The “No to independence” campaign launched last month, and at its showpiece event we listened to Alistair Darling talk of the things that we’ve shared as the United Kingdom – we heard him talk proudly, for example, of the NHS and the Welfare State. At the same time David Cameron was spelling out future welfare reforms for a system which will exclude the under 25s from housing benefit and which may lead to people on benefits in the South East receiving more money than those in the less affluent areas of Britain. Once again, David Cameron is targeting the poor and the most vulnerable in society in an effort to fix the mess that the rich and the greedy caused.
And so the phoney war rumbles on and gathers pace. The ‘No’ campaign – or whatever it decides to refer to itself as – will be unveiled shortly and we’ve heard (with a certain sense of deja vu) that the SNP has been debating the relative merits of the words “independenT” and “independenCE”. We have independence and Unionist groups galore appearing on Facebook and the web, we’ve got Cybernats and Britnats, republicans and monarchists, hawks and pacifists and goodness knows what else.
In the meantime, I still have the bills to pay, the washing to dry in the incessant rain, the mundane monotony of the “what’s for dinner?” conversations. Today a friend’s daughter is having a baby, while another lady I know has lost her best friend. The neverending cycle of joy and tears, grief and laughter rolls on.
Politicians would do well to stop and think about this – that away from Parliaments ordinary people are still living their everyday lives, and when we occasionally get to lift our noses from the grindstone we might appreciate a little passion from our politicians, a little honesty, some better research, and an end to the sniping and spin that threatens to suffocate the independence debate.
Despite the launch of the rainbow-coalition Yes campaign on Friday, we’re still fighting the assertion that Scottish nationalism is both racist and bigoted – one typified by a recent article by George Galloway in the Daily Record.
I have to admit to a guilty soft spot for the MP for Bradford West. I know he’s ridiculous in many ways, but I like him. Watching George on Question Time recently, I knew he’d be entertaining and sometimes disrespectful. It’s a nice change from the grey men of politics we usually see. I like the idea that some politicians have the bottle to say and do pretty much what they want and sod everyone else. Not always pleasant and often enough to make your toes curl with embarrassment, George is, at least, a character and we could do with a few more like him in politics.
But as I read the article he wrote for the Record, in which he talked about seeing people who have “what can only be described as a virulent hatred of English people and a belief they are the source of Scotland’s troubles”, I began to wonder what country George was looking at.
As part of our continuing look at the people who haven’t yet their minds up about independence, we’re delighted to present this piece by Sue Lyons. If you’re a “Don’t know” too, we’d love to hear from you – why not drop us a line?
I am a mum and a wife. In point of fact, I’m an English wife married to a Scottish husband, with three English children from my first marriage and two Scottish children from my current marriage. Why would I even bother to mention that at all, you might wonder – surely it doesn’t matter where my children were born, surely I love them just the same? And you would be right.
What makes it worth mentioning is that my husband is a Scottish nationalist. In fact, he’s such a Scottish nationalist that were the UK government to say tomorrow “You can have independence for Scotland but you have to pay for it yourself”, he would say, “Where do I sign?”
He describes himself as “rabid” and he’s absolutely right – if you cut off his leg he would have a saltire running through it like a stick of rock (but not Blackpool rock, because that’s in England). Not for him the sitting on the fence that others might do, not for him the idea that you can vote for the SNP and yet still be undecided on independence. John is for an independent Scotland completely and absolutely. That sometimes causes fun and games in our own personal Union – our home.