don’t vote for independence. Sounds more like a threat to me!
  • because in Scotland there is a commitment towards renewable energy, rather fitful and undecided, but genuine. And a concern for the relationship of people with the land they live in.

No, if we vote for independence , there will be an uncertain future. But I’m looking at the way things are going across the whole world, and uncertainty is a given. It’s hard to be hopeful. But I’d like to live in a country that’s willing to come together and work at it.






2 responses to “Why I Will (Probably) Vote Yes”

  1. roselle Avatar

    Elizabeth – excellent post. I’d be voting yes. It’s a difficult one, holding together the intention to be nationalist in the sense of supporting a (relatively) minority culture that is too easily trampled beneath the feet of English imperialism – as a Cornishwoman I feel that very keenly – and also an internationalist – ie not racist or xenophobic, but genuinely pluralist – unity-in-diversity.

    Personally, I resist a Londocentric culture, and for me the ‘think globally act locally’ dictum is about cherishing smaller communities and decentralisation.

    Add to that Scotland’s record on the NHS (free prescriptions), education (no tuition fees; environmental and arts concerns still embedded in the curriculum, which is more than can be said of England), and record of supporting both small local community initiatives and arts-based projects – well, there’s seems no contest, really.

    Scotland can do without England (though I recognise that the currency issue is a sticky one). The q is, is it the same the other way round?

  2. Elizabeth Avatar

    Thanks, Roselle. I can’t help agreeing with Alec Salmond that a currency union is the sensible option, but if he goes on pretending that other points of view are negligible, it won’t be their brains they’ll be negotiating with!

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