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Lifting the veil

Posted on October 08, 2013 by

As a child, I hated Alex Salmond.

He was everything I was raised to despise: most people around me were generally suspicious of his motives, the Daily Record painted him as a contemptible human being, and Prime Minister Tony Blair urged my country and I to reject his insane plans to split up the cuddly, all-encompassing United Kingdom.

As a youngster growing up in pre-devolution Scotland, still bearing the deep scars of Thatcherism, I almost viewed Blair as a God of sorts (I think he did too).


Here was a man who had dramatically ended 18 years of Tory rule, delivered a landslide Labour government that was finally in (apparent) line with the wishes of the Scottish people, and he’d even given us a nice shiny new Parliament to play with. What wasn’t to like?

With Scotland finally regaining its parliament after almost 300 years, it was a genuinely interesting time to be growing up here. I liked the thought of us making our own laws on health, education, transport, justice etc. and didn’t mind the idea of defence, welfare, foreign affairs and immigration remaining ‘reserved’ to Westminster.

After all, as the Record and the Sun kept reminding me, Westminster was the grown-up Parliament. There would be no need for Scotland to worry its pretty little head thinking up its own immigration policy, or trying to cobble an army together, as the big boys in London could do that for us. It truly was the best of both worlds: we could be British when dealing with all the headaches that such a global leader encounters, and Scottish when dealing with the wee diddy problems at the end of the week.

As the 21st century dawned, my support for the Labour Party grew stronger, largely because – and there was a theme developing there – the Daily Record and Sun were telling me to. Like other stories I was told as a lad, I just accepted it without questioning the details, or attempting to understand the motives for New Labour’s style of government. I had complete respect for whatever our government and media told me (pre-Leveson and pre-expenses scandal, obviously), and literally decoded every piece of political information in my head as:





If I ever engaged with anyone in a political chat at school, I attempted to steer the discussion to the inevitable conclusion that Tony Blair must be right. I almost never encountered any Tories back then (a secondary school in Scotland is not exactly the traditional marginal ground the Conservatives like to campaign in).

The odd time I would meet an SNP supporter and declare, usually in my head, that they must be some sort of sociopath. How on earth could they disobey the word of Tony Blair – TONY BLAIR, DAMMIT – and continue with this destructive plot to destroy the country of my birth, Britain?

It defied all rational sense. Did they just hate all English people? The Daily Record seemed to think they did, so that was MY mind made up.

Then, in 2003, something rather odd happened. I had always been led to believe (by the same red-top papers mentioned above) that Labour were a left-wing party, born to stand up against the sleazy, anti-Scottish, right-wing Tory Party. New Labour were basically Labour with a cool new name and a leader who was better at winning elections. Then this aforementioned cool new leader decided to back George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq, despite failing to secure the crucial second UN resolution legally sanctioning military action.

Hundred of thousands – possibly millions – took to the streets of Britain to voice their utter disgust at the war. I felt like taking to the school playground to voice my utter disgust at the protestors. How could they dare to question our democratically elected landslide leader? Didn’t they see the carnage in New York and Washington on 9/11?

And Iraq had weapons of mass destruction that could take out the UK in less time than the first half of a football match (with no need for Fergie Time). Imagine if terrorists got hold of those weapons, like Donald Rumsfeld suggested on the telly? But some of the Lib Dems were a bit iffy about it, and that fat little pig Salmond was dead against it, and the Tories were still the Tories. The apocalypse was upon us, and only Bush and Blair could save us!

With the rest of the world (and I daresay a few equally humbled Labour supporters), I watched in absolute horror at what transpired in Iraq. The terrorists never got hold of the WMDs: hell, there were no WMDs to start with. The UN became ever more critical of the USA and UK’s role in invading/liberating/destroying the country.

At school, I was berated by a friend demanding to know why I still blindly supported the invasion, in spite of it achieving only chaos and damaging our reputation the world over? “Because Blair is a man of integrity”, came my true-believer’s response.


Salmond sat looking smug as ever, his quadruple-chinned grin now so wide my parents needed a 32-inch TV just to broadcast it. The people of Scotland opposed this most costly and pointless of wars, he said, but Blair and Westminster went ahead with it to suit their own agenda. He was annoying me more than ever by this stage, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on why. Was it because he refused to see Blair’s way of thinking? Was it just that he was really fat?

I went off to Uni still believing Blair to the creator of all mankind, but change was afoot . At a pub gathering for the student newspaper, I found myself in a discussion with a Glaswegian student from a Pakistani family, who pointed out the endless flaws of the invasion while reminding me that Blair instigated it and the Tories backed it to the hilt. We ended up having a number of face-to-face duels about the war, and each time I felt less and less confident about my footing.

How on earth could I continue to defend an illegal invasion of a sovereign country, with no follow-up security plan or exit strategy? The man debating with me had no specific connection to Iraq, but his family had travelled from Asia to make a living here, and I was increasingly humbled by his intelligence, joined-up thinking and attention to detail on the subject of foreign affairs.

How could I hope to compete with his arguments when my single line of attack essentially boiled down to, “But the Daily Record told me Blair’s a good guy!”

The game was up: I had been sold a dummy, and fallen for it hook line and sinker, if you’ll forgive the mixed metaphor. In my desperation to be a left-winger, I’d overlooked one vitally important detail: New Labour weren’t left-wing. They’d worked out that to win elections in the rigid first-past-the-post Westminster system, all you had to do was position yourself a smidgeon less right-wing than the Tories.

Success was more plausible in the right-wing seats of South-East England, and virtually guaranteed elsewhere in the UK. After all, unless Hell froze over and the Lib Dems secured a crushing general election victory, there was no left-wing alternative left, anywhere. Was there?


In May 2007, I sat despondent in the student bar, staring into a horrific Tennents Ember and wondering what the hell had happened to my country. We had just voted in the SNP to government. The bloody ESSENNPEE!

I still didn’t get it, although it was staring me in the face by then. Labour had lost the plot in a desperate attempt to court the right-wing majority of South-East England, and the SNP had seamlessly plugged the gaping hole in the left wing of Scottish politics. Through my obsession with the views of the red-top tabloids in Glasgow and London, I had convinced myself that the SNP were a one-policy anti-English party of loonies, bampots and Braveheart-loving racists.

By 2012, my mind had opened. I still backed Labour, although I had learned not to take the deranged ramblings of the printed press at face value. I was willing to give the Tory-Lib Dem Coalition some time to win me over, but was naturally sceptical of such a right-leaning, openly austerity-driven Government. The SNP minority government in Edinburgh had won my (begrudging) trust for now, and having secured a stunning landslide victory in 2011, there was due to be a historic referendum on independence.

Oh aye, the ‘I’ word. I can’t even remember what I felt about Scottish nationalism by this stage, perhaps suggesting that I didn’t have strong leanings one way or t’other. I had just met the beautiful woman who was to become my wife, and ranting about politics all day wasn’t my main concern anymore. I still felt that Salmond was a bit of a buffoon though, parading around with his Saltire and his arrogance and his fatness.

Thankfully, I had my wedding day to look forward to, and afterwards we could settle down in Glasgow and live the life we always dreamed of, together.

Then this happened.


Just months before the biggest day of our lives, we learned that the Tories were actively planning to draft a law that would guarantee splitting up thousands of married couples. The premise was the usual chaotic and nonsensical right-wing cry: a toxic blend of “too many immigrants are coming over here” and “the benefit cheats are stealing all our taxes”.

Apparently I’d committed the cardinal sin of getting a job below a new magical threshold (arbitrarily set at £18,600), and in the eyes of the UK state, my marriage was likely to be blighted by benefit claims as a result. For this, I was to be punished: my wife sent back 8,000 miles across the globe, separating us for an unknown period, and all so a few bigots in the Home Counties could breathe more easily for a few months, safe from the evil of “immigrants” who already lived here.

Now at this point, you may be thinking a number of things. Firstly, perhaps, what in the blue hell gives politicians in south-east England the right to split up a marriage in Scotland? For that, you can thank the Act of Union. Scotland has had its own legal system, its own NHS and its own education policy since day one, but apparently some things are best left to the UK to deal with.

When Westminster gave us back our Parliament in 1999, it opted to keep control of immigration policy, for reasons I didn’t bother investigating at the time. As Theresa May and Damien Green bluffed their way through the House of Commons with a bunch of lies about people’s cats as they fast-tracked a law guaranteed to destroy families, I was starting to ‘get it’, at long last.

You might also be wondering why I gave up on the Union so quickly after the visa policy was introduced. There was, after all, still the great left-wing hope known as the Labour Party. I’d spent most of my life supporting Labour, and the Union, and when the Coalition lost their mind and rushed through the new laws, I waited for signs of resistance from the official leaders of Her Majesty’s Opposition.

In the meantime I scoured politicians’ Twitter accounts for their views. The SNP were up in arms, arguing that the changes would severely hurt funding to Scottish universities (because international students bringing in over £20,000 each to the local economy is probably quite a good thing). The Scottish Greens had turned a little bit purple with rage at this assault on the basic human right of a married couple to live together in their home country. The Scottish Socialist Party were apoplectic too.

Three left-wing parties, all based in Scotland, all explicitly opposed to the racist new laws, and… interestingly, all  of them involved in the independence movement. Hmm, must be a coincidence, right?

I waited and waited for some sort of response from Labour. Surely this was an open goal for them? The idea of splitting up legitimate and loving marriages because you think they might suddenly start sponging off the state wouldn’t be out of place in Nazi literature in the ’30s, yet it now formed the core policy of the UK Government, and seemed to be unopposed by the official opposition, at least in England.

I was dumbfounded by now: I knew about the success of the National Front in the 1960s and 70s, and England’s brief flirtation with the fascist views of the BNP, but this was state-sponsored racism against innocent people.

(These were solid, lasting marriages: one of the people forced to leave the UK was a Doctor at Glasgow University poised to start his career as a lecturer and who had contributed to the economy for 14 years since moving from California. He’d been married to his Scottish wife for six of those years, and was only below the salary threshold because he was completing his PhD at the time. A foreign sponger?)

Of course, the English/Welsh Green Party were against the changes. But who cares about them when the UK media are in thrall to this charming bloke?


It took some doing, considering my life-long scepticism, but I am now in absolutely no doubt that only independence can create the sort of country I want to spend my life in. When the skew of south-east English politics is so right-wing that the official Labour response to racist visa laws is to dither then meekly move even further right, I feel like weeping.

It’s not just about the xenophobic spouse-visa laws, horrific as they are: it’s the entire direction, rhetoric and priorities of the three Westminster parties. It’s the way they hopelessly pander to rags like the Daily Mail, safe in the knowledge that Paul Dacre has got most of the Home Counties wrapped round his little finger.

It’s the desperation of Labour to turn as far right as they possibly can to attempt to snatch back the votes that UKIP nicked from them, with no regard for the lives of ordinary people. It’s the thirst for war abroad (oddly, the only time Westminster prefers to engage with “foreigners”).

It’s the privatisation of the NHS. It’s the creation of the Bedroom Tax, a policy so indescribably stupid and destructive that I’m not sure Nigel Farage himself could have dreamt it up. It’s the unwavering lip-service to Trident, a pointless £100bn vanity project that saves no lives and never will.

It’s the never-ending torrent of abuse from broadcasters and media barons that Scotland is subsidised by Westminster, when in fact it’s been the other way around since the year dot.

I thank God almighty that Scotland tends to see through most of this garbage. In 14 years, our Parliament has ring-fenced free higher education, introduced free prescriptions, guaranteed free bus passes for pensioners and eye tests for all, banned public smoking and invested in renewable energy – alright, maybe a few too many windfarms, but nobody’s perfect, right?

The political skew of Scotland is the complete opposite of SE England, and has been for most of our lifetimes. We’ve not come close to voting for a Tory majority in half a century. While the South-East (or large swathes of it, anyway) think of Thatcher as some kind of deity, we still choose to vote in centre-left parties, and as Labour have moved to the right, the SNP have moved left to carry the baton, so to speak.

There’s only one thing I think we’re still struggling to get to grips with: the subsidy myth. Having rejected the Tories and every right-wing lie they spout, we appear to have been duped by the biggest lie of all: that Scotland lacks a decent economy.

Now perhaps I’m viewing this through Saltire-tinted spectacles, but would anyone like to explain why Europe’s largest oil producer would struggle as an independent country? Or why a country with 25% of the EU’s renewable energy potential would struggle to keep the power on?

Oh aye, that’s right – we’ll not be in the EU, will we? Because why on earth would the EU be so charitable as to let us stay? All EU products will be removed from supermarkets the day after the vote: French students will be rounded up and sent to Glasgow Airport in vans: fleets of Spanish fishermen will be turned back in the North Atlantic, their radios crackling an indistinct message about “SEPARASHUN!”

And what of the English? Well, obviously they’ll have to go as well. Border controls will be installed along the Cheviots, with G4S on the lookout for any foreigners coming over from Carlisle. It’ll probably look a little something like this border:


Oh sorry, must have uploaded the wrong picture. I meant this one.


If I vote No, I would effectively be saying that I’m “Better Together” with the UK state than with my wife. I would be giving the Conservative Party and their Labour/Lib Dem impersonators carte blanche to rip us out of the EU, demonise anyone with disabilities, close the doors to millions of talented migrants in the future and, eventually, privatise our NHS. I’d be handing the UK Parliament the keys to my country and saying, “Go on guys, give it your best shot. And be careful with the oil money! Remember how you lost it down the back of the sofa last time.”

In short, I’d be stark raving bonkers.

Next September isn’t a choice between change and the status quo; it’s a fork in the road between two political paths of complete opposites. Do we let a right-wing parliament continue to steal our generous bounty of wealth and natural resources, choosing to believe the lie that we’re actually receiving scroungers’ handouts? Or do we take control of our own affairs, vote in the centre-left parties that we’ve evidently always wished for – in spite of relentless right-wing lies being flung at us by the UK state – and decide our own path, like all normal countries?

After years of trying to work out my lifelong problem with Alex Salmond, it’s now fairly obvious what irked me as a childhood Labour supporter: the guy’s right about most things. His Government is more left-wing than Blair’s New Labour ever were, or Miliband’s One Nation Labour could ever hope to be. A Yes vote can finally end the absurdity of Labour attempting to hammer innocent people across Britain on a “something for nothing” message while still attempting to win elections in left-leaning Scotland.

It’s little wonder to me that the No campaign wants to sandbag the debate at every turn, because if they become embroiled in an open discussion with the Yes campaign and the people of Scotland, their lies will unravel in an instant, just like they did for me and so many new Yes voters.

Somehow, against all the odds and my own worst fears, I was recently reunited with my wife in Scotland. I’m one of the lucky ones, but I’m aware that as we celebrate a fresh start in our marriage, tens of thousands of British people are unable to celebrate.

Husbands are waving goodnight to their wives over Skype. Mothers and fathers are in floods of tears over the phone as they attempt to deal with life without their children. Families are being ripped apart and scattered across the globe, all for the sake of a few less angry letters to some MP’s office in Kent from racist bigots who just happen to live in one of the handful of swing constituencies that effectively get to determine the entire UK government by themselves.

All of that and much worse is to come if we vote No. And no amount of daft lies in the Scotsman or the Express about our public finances will ever make me more fearful than when the UK Government, essentially a foreign dictatorship north of the Watford Gap, single-handedly split up my marriage in Scotland.

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195 to “Lifting the veil”

  1. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    Fabulous piece. Should go into every home

  2. setondene says:

    I hear Alex Salmond has lost 2 stone.  That should help with the nasty insults.  Personally I could never understand why people were so taken by the Blair Labour government, though I must admit getting rid of the Tories was a huge relief at the time.  I’ve never believed in Labour.  It might be something to do with my mother being born in a single end in the East End of Glasgow in 1920, telling me how her people had to bribe their local Labour councillors with ‘key money’ to get out of the slums and into council houses.  Her family were too poor.  Or my homeless 68 year old father having a heart attack after being told his family had been taken off the council house waiting list because of some change in Labour policy towards tenants of tied houses.  Nothing changes with the corrupt Labour Party, and nothing ever will change. To hell with them.

  3. Training Day says:

    Excellent stuff, Scott.  Articulate, heartfelt and powerful.
    You realise of course that Foulkes, Tom Gordon et al will claim that you were never a Labour supporter but simply an ‘SNP front’?

  4. kininvie says:

    Love the energy and the anger.  Great stuff.

  5. Gypsy Laird says:

    Aye Tony Blair did release us from 18 years of Tory rule but unfortunately he had to become a Tory to stop the Tories.

  6. muttley79 says:


    Next September isn’t a choice between change and the status quo; it’s a fork in the road between two political paths of complete opposites. Do we let a right-wing parliament continue to steal our generous bounty of wealth and natural resources, choosing to believe the lie that we’re actually receiving scroungers’ handouts? Or do we take control of our own affairs, vote in the centre-left parties that we’ve evidently always wished for – in spite of relentless right-wing lies being flung at us by the UK state – and decide our own path, like all normal countries?
    Could not have put it better myself.

  7. HighlandMart says:

    Well written. Iraq too was my Damascus moment.

  8. southernscot says:

    Welcome to the enlightened. Scott
    Excellent by the way

  9. Dan Huil says:

    An excellent article.I think many people will have travelled the same road and now plan to vote Yes.

  10. creigs17707repeal says:

    Powerful, powerful stuff, Scott. Brought a tear to my eyes at points. But as one who once believed in the Labour Party and its socialist values, I can see now that there is no hope for it in the UK as it has sold its socialist values to the right-wing electorate of Middle England. I am so happy that you and your wife are now together again. And happy too that we have both, finally, ‘seen the light’.
    YES Scotland.

  11. christopher donohue says:

    Scott, your journey has been and is being followed by an increasing number of Scots.  When you cut through the ‘fear’ crap it is a no-brainer. YES in 2014.

  12. Stevie Mach says:

    Excellent article, well written and poignant, makes you wonder why anyone would want to vote No. A YES vote is the only hope for Scotland.

  13. Keef says:

    Scott, I’m so glad you were able to write you got your wife back. What’s more I’m so glad you seem to have got your sense of reason back as well.

    It’s sad that it took such a personal tragedy before you were able to see sense and work out you had been sold pup.

    It is dismaying to learn though that it took such a personal tragedy like the wrenching of your loved one from your arms before you saw sense, as it now makes me wonder how much harder is it to turn ‘no’ voters who have not suffered half as much as yourself. It fair brings it home just how much of a job there is to do to turn other died-in-the-wool labour voters, who unlike yourself are still living the dream of New Labour as being their saviours.
    I know Morag hates the word conspiracy. But there is no doubt about it that the Westminster elite are conspiring together to lie, cheat and defraud the hard working people of Britain. The McCrone report, the illegal wars, the banks bailout, the bedroom tax and the concerted effort to stymie the aspirations of the Scottish nation’s push for Independence. They are all part of a concerted effort to wage a class war, which, if they succeed will leave countless millions more in desperate poverty.
    There is so many reason to vote YES, many more reason to dare not vote no, yet where is the landslide of voters wishing to see this happen? I must confess I’m baffled.

  14. Thank you Scott for sharing your journey with us. It’s really good to know that eyes everywhere are being opened to the lies we are taught.
    On a personal note, I say good night to my girlfriend every night on Skype and almost certainly will be for the forseeable future. I’m an artist and so is she, however she is from the US. We’ll never be together as long as Westminster continues to be in power over us. I spend a good deal of every day trying not to think about that.
    I am doing all that I can to secure a Yes vote. ‘Tooth and nail’ and all that. My personal life only adds an extra focus to my drive. We will win this.

  15. Craig Stewart says:

    Loved your article.

    I’m dating a Brazilian girl now who’s soon to become my fiancé (I hope) and seeing the crap she’s had to put up with just to stay here in the UK (London for now…) is insulting. She’s supported herself the entire decade and more she’s been here, never been in trouble, paid her taxes and never claimed benefits. To think she might have been harassed in a tube station by the border agency just because she has a better tan than most makes me sad and keen to move North of the border again ASAP…

  16. Moujick says:

    One of the things that strikes me about this excellent piece is that despite considering myself to be a bit of a political geek, I had no idea that things like this were happening. This story needs to be shared and shared widely.

  17. Craig Stewart says:

    Was just thinking, we should start a collection of articles detailing our own transitions to the Yes side. There must be some fascinating stories out there and it would give us valuable insights into the things that can sway minds and help shine the light on them. 🙂

  18. HandandShrimp says:

    Many of us have come through the Labour Party and Trade Union route to realise that the political imperatives of Britain and in particular the centre ground in the marginals in England will never allow us to build the kind of country we want. I was dismayed when Blair did not repeal the many iniquitous Thatcher anti-Union laws, privatisations and economic policies. To be fair to Blair he rightly identified that by making Labour a centre right party he was hitting all the buttons in the key marginals in the south of the country. It would also be fair to say that centre right was where Blair was most comfortable politically.
    I was unhappy but still a Labour voter in 2001. The whole Bush Blair Iraq Dr Kelly and all the rest of it did for me. There were highlights of Old Labour like Cook’s resignation speech and I still had pangs but Old Labour were shunted to a siding to rust. I suppose it was easier for me because I was an enthusiastic pro-devolution supporter and I never had the visceral hatred of the SNP that some in Labour had developed. I never bought the SNP let Thatcher in nonsense in 79. The recessions and winter of discontent with the steadily rising unemployment statistics did that. The election had to happen in 79 and the month was incidental. Thatcher should have had one term as people realised she was horrible and the recession was not of the UK’s doing but Labour imploded and divided. That had nothing to do with the SNP. 
    Interesting article and one I am sure will strike a chord with many.  

  19. Papadocx says:

    Just watched Ming on Daily politics. Very sad, he gibbered and mumble trying to defend tolly defence paper on independence. Actually felt very sorry for him.  impressed by Keith brown!

  20. cath says:

    Great article. What the government is doing with marriages hasn’t had nearly enough coverage. It’s disgusting. A guy spoke at the SNP conference last year on how, had that rule been in place 30 years ago, he wouldn’t be alive today as his parents didn’t meet the salary criteria for being allowed to be married and stay in the UK.
    It’s a truly mind-bogglingly dreadful and inhumane policy and if the only UK-wide opposition party won’t talk about it and condemn it, it just won’t get talked about.

  21. Alan MacD says:

    Cheers Scott, 
    Cracking piece, any chance i can get your email adress? Or could you possibly pass it on for me Rev.
    Im gonna be in the same position regarding the marriage thing and i was wondering if i could ask you a couple questions to someone who has gone through the process.
    Le Durachdan.

  22. sionnach says:

    Excellent piece, Scott: very powerful, and very moving. Should be mandatory reading for all those “don’t knows” out there.

  23. david says:

    alex salmond was never fat. well built

  24. Tony Little says:

    Excellent, Scott. I only recently read about the anti-family policies of the Tories (my wife is also non-EU) and this has prevented me from immediately returning to the UK.  (We are happy where we are in any case, but I had hoped to return for the vote – not sure now).  My belief is that a newly iScotland would have a far more rational immigration / citizenship policy and I for one will be applying for Scottich citizenship for myself, my wife, and our young son on the 19th September!!

    Like Alan I need to find out more information for our family.
    Hail Alba

  25. JLT says:

    I mistrusted Blair from day dot. Those manic eyes. I knew there was something odd about him when he first took control of the Labour Party.
    Well …now we all know!
    I pray that one day, that Blair will be dragged into the Hague for war crimes. I really do.
    And to Scott. Great piece mate. The main thing is, at the end, we do get a happy ending. Glad you have been reunited with your wife. Best wishes to the pair of you for the rest of your days together. Cheers again.

  26. liz says:

    @Moujick -I am the same. I had no idea that this was even happening.
    It just goes to prove, if any were needed, the lack of decent journalism in this country since the BBC in it’s heyday would have had a great story on this.
    @Keef – I agree with this about die-hard Labour supporters.
    I have mentioned a few times about people I know, you are smart, intelligent, well educated and computer literate who also hate AS and will not vote for indy for that reason.
    Thanks you to Scott Lewis for your article, I’m glad it worked out for you.

  27. GP Walrus says:

    Independence makes sense, when you come to think about it.

  28. Luigi says:

    Excellent article.  Many more veils have to be lifted before September 2014, however.
    Personal journeys to the YES side are moving and fascinating – a group of these stories could be combined to make an excellent book, if any publishers are interested – a potential best-seller, in Scotland and even around the world!

  29. Linda's Back says:

    Brilliant stuff

    Mind set of Labour MPs exemplified by Brian  Donohoe on BBC Scotland re nationalisation of Prestwick Airport as four times he referred to the Scottish Exec rather than bring himself to say the Scottish government.

    Some months ago I recall the CEO of Prestwick saying the airport would thrive under independence but this was of course little reported.

    Part of the explanation lies in the destruction of indigenous Scottish entrepreneurship following the nationalisation of Scottish industry by Westminster governments after the war, and the transfer of their corporate HQs to London. For example, plans by Prestwick-based Scottish Airlines – then one of the biggest private airlines in the world – to create a global network were shattered when its scheduled routes were handed over to new, Heathrow-centric nationalised services.

    Calls by Scottish MPs and chambers of commerce to have local control of public industries devolved to Edinburgh were summarily rejected.

  30. Albalha says:

    Maybe I watch too much news but from BBC to Channel 4 there has been coverage of this since before its introduction. A few articles here.

  31. jim mitchell says:

    Ah that picture at the top, remember their election theme tune, ‘It can only get better’ ?

    I have never heard any journalist tackle them on why that turned out to be such a lie.

    I can also recall talking to Labour supporting neighbours of mine just prior to Blairs first victory and pointing out to them that even some of the stuff he was spouting then was pure Tory, to may amazement several of them actually told me, he has to say that to get elected, but it will be different once Labour are in’, I tried saying but they have to keep on doing these things if they want to stay in, but it fell on deaf ears, I reckon the Iraq thing was the deciding factor for many labour folk.

    I would be interested to hear from any of those who have been honest enough to say that they once believed in Blair, if they too believed that line and if so where were they getting it from.

  32. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Was just thinking, we should start a collection of articles detailing our own transitions to the Yes side.”

    Um, what do you think the “Perspectives” series is?

  33. Barry Blust says:

    Well written!!  Such a contrast to those who are running about fearful of losing some of their wealth.  We can only be wealthy as Scotland!  And it will take hard work and determination every day!

  34. scaredy cat. says:

    Excellent piece Scott. Thanks for sharing your story. My other half isn’t British either but he is from another EU country.What scares me about a no vote is the so-called In/Out referendum. How many more families would be torn apart if we were pulled out of the EU?

  35. Macart says:

    Excellent post Scott and on behalf of fat SNP members everywhere, welcome aboard. 🙂

  36. Murray McCallum says:

    Great article Scott and here’s hoping we end this madness of outsourcing our national decision making.

  37. AyeRight says:

    Born again patriot ?
    Somebody stole your scone ?
    If this is what’s coming down the line to Scotland, God help us. I don’t know what the hell you were “reading” at university son, but I doubt you’ve ever heard on the Enlightenment. Maybe you think Burns just wrote wee stories about mice and daisies and Jimmy Reid, (Power Without Principals), was just a fitter in a shipyard.
    Hope you can decipher the Independence referendum ballot paper and stick your cross in the right box. 

  38. Albalha says:

    I voted for them in ’97, not again though, as a way to rid of the Tories, didn’t expect too much, after all they’d make clear before the vote they’d be continuing Tory spending for at least two years.
    I never voted Labour in other elections, council etc.
    But there’s no doubt after the domination of Tories in my life, by that point, then yes, like many others, I was very happy Labour won that night.

  39. Gary S says:

    The best piece I’ve seen on the subject, this article should be seen by a wide readership

  40. Andrew Morton says:

    “Go on guys, give it your best shot. And be careful with the oil money! Remember how you lost it down the back of the sofa last time.”

    Cracked me up!

    My mother was born in Aberdeen but forced to grow up in Essex in the 20s and 30s. She came back as soon as she could and thanks to her I was always of the belief that we had had our statehood stolen from us in 1707 and that we should claim it back as soon as possible. She is 95 now and it would be nice to think that she’d live long enough to see it come home again.

    Regarding Tony Blair giving us devolution, his remark that the Scottish Parliament was nothing more than a glorified parish council tells us everything we need to know about his attitude. I always enjoyed Billy Connolly’s jokes until he referred to it as “the wee pretendy parliament”, i notice his Scottish holiday home is now up for sale. Has he seen the writing on the wall?

  41. Chani says:

    Scott, as a long time lurker on this site, your piece has moved me to write my maiden comment simply to thank you for writing such a superb article. I don’t think I have enjoyed reading an article so much in a long time. You hit right on the head when you say “Next September isn’t a choice between change and the status quo; it’s a fork in the road between two political paths of complete opposites.”

    Thanks again for writing this, I will be sharing it with as many as I can.

  42. Wee_monsieur says:

    Brilliant piece, Scott. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  43. Keef says:

    As is often is the case, your greatest strength; can also be your greatest weakness. Eck fully realises this.
    The poor guy is making the ultimate sacrifice for Scotland’s welfare by half starving himself to death in order to project a leaner, more likable leader.
    You can’t help but admire his conviction to the cause. He is leaving no stone unturned in order to achieve that magic 51%.
    As the fat lady is singing, it will be the people who voted YES. I have to say there are many obstacles in his way, but I’m fully convinced Eck will be the major contributor in delivering Scotland that independence confirmation.

  44. Juan Pablo Del Roomigrant says:

    Thank you for writing this piece.

    I’m sure I read of it happening, maybe last year.

    How do the perpetrators manage to keep these stories from mainstream?

    I though it was bad for me with my ever more demanding bedroom tax bully of a landlord.

    Independence is inevitable.

  45. HandandShrimp says:

    I stayed up that night in 1997 and danced a jig of happiness such was my joy to see the demise of Lilley and Portillo and others who were increasingly pushing Major further and further to the right. God knows what would have happened if they had won again. The disappointment was a slow burn fuse and it did take 6 years but the path that was cleared is straight and the destination in sight. We need to control our own affairs from here on.  

  46. Pure Random says:

    If only your average Scot was picking up a copy of Wings Over Scotland to catch up on the news on their way to work. This is the stuff that matters. Excellent piece my friend

  47. Mosstrooper says:

    @Aye Right,
    WTF have you been smoking? you complete and utter divot.

    Are you attacking Scott Lewis, for expressing a heart felt opinion? This sounds like so much typical BT pish, don’t have a rational argument so attack the person.

    What a sad person you are. 

  48. Shinty says:

     i notice his Scottish holiday home is now up for sale. Has he seen the writing on the wall?

    I believe he is unwell – Parkinson’s/Cancer I think.

  49. Andrew Morton says:

    Ayeright is a shining example of the sort of view which has kept us bemused for so long. It’s a shining example of ‘Ye’re stupit ye wee bampot. If ye dinnae think like me ye’re a loony.’

    Classic deflection tactics to invoke the enlightenment.

  50. theycan'tbeserious says:

    I must admit my ignorance regarding this policy and it’s impact on peoples lives and families. Thank you for that and yet another reason to vote YES. Good luck!

  51. desimond says:

    A great read.
    I remember the night Blair was elected, oh how we championed that feeling of HOPE. Its similar now with Eck and Nicola, similar but different. This time its HOPE plus FAITH plus INTEGRITY.  We know the YES campaign mainstays have got to this point due to true hard work in the best of interests, not in self interests like Blair and his backers.

    Im still confused in respect to why parties like the Tories and the Lib Dems oppose Independence. They have enjoyed representation levels and influence ( budget deals etc) at Holyrood they could only dream off under FPTP and I would expect they would appreciate further influence on power if available. Unless they have been told this would be bad for Westminster of course…thats the only possible reason I can gather. 

  52. Andrew Morton says:

    “The comedian now spends most of his time at his apartment in New York but recently said he was considering moving to the south coast of England.

    He said: “I’ve been a moving target for a long, long time. It suits me lovely, but recently I’ve been thinking about moving back to Britain. I don’t know why but it’s been calling on me. I just feel this tug, it keeps coming into my mind. I thought about Brighton a lot. ”
    The Scotsman

  53. Tasmanian says:

    What the fucking fuckery fuck is this law about breaking up married couples? And why haven’t I heard of it before tonight? Those fucking shitbag bastards in Westminster! If I was still living in England, fucking hell, it wouldn’t take a big personal crisis for me to do something drastic which would probably result in a lot of new firearms legislation. Perhaps it’s best I live on the opposite side of the world.

    I never usually swear (when other people can hear me anyway), sorry – I’m deeply shocked and disturbed by this rule. Thank God I have a second nationality.

  54. NorthBrit says:

    Just as well you didn’t go ad hominem yourself in your reasoned response to AyeRight’s post.
    While it’s interesting to see Scott’s article he’s not setting out a particularly admirable record of enlightened thought.  I was also hoping we might learn how to exorcise the legion of SLab believers.
    All that I’ve learned from the above is that despite around twenty solid years of evidence showing that SLab were a monstrous blight on Scotland this lucid and university educated chap only decided not to vote for them (and even that’s not clear) when the UK decided to deport his wife.
    At the risk of being pessimistic, there’s not even 20 months to go to the referendum and it’s reasonably unlikely that David Cameron is going to threaten to deport the spouses of all SLab supporters in the intervening period.

  55. Luigi says:

    I remember discussing New Labour and Tony Blair with an old Labour man in Aberdeen, about 20 years ago.  When I suggested that they appeared to be no different from the tories, he went purple with rage.  “They’re no tories, they are completely different” was the response.  If that old guy is still around, I wonder what he is thinking now.

  56. DMyers says:

    I told a Labour canvasser in 1997 that I didn’t trust Blair.  Six years later I was proven correct.

  57. david says:

    i get the same impression as northbrit. better late than never is my motto. im sure many more will sway to yes for different reasons. alland  any reason for voting yes is good

  58. Craig P says:

    Excellent polemic Scott and glad you are reunited with your wife. Have to say that is a new reason to me to vote yes.

  59. Tasmanian says:

    More calmly now – I was about 17 in 2003. I remember thinking, “I’m sure the British Prime Minister knows what he’s doing. He has access to the British intelligence services, the best in the world! If his judgement is that we need to invade Iraq, we should definitely support him in this.”

    Such a letdown, such a massive letdown, to realise he was at best misled by faulty information he didn’t understand the details of, at worst actively colluding to mislead to invade for another agenda.

    It’s quite cathartic to watch “The Trial Of Tony Blair” when I remember too much of this period.

  60. Bubbles says:

    @ Scott Lewis
    Like other posters I was also not aware of this policy and it’s disgraceful. That’s a fantastic piece you’ve written there and I’m going to make damn sure the Filipinos I know who are not intending to vote next year get a chance to read this. We are the future!
    @ AyeRight
    who are you aiming that rant at?

  61. Michael Laing says:

    Excellent article, but I found the repeated references to Mr Salmond’s fatness irrelevant and thoroughly offensive.

  62. Jamie Arriere says:

    I am standing and applauding, and will be for the next 10 minutes.

  63. Dcanmore says:

    Excellent article Scott, thank you. The whole marriage thing was an eye opener for me.
    Rev, I have to say this series of ‘Perspective’ articles have been outstanding. 

  64. Garve says:

    My son lives in Colorado with his American wife. If he wanted to bring her back here to live in the Highlands he’d have to find a job earning £18,600. That’s a lot harder to do here, where jobs are scarce and average wages are lower than, for instance London.

    The Coalition’s policy is therefore not just stupid, but actively discriminates against people from Scotland and other parts of the UK outside the south-east of England. Its stupidity is doubled when you realise it makes it easier to come back to live in the overpopulated parts of the country, and harder in the underpopulated parts.

    In case that hasn’t made you angry enough, consider this. Sarah Teather, a Lib Dem MP has, to her great credit, said she will stand down from parliament at the next election, disgusted by the coalition’s stance on immigration. She said that when the policy was first considered, the Tories wanted to set the bar at £40,000!!! What kind of world do they live in?

    Young people nowadays often meet their spouses when on gap years, or over the internet, so this kind of situation will only increase.

    Scotland’s population has grown by 2% in the last 50 years, whereas that in the rest of the UK or the rest of the western world has grown by 10 times that and more. The UK’s immigration policy is written by the Daily Mail to suit the south of England. Scotland needs its own immigration policy and only independence will provide that.

    In part I’ll be voting Yes so that I have a chance that my not-yet-born grandchildren might grow up near to me, here in Scotland.

  65. G H Graham says:

    An historical review in the future might conclude that it was Tony Blair, a man that I am convinced, suffers from a deep narcissistic personality disorder, who kick started Scotland’s drive for independence.
    Feel free to tick all those symptoms you think apply …

    Has a grandiose sense of self-importance
    Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
    Believes that he or she is “special” and unique
    Requires excessive admiration
    Has a very strong sense of entitlement
    Is exploitative of others
    Lacks empathy
    Is often envious of others or believes others are envious of him
    Regularly shows arrogant, haughty behaviours or attitudes

  66. HandandShrimp says:

    It is fair observation because Scott is talking about how he read the Labour Red Tops and they really major of personal attacks on Salmond. So it is hardly surprising that Scott internalised them and they form part of his memories. Eck is looking much more dapper these days and it will be Carmichael that is viewed as the pie eater. 
    Lamont does this sort of personal attack all the time too. It is a refuge because Lamont has little to work with both in terms of material that will chime with the electorate or the wit to do anything with the little that might. Her attempts, like the land deal, just backfire horribly in her face making her look like a circus clown with an exploding cigar. So she is left spluttering “but..but…Eck is fat” Cue canned laughter from her back benches.  

  67. Shinty says:

    @Andrew Morton,
    Thanks for the update, I thought he still lived in London, and his recent diagnosis might be the reason he was selling his home in Scotland.

  68. Macart says:

    I think its safe to say we’ve all had that road to Damascus moment. An event or occurrence resulting in a polar shift of our political or world view. For some its a gradual realisation that we’ve been lied to over an extended period of time. For others it may be an idea they have been nursing for a long time yet lacked the confidence to take that final step and are girding themselves to dive in.
    Doesn’t matter a damn, just dae it. Have the confidence, make the governance happen which you believe you deserve. Make the difference, because just maybe your vote will be the one that makes +1.

  69. seoc says:

    Great article from many viewpoints.
    As the Home Counties of England continue to drift Right like tectonic plates, might this inevitably mean that they must meet with the former fascist thinking of total exploitation?

  70. Archie [not Erchie] says:

    @ Scott – Thanks for the article and having put the tissues back in the box I got a call and email from my Thai friend [Ex Aberdeen] now back in Thailand, wanting to know when can she come back so that we can be together again. Tissues back out. 🙁

  71. MochaChoca says:

    Scott, It is of course good that you have seen the light.

    To be honest though I find it worrying that it takes a personal crisis to make a NO voter really open their eyes rather than a desire for the greater good for our population in general.

    BTW, I’m another who has until reading this been completely unaware of this immigration policy, and it’s not as if I avoid the news.

  72. MochaChoca says:

    Re Connolly
    “I’ve been a moving target for a long, long time. It suits me lovely, but recently I’ve been thinking about moving back to Britain. I don’t know why but it’s been calling on me. I just feel this tug, it keeps coming into my mind. I thought about Brighton a lot. ” The Scotsman

    Maybe he said Brigton and it just confused the Scotsman Journo?

  73. benarmine says:

    To the few with any reservations – we’re going to have to welcome a lot more late conversions to Yes to win this thing so we’d better get damn well used to being gracious about it. Well done Scott.

  74. jim mitchell says:

    Now that ‘RED’ Ed is leading the Labour charge, there are still papers like the Daily Record who are trying to convince us that the old Labour/Tory feud is still in play.

    Isn’t it funny that except for the one’s like Scott Lewis, you can hardly find a labour member or supporter from that era who will now admit to being a Blairite, makes you wonder where he got all the support from.

  75. Keef says:

    Rev. Looks like a piece on this insidious policy of deporting spouses who earn under £18,600 would help enlighten a good few of your readers.

  76. The Rough Bounds says:

    Interesting article Scott. Just one or two wee things.

    Your memory is playing tricks. Alex Salmond wasn’t fat in 2007. He only really started to put the weight on after that.

    Tony Blair and the Labour Party didn’t give us our Parliament. We voted for it in a referendum. The British Government was told to get their act together by the Treaty of Amsterdam in 1997 and give the Scots a referendum.
    I sometimes wonder what it’s like to have a Damascene moment like that experienced by Scott. He makes it sound almost painful. I have always believed that Scotland was my country and that it would do perfectly well with independence.

    Perhaps the nearest I had to ‘the road to Damascus’ was when I was 13 and read an article in an American magazine that described the journey between Glasgow and Edinburgh as ‘travelling through the pleasant English countryside’.
    My birse got up. It was then that I wrote my first letter expaining that Scotland wasn’t England. That was in 1958.
    As for Labour, I knew in my guts that you couldn’t trust that bunch any more than you could trust the Tories or the Liberals. I joined the SNP in 1962.

  77. cath says:

    “I remember the night Blair was elected, oh how we championed that feeling of HOPE. Its similar now with Eck and Nicola, similar but different. This time its HOPE plus FAITH plus INTEGRITY.  We know the YES campaign mainstays have got to this point due to true hard work in the best of interests, not in self interests like Blair and his backers.”
    Agree entirely. It’s wholly different because Westminster politicians are flailing about trying to please focus groups and marginal seats in the south of England, or not to raise the ire of the media too much. None of them appear real, or to have any conviction – they simply want power for its own sake.
    The SNP and wider independence movement have brought us to this point through decades of slog, abusiveness, hard work and leadership. They have,  and are, bringing all that to bear to  try to win an argument and debate on a question they have democratically won the right to ask and have democratically brought to the Scottish people.  It’s the first time people in Scotland have ever been asked the question of how we want to be rule – successive Westminster governments have spent over 300 years making sure we could never be asked.
    I fail to understand people who have an irrational hatred of Salmond. For what reason? Because he won an election, is carrying out his manifesto promises and is bringing you a democratic chance to have a say on your future? For not privatising the NHS in Scotland, giving you free prescriptions, fighting to get Trident out your backyard? Because he’s saying the same things now as he was 20 or 30 years ago, and has done even when it wasn’t popular and his party were losing and had no hope of power? Or because you’ve fallen for a bunch of smears and guff in the media?

  78. edulis says:

    Scott, sometimes it takes a catharsis like your enforced separation to bring it all home. For me it was rather different. My first epiphany was when a Tanzanaian doctor friend of mine gave me the ‘Paul Scott’ version that before being an internationalist it is logical to be a nationalist. On spending 20 years down in England and often having to deal with the Establishment in London I realised that Scotland was simply not on the radar of Westminster Government and this was a matter which sat quite comfortably with the Unionist parties. Politicians, otherwise quite sensible people, such as Charles Kennedy and Russel Johnson were quite happy with that because it kept the SNP in their box and they knew that a large element of the Highland Liberal vote is a radical, anti- Laird vote and in its own way quite nationalist.

    When Labour got into power in 1997, I gave them the benefit of the doubt, thinking that all the Scots in the cabinet will be able to create a sensible cross-UK fairness, but I increasingly felt that to keep them primed I would 100% continue to vote SNP.

    Then it all happened: the McCrone Report, the stilted devolution proposals, the awful amateurish performance of the Scottish Executive, the Iraq War, the continuing privatisation agenda of the Blair government aided and abetted by Gordon Brown. I became convinced that any independent Scottish government were guaranteed to do better for Scotland than that lot.

    Then came the coup de grace of 2008 of the financial melt down and the shear incompetence of Alistair Darling and Gordon Brown playing to the root of our problems, by supporting the socialisation of the debt and the privatisation of profit, followed by their own bit of private accumulation of profit in the expenses scandal.

    Life under Westminster has been a disaster for Scotland for all of my life, but the Establishment, the MSM and particularly the BBC have been good at deflecting the real cause of all of this. We are in the last chance saloon. We simply must vote for independence.

  79. Seasick Dave says:

    I am always interested to hear stories like this as it is not always easy to change your viewpoint to that of the ‘other side’, particularly if you have been outspoken against them in the past.
    Thanks for the insight and a well written article, Scott.
    I wonder what made AyeRight come out with that brainfart though?
    Hopefully, none of his family are affected by this legislation.

  80. HandandShrimp says:

    To the few with any reservations – we’re going to have to welcome a lot more late conversions to Yes to win this thing so we’d better get damn well used to being gracious about it.
    I agree – our tent has to be broad and willing to take in all no matter how late to the party. This is not the time for the Popular Front of Judea stuff. Down that road lies madness.

  81. James Kay says:

    In part I’ll be voting Yes so that I have a chance that my not-yet-born grandchildren might grow up near to me, here in Scotland.

    What a wonderful put-down to anyone who fears that independence will make them and their families foreign to each other. Without independence, we have the situation where many of our families will being so foreign that they may not be allowed to live with us.

  82. Andrew Morton says:

    “I fail to understand people who have an irrational hatred of Salmond. For what reason?”

    i know a couple of people who are at the heart of the New Labour organisation (if you’ve watched The Thick of It you’ve seen fictionalised versions of them). Both very clever, very professional people not blinded by tribal hatred. I asked them why the tidal wave of abuse relentlessly directed at Alex Salmond by both the Labour Party and the media on both sides of the border.

    The reply was illuminating, “The problem we have is that Alex Salmond is the best politician in the UK today. He’s very clever, good both strategically and tactically, and, as a conviction politician, he’s not in it for himself. Despite the best efforts of both ourselves and the media we can’t find anything dirty about him and he has shown up Scottish Labour as being not very good. Our only tactic is to smear and name call and that’s what we’ve been doing. As for the media, in Scotland we own the media and the English media is happy to do it without being asked.”

    Ordinary Scots who swallowed the line their parents gave them (and most of us do) have become members of the tribe and the hardest thing to do is to leave the tribe. To accommodate facts which do not fit the tribal viewpoint is difficult, but how to explain them away? That’s where the Daily Record comes in.

  83. muttley79 says:

    I fail to understand people who have an irrational hatred of Salmond. For what reason? Because he won an election, is carrying out his manifesto promises and is bringing you a democratic chance to have a say on your future? For not privatising the NHS in Scotland, giving you free prescriptions, fighting to get Trident out your backyard? Because he’s saying the same things now as he was 20 or 30 years ago, and has done even when it wasn’t popular and his party were losing and had no hope of power? Or because you’ve fallen for a bunch of smears and guff in the media?
    I suspect a lot of it is down to the media.  Many people are affected by the coverage the media gives to politicians.  You just need to look back to before the 2010 general election, and the whole “Clegg mania” thing.  Seems laughable now, but he was the golden boy then.
    Some posters appear to have criticised Scott for not supporting independence earlier.  I am not sure that is helpful.  People take different ‘journeys’ to deciding to vote Yes.  The fact is we are behind in the polls with less than a year to go, and we need to persuade more people that a Yes vote is for the best. 

  84. benarmine says:

    I agree – our tent has to be broad and willing to take in all no matter how late to the party. This is not the time for the Popular Front of Judea stuff. Down that road lies madness.

    Right, and as this site becomes ever more widely read hopefully by those prepared to be converted it MUST be welcoming to all

  85. NorthBrit says:

    It would be nice if people would lay off AyeRight for expressing, however inelegantly, the view that perhaps Scott has been guilty of rather a lot of “heartfelt” and not very much “brain” during his Damascene journey.  
    E.g. if I’d spent the majority of my adult life as a member of the Church of Darkness because I felt Beelzebub to be a man of integrity I wouldn’t necessarily expect much in the way of congratulations on seeing the light (I appreciate that being compared to SLab in this way is potentially offensive to Beelzebub).

  86. DMyers says:

    @The Rough Bounds: I’m confused.  Which parts of the Treaty of Amsterdam brought about devolution?

  87. Gary Moyes says:

    An excellent piece. I would urge everyone eligible to vote next year to read this (shared on my own fb page to this end). It’s heartening to read an honest, human angle on what is turning into a horrible, bitter debate. The real facts are not to be found in the BBC or the British media. Dig a little deeper and the reality of what we face if we vote No next September is all too horribly apparent.

  88. HandandShrimp says:

    If people decide on the 17th Sept 2014 to vote Yes and do so that is good enough for me.

  89. Mosstrooper says:

    @North Brit
    So, no room for the prodigal son or the lost lamb in your philosophy.

  90. MajorBloodnok says:

    I see Edinburgh University’s Professor Peter Higgs has been awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics.  Too stupid, eh?

  91. Seasick Dave says:

    No irony there then 🙂

  92. Andrew Morton says:

    “@The Rough Bounds: I’m confused.  Which parts of the Treaty of Amsterdam brought about devolution?”

    It may have been the article concerning Subsidiarity.

  93. Mosstrooper says:

    @ the Major,
    AND he had a Scottish mother.

  94. Taranaich says:

    It’s stories like this which show how important the referendum is, and how regardless of the way Scotland votes, something has to change in the UK for the thousands of families which are being burdened with this sort of unnecessary, punishing financial pressure. There are a lot of immigrants in my family and circle of friends. My uncle’s married to a Kenyan, I’m acquainted with a Palestinian, a Rwandan, lots of Italians, English, Irish, and so forth. Therefore I can empathise with your situation greatly.
    Regarding Salmond, this is exactly the case with my grandparents. They’ve been Labour voters all their lives, but they’ve moved to SNP after getting sick of Blair and Iraq and everything. My granda in particular has had a Damascene moment when he realised the disparity between the media/govt saying Scotland would be defenseless: as a former Air Force man, he knows more than the average person about how the army works, and has watched in dismay as jobs were slashed and budgets cut, and Scotland’s coastline rendered more or less defenseless. He, like you, used to blame Salmond for all Scotland’s ills, shouting at the tele. But then something “clicked” in the past few weeks, and now he’s practically Salmond’s cheerleader. I think his disgust with Milliband was the tipping point more than anything.
    Myself? It was Kosovo. I was a very pacifist young’un, and I was dismayed at how ready Blair was to go to war right after the bombing campaign in Iraq (1998). Salmond, on the other hand, was vilified for NOT wanting to bomb the living daylights out of a small European country, and offering other possibilities. In his first six years, Blair led Britain into five wars – more than any other British Prime Minister. Think about that.

  95. muttley79 says:

    If people decide on the 17th Sept 2014 to vote Yes and do so that is good enough for me.
    To be honest I don’t care if people go in and have a change of heart at the ballot station, as long as enough people vote Yes.  Then we can start to change the nation for the better.  It does not matter if you have believed in independence for 60 years, 60 minutes, or even 6 seconds!  It all counts as one Yes vote anyway. 

  96. desimond says:

    Just realised the above picture of Tony Blair with finger in air…rife for a “Blair reveals Weapon of mass destruction!” gag

  97. liz says:

    @Andrew Morton – these people are absolutely despicable.
    They would rather that lies are told about AS and watch their own fellow countrymen suffer in all sorts of ways. The example mentioned about spouses being separated, the bedroom tax, the demonisation of the poor and the sick.
    How dare they – I hope you gave them a mouthful.

  98. MajorBloodnok says:

    It’s funny hearing Labour politicians pouring scorn on the argument that Scottish Independence means we’ll get the government we vote for (e.g. George Robertson at Abertay).  They portray it as a sort of tribal anti-Tory thing when really they want us to accept that our duty to the British state is to stop being so silly and just put up with the inconvenience.
    But the fact is that with the Tories, you get laws (not just policy statements or press releases) but actual laws like this which are basically coercive, brutal and uncivilised.  And I for one have had enough of that.

  99. Craig M says:

    It will be interesting to watch the reaction to Prestwick being taken into public ownership. Too left wing for Labour methinks?

  100. velofello says:

    Well done young man,a good read.

    Concerning Alex Salmon,could you envisage him endorsing the Scottish government to put into law the immigration laws that so affected you and your wife?This Scottish government that released Al Megrahi on compassionate grounds.Actions speak louder than words.

  101. david says:

    the last poll i looked at showed yes ahead by a point, the last 3 live debates ive watched were all won by the yes vote. yet i keep seeing comments stating blindly we are behind in these polls. evidence says otherwise

  102. Andrew Morton says:

    These people are professionals doing their jobs to the best of their ability. They’re not politicians. You might as well criticise an advertising agency for running an advert on behalf of their client. It’s important however that we know how it works and why what is happening is happening.

  103. kinghob says:

    03 mins and 24 seconds for an exclusive error (?) made during newsnight scotland on Moore’s sacking!

  104. MochaChoca says:

    Craig M,
    Dunno if he speaks for the party but Labour MP for Central Ayrshire Brian Donohoe seems to like the idea, to the point where he wanted to make sure he got in first to steal the DFM’s thunder on the announcement.

    I think it’s fantastic, Prestwick has quite a stategic importance and I think this could raise a few thorny issues between the Scottish and UK govts.

    Could this even herald the start of the Scottish government stamping some authority in Scotland beyond it’s Devolution remit?

  105. MajorBloodnok says:

    Another O/T
    But here is the cartoon in today’s Scotsman.  They clearly don’t fancy Alastair Carmichael’s chances much against our Nicola….

  106. proudscot says:

    But surely, all you backslider former Labour supporters, after Blair fell from grace and the scales fell from your eyes, Gordon and Alistair came along to save The Party … er … or maybe not … I’ll get ma coat …

  107. Semus says:

    I read that the Scottish Parliament was forced on Bliar or the UN would want to look at the lack of democracy in Scotland and Wales, and that the UK would have to be put on ice as an EU member unless “something” was done.I read this on The UN Scottish Committee, or am I just glaikit.Because Blair hates us and the surrender of any power or ha’apenny.

  108. Archie [not Erchie] says:

    @ Albalha – A very interesting link indeed but my eye was caught by the most recent Immigration News tab and in support of your own link and the general tenor of Scott’s article this link from the same site scares the BeJesus out of me.

  109. Andy-B says:

    Good piece Scott.
    Im glad you’ve seen the light, and independence hopefully will turn Labour into the party they should have been, a party Keir Hardy would have been proud of.

  110. Erchie says:

    I know one fairly Twitter active Unionist lawyer said something that seemed to suggest he was trying to find a way that the taking into public ownership of Prestwick would be unlawful

  111. HenBroon says:

    Aye right said: “but I doubt you’ve ever heard on the Enlightenment.”
    The enlightenment certainly missed your house son. If you cannot even review what your write and use basic grammar, why do you think you can have a pop at some one who has laid out in stark terms the journey that many of us took after Iraq?
    You appear to be trying to use the old unionist red herring that Scotland would never have amounted to any thing without England. It is the other way around. But I doubt you have ever heard OF the Aliens Act.

  112. Andy-B says:

    O/T Rev I do apologise.
    Here we have legendary armed forces cutter Phil Hammond, spouting his diatribe of how Scotland proposed armed forces will be a big burden on our expenses.
    Considering we have no Frigates to protect Scotland just now, they come from Devenport, I find Mr Hammonds attitude condescending to say the least.

  113. Jimsie says:

    It is indeed very sad what the Labour party has become. One of the founders James Keir Hardie ( born in Holytown ) was a professed home ruler. He must be turning in his grave today at the right wing machinations of the present day Labour crowd who are the real Tartan Tories. Excellent piece young man, my only reservation being how any reasonably intelligent person would buy the Record or the Sun.

  114. Gray says:

    Hard to believe people are still swallowing the old behind in the polls myth.

  115. Jeannie says:

    Oh Scott – what a wonderful piece you’ve written.  So glad you and your wife are together again.  It’s such a heartbreak to be separated.  I usually think of myself as reasonably politically aware, but I didn’t know about this law and the problems it’s causing.  Don’t know how I managed to miss it. 
    And thank you for outlining your journey to voting Yes.  It shows an admirable ability for self-reflection and questioning “received” wisdom and opinion. As Alex Salmond has said, “when the facts change, I change my mind”.  If only more people were willing to open their minds and do the same.

  116. Albalha says:

    Listening to NewsDrive and just heard an interview with the Acting Director of BAFTA Scotland say, “Sunshine on Leith, which will be released soon in Scotland”.
    One wonders about people at times, I saw it the other day, it’s already on Scotland wide release. Personally not my cup of tea, though knowing the locations fun to see someone get in a taxi in Glasgow’s Merchant City and ask for Morningside in Edinburgh. And other such things.
    Yes as I say didn’t really engage me.
    Anyway I know that’s way off topic, apologies.

  117. Thepnr says:

    Whether some like it or not the referendum will only be won by many traditional Labour voters like Scott making the switch from automatic No’s to Yes supporters. I appreciate that there are many of whom their whole lives have supported the SNP and Independence.
    Over the last decade though, the SNP’s support has swelled tremendously, the majority of new supporters have undoubtedly been brought over from the Labour side. For a great many folk it is difficult to abandon a philosophy and belief and handed down through the generations from your great grand-father right through to yourself.
    All Yes supporters of whatever political persuasion are to be welcomed at this time. 

  118. Jeannie says:

    @James Kay
    Without independence, we have the situation where many of our families will being so foreign that they may not be allowed to live with us.
    Isn’t that just the ultimate irony?  They argue we should vote No, because under independence your nearest and dearest in England will become foreigners.  And, at exactly the same time,  under the Union, your nearest and dearest, if they don’t come from an EU country, are being designated as and treated as …..yes, foreigners.  Right now!  Gawd, if that doesn’t just take the biscuit!

  119. ayemachrihanish says:

    Scot, Blair is, among other things, accused of misleading Parliament and at Nuremberg, in 1945-46, conspiracy to go to war was regarded  as the: ” the supreme international crime.”
    In theory, if one neutralise David Kelly’s expert evidence – then added in Alistair Campbell’s fake WND dossier – and then have Tony Blair tell the UK cabinet they did not need a full text of the Attorney Generals’ legal advice (a full text required under the ministerial code of conduct) because Lord Goldsmith had explained it to him in an oral presentation!  We talked about going to war and the AG says it’s okay!!
    Say that again! remove the cabinet from the Attorney Generals’ legal advice – and – then go to War!!
    Tony – that’s actually a head chopping off word that rhymes with reason – the “T” word!
    See you in court asap…  

  120. Hetty says:

    An excellent article, I just hope that some of the people that I know who are either undecided or ‘no’ and actually Labour supporters, will somehow read this and think again about their own convictions, about why they refuse to budge and why they still hate A. Salmond.

    I think to come to the conclusions that Scott did, is really admirable, it’s the folk who can’t admit that they are being led down the garden path and willingly not thinking for themselves about the consequences of a ‘no’ vote in this referendum, that worry me.

  121. NorthBrit says:

    Au contraire – although given the time elapsed he’s not just moved out of the lamb phase but possibly beyond the life span of mutton fit for human consumption (the sheep motif feels strangely relevant for reasons I can’t fathom). 
    I think the article is well written and probably the best “Perspectives” to wave at SLab supporters.
    @Seasick Dave
    None whatsoever 😉

  122. Andy-B says:

    i know this is an old piece, but I just couldnt stop thinking about Stewart Hosie’s brilliant oration and especially his comment on the USA buying all of the UK’s Harrier Jump Jets (74) to be precise.
    This debacle has left the UK in the position of having no aircraft for its almost built aircraft carrier, and I cant help thinking after independence some of the Harrier Jets would have come in handy for the Scottish Airforce.
    Here is a wee link to show just how happy the USA is with the Harrier Jump Jet, alas Scotland will never know the benefits of the JJ.

  123. Jamie Arriere says:

    It gives cause to consider the Better Together whingers who argue that they don’t want their relatives (who live outside Scotland) to become ‘foreigners’, while at the same time introducing policies to force families who want to be together in Scotland apart.
    It’s rank fucking hypocrisy!!!

  124. naebd says:

    Congrats to WoS commenter “Rod Mac” byraway.

  125. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Congrats to WoS commenter “Rod Mac” byraway.”

    You win Un-Alert Reader Of The Day!


  126. Juteman says:

    Nice article, Scott.
    Most SNP voters I know are ex-Labour.
    That says it all really.

  127. Jingly Jangly says:

    The Harriers are no use to an independent Scotland, we don’t need or want aircraft carriers which are just used to project power and bomb foreign lands.

    The Harriers are good at close support and carrier operations but no use for anything else as they cannot carry much and the range is pretty limited, they are also subsonic so no use for interception either. No the boys for us at the Saab Gripen and it would be a massive bonus if we could build them under licence at the Tam O’Shanter International airport  aerospace park.

  128. Paul says:

    Well written , I will definitely have to share this article it a must read.

  129. John Mellon says:

     Quite simply…. Thank you! 

  130. Thepnr says:

    Juteman says:
    8 October, 2013 at 5:20 pm

    Most SNP voters I know are ex-Labour.
    Me too. Close family being the most obvious, I’m a Yes convert but hope that a better Labour party in an Independent Scotland can be formed. Old habits die hard.

  131. NorthBrit says:

    Never mind – I hadn’t seen it.  If it hadn’t been for you I’d never have got to appreciate just how much progress BM has made in working up that positive case for the union.

    Plus I now know that Project Fear is lapping up the wit and wisdom of this site!  #livesofothers
    Hello Fearties!
    I would visit your sites too but my workplace filter tends to block them as obscene. 
    Plus there’s only so many baths one can take in a day and I find I need at least one after immersion (however brief) in the latest version of your Patriotic, All Party(sic) +ve case.

  132. Thepnr says:

    O/T but considering all the guff being spouted today about defence I thought some may appreciate this as a counter to todays lies.
    “The Committee may also wish to consider the recent decision by the Ministry of Defence to withhold information showing regional breakdowns of MoD spending. In recent years MoD statistics have confirmed the trend of job losses and spending patterns across the nations and regions of the UK- but the MoD has now said it will stop providing the statistics.”

  133. Edinburry Nancy says:

    At the Independence rally in Edinburgh on 21st September, the statement that brought the biggest lump to my throat was Nicola Sturgeon saying, “I want a Scotland that’s fairer for everyone who chooses to live here.”  (I might not have the exact wording but that was the gist.) 

  134. Clayton says:

    MMM …I  I personally everything that comes from the breath of Alex regarding independence to be a lie……. we now live in a society / culture that expects most things for free … ie prescriptions travel(whilst I don’t have a problem f free travel for the deserving ) mr alchy or drug user well they are less deserving…… I fail to see how we as a solo nation can support independence when in real terms we have no control over waters oil or any other indigenous resource…. all requires inward investment…….. the part of the country I live … I would imagine would become a ghost town if the UK were broken up…. a cost of over 20000 jobs  and mass unemployment in this area is unattractive  I imagine the fantasy of a scottish navy and defence force is just that…. a fantasy…
    The bottom line is I believe Mr Salmond wants to return a yes vote because he and his party believe that it should be so and not because he believes that it is in the interests of the Scottish People……… consider a YES vote ….. first election after independence …. Labour are elected with a Majority….. do we end up with the current Status Quo ?…..
    Vote no …. I like living here and don’t want to go south

  135. AyeRight says:

    Oh Dear, looks like my reading of Scott’s article has caused a bit of a tantrum amongst some of the bairns. Toys out of the pram even. Mosstrooper and friends seem to be totally convinced Scott’s piece is not to be questioned. Enlightenment anyone. The article is full of rants against Nationalist beliefs he now denounces, almost. His domestic problems motivated him more than his brain, “Look up and see man”.

    I’m not sure it was a Damascene moment Scott had, as much as it was a Faust Gretchen moment.

    Never mind, with people like Rough Bounds who joined the SNP 7 years ahead of me, cath, edulis and NorthBrit I believe the foundation for Scottish Independence are sound enough. 

    ps NorthBrit, I’m sure you may have already read Gurdjieff’s trilogy, Beelzebub’s Tales to his Grandson. You made me smile apologising to Beelzebub for classing him with SLab. Burns alology was more elegant when he penned, “Stop !, there he is, as sure’s a gun, Poor silly body see him, Nae wonder he’s as black’s the grund, – Observe wha’s standing wi’ him !”  (Epithaph on Holy Willie. of course)

  136. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Oh Dear, looks like my reading of Scott’s article has caused a bit of a tantrum amongst some of the bairns. Toys out of the pram even.”

    Did you actually have a point? If so, I’m buggered if I can make it out from your semi-coherent rantings.

  137. Juteman says:

    20,000 jobs will go in your area after independence? Do you live on an ermine farm?

  138. Thepnr says:

    “I’m not sure it was a Damascene moment Scott had, as much as it was a Faust Gretchen moment.”
    Talk about a moothful of bools.

  139. NorthBrit says:

    Sorry to hear about your rectal problems.

  140. AyeRight says:

    The point should be obvious Stuart, don’t believe everything you read !
    Especially if it’s just what you want to hear.

  141. Thepnr says:

    Let’s hear it for the Chuckle Brothers.

  142. Andrew Morton says:

    AyeRight says

    The point should be obvious Stuart, don’t believe everything you read !
    Especially if it’s just what you want to hear.

    You’ve been on the Scotsman website again! I sympathise, it’s almost as bad as BBC Scotland.

  143. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “The point should be obvious Stuart, don’t believe everything you read !
    Especially if it’s just what you want to hear.”

    That’s not a “point”, it’s a fatuous soundbite. What, specifically, shouldn’t I believe?

  144. NorthBrit says:

    As a counter proposal let’s not hear anything again from anyone who voted SLab, has not apologised and shows no signs of shame.

  145. Thepnr says:

    I can make apologies to people I may have inadvertently hurt, I can apologise for my selfishness and arrogance. I would never apologise for supporting one political party over another.
    Parties evolve, as do politics, the simple fact is that we in Scotland have an opportunity to form a new political landscape, how we may have voted in the past is irrelevant. The future is what matters.

  146. a supporter says:

    kinghob 8/10/13 4.10 pm

    03 mins and 24 seconds for an exclusive error (?) made during newsnight scotland on Moore’s sacking!
    Just looked at it and they have edited whatever was said then. Please tell us what it was.

  147. Jockie says:

    Funnily enough with me it was the other way around. I cam from a staunch Labour background as well, but remember the disappointment on my Dad’s face after the 79 referendum (I was 12 year old then). With the advent of Thatcher I drifted more towards the Scottish Nationalists & when I was eventually old enough to vote I voted for them in every election despite being told that mine was a wasted vote & the only way to keep the Tories out of the ward I lived in (Edinburgh West – James Douglas Hamilton) was to vote Lib Dem. I’m glad to say I never betrayed my principles.

    Anyway, to the day he died I was a “Tartan Tory” to my Dad because in his eyes it was because of their vote of no confidence in Callaghan’s government that it collapsed & Thatcher got in.

    He was blind to the fact that Labour sold out the Scottish people with their stupid percentage rule.

    He lived long enough to see Blair come to power & I genuinely think if he was alive today he’d have been voting for Indy, just as my late brother would have done and I will be next year.

  148. Jockie says:

    He was blind to the fact that Labour sold out the Scottish people with their stupid percentage rule.
    He lived long enough to see Blair come to power & I genuinely think if he was alive today he’d have been voting for Indy, just as my late brother would have done and I will be next year.

  149. Martyman says:

    Going by the tactics of NothBrit and AyeRight, we’re really going to win over the ‘undecideds’ eh?

  150. Jen says:

    Excellent article, I enjoy hearing the journeys of others to the Yes side.
    Mine is rather boring: I believe Scotland is a country and should run its own affairs. The Union does not exist for the people of Scotland’s benefit and for the health and wealth of Scotland, Westminister must not be in charge of Scotland. It holds back Scotland from reaching her potential rather than developing or promoting it. 

  151. AyeRight says:

    Well Stuart,
    “”That’s not a “point”, it’s a fatuous soundbite.”” …..Now that’s what I call fatuous.
    “What, specifically, shouldn’t I believe?” ……..Specifically, don’t believe your own conceit of yourself, you’re not that well read.

  152. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Specifically, don’t believe your own conceit of yourself, you’re not that well read.”

    I’ll tell you what – as you’ve had several chances to explain what you’re on about and have declined them, suggesting that you’re just trolling for reaction, why don’t we cut this short and save everyone a lot of pain and tedium? Fuck off.

  153. Andrew Morton says:

    Nice one Rev.

  154. Fiona says:

    What a fantastic piece of writing. I agree this should go out to everyone!! Well done! 

  155. Good article Scott.
    Slowly edging of the fence toward the yes side.
    Articles like this are to few.The level of information/debate
    in the MSM are poor.While in NYC recently I was asked more
    about the independence vote in bars/pubs than is ever
    mentioned in Scotland.The dumbing down is working.Shame. 

  156. Undecided says:

    As someone brought up a catholic celtic supporter with Irish heritage I was always proud to call myself Scottish, until I found I was not wanted by the country of my birth.

    Coming from a section of the community who is six times more likely to be the victim of sectarian hate crime only to be told that the education I received is to blame and the catholic education system should be ended as its the source of sectarianism in Scotland, I find it very very hard to trust anything the SNP have to offer. When they destroy documentation which proves the Catholic education system has nothing to do with sectarianism but is in fact the main victim why should I trust them or the people on here who are happy to turn a blind eye to this deception.

    Ideally I’d love to see Scotland make a go of independence but when the leaders of the biggest movement are making new laws to criminalise a section of the community rather than face the problems we have, on the grounds that they want to balance the conviction rate rather than use the laws available to deal with the problem. I’m left with the only option available irrespective of my abhorrence. I do not believe Scotland is mature enough for independence if we cannot face our biggest problem and deal with it openly and fairly then the new old nation has failed in its first task to protect the rights of its people all of its people.

    Can you imagine how hard it is for a catholic celtic supporter to stand on the same side as the orange lodge?

    Ask yourself why

  157. The Rough Bounds says:

    More like Clay feet.
    @Aye right.
    ”…people like Rough Bounds who joined the SNP seven years ahead of me and North Brit”.
    Yes, seven years ahead of them indeed, and it certainly shows. And before that I was a member of the Scottish Congress. (still got the badge)
    But it means nothing at all if we don’t warmly accept people like Scott into our fold. I don’t know if you take the occasional pint Scott, but I will stand you one gladly.

  158. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Can you imagine how hard it is for a catholic celtic supporter to stand on the same side as the orange lodge?”

    Um, you may not have been keeping up with the Orange Lodge’s position re: independence…

  159. naebd says:

    You win Un-Alert Reader Of The Day!
    Ha. That’s one thread that I never bothered to read…
    Can I just add: I will not rest until I am wallowing in the entrails of a disembowelled Blair MacDougall.

  160. Karamu says:

    Almost exactly four years ago (Sep 09) my (Japanese) wife and I moved from Japan to the UK, primarily for family reasons. To do we were able to secure her a 2 year spouse settlement visa pre departure. There were a number of hoops to jump through but it was relatively straightforward, if costly.
    Given that securing a job in a country where you are not physically present is rather tricky, neither of us had employment to go to upon arrival here. Luckily I was able to find a new job within 3 months of moving but it could have easily have been a lot longer.
    From my understanding of this immigration regulation, what we did then would now be impossible as I obviously wasn’t earning the 18 grand at the time of visa application (well, I was, in Japan…). I honestly don’t know what we would have done- the only option it seems to me is that I would have to have gone first, found a job and then have Mrs Karamu join me upon gaining employment. However, with me not in Japan we could not have afforded to keep on our apartment so where would Mrs K have lived?
    I actually know a number of people like me living in Japan who have thought about returning home but now cannot do so- as i said it is kind of difficult to find a job in a country the other side of the world. This must be the case round the world that UK citizens are prevented from returning home or face having their families split up because they married a foreigner!
    What really confuses me is the rationale of saving benefits- my wife’s (2 year spouse settlement) visa clearly stated “no recompense on public funds” which meant she was ineligible for any benefits anyway!
    This is just one Tory policy that has directly affected my family since moving back to the UK- I have never been a fan but what they are doing to the UK has ramped up my emotion to full on hatred now.
    BTW, A question for those who don’t have first hand experience of this issue- how much do you think a 2 UK year spouse visa costs? I think you will be shocked….

  161. The Rough Bounds says:

    In the name of all that’s holy. This is the same sort of pish that the Rangers No supporters come up with.
    It’s crap Undecided. It’s all crap. Try and be bigger.

  162. Truth says:

    Whilst I enjoyed the article, and am very glad this individual saw the light, I can’t help thinking he wouldn’t have done had he not been directly affected by adverse legislation.
    I’m sorry, but people like this really grind my gears. They are in effect selfish and give no consideration to others unless they are in the same situation as them.
    Like I say I’m glad he saw the light in the end. I do hope he now works in his analogues, and converts them too.
    I too have a similar marital situation, though we are under the old rules and the income rules etc did not apply. The rules were still strict and to be adhered to. However, there is a gaping loophole still wide open to be exploited should your application fail. It’s called the Surinder Singh Route and is very effective!

  163. kate says:

    Love him or loathe him the demonised Alex Salmond is actually a Saint for his relentless campaign against the Westminster establishment, the Nationalist campaigners for never giving up and Scots  like myself who have opened their eyes to reality and voting YES.

  164. Hetty says:

     I am glad he was told to F off! This article has obviously riled those who seem to say they support Independence on the one hand but have nothing much positive to say about it here. We don’t all want patted on the back, but there’s enough negativity from the ‘no’ camp already to be wasting our time on that on WOS, phew!

  165. EphemeralDeception says:

    I have mixed feelings about this but overall it does not paint a healthy picture, yet I am hopeful.

    This is a great article, and a great insight into a long journey and finally coming to the current perspective that: the UK is not serving Scotland, is not what we want or value and Salmond is smug but not that bad.

    However as North Brit stated it took deportation of Scotts own spouse to really finally tip the balance. What it shows is that many Labour and so called left-leaning individuals may not motivated unless it hits them personally no matter what the UK says or does. Not so social, but it shows that just because people are unsatisfied or disillusioned with the UK they are not motivated to end it. Things are not bad enough for the majority and for those who are really hit bad already don’t see the root cause as the UK.

    The war in Iraq is pretty tame stuff compared to the other nefarious activities of the UK in recent decades and that info is in the public domain.
    Some things have puzzled me for a while:

    The Mcrone report was even headlined by the BBC and showed all UK goverments since the early 70s lied and decieved the entire UK population and that Scottish MPs and minsiters did not care that the UK actively lied and deceived and badly harmed the Scottish economy for for 3 decades. Yet a majority still voted for them. Unbelievable.

    More recently my local MP Alan Reid voted for war in Syria. I posted about it in a local forum – nobody cares, they care more about getting Eastenders.

    My real hate though , and I absolutely loathe the UK system and Union for it, is the unelected lords overruling the High Court that found the UK Guilty (twice) of Crimes against humanity in the forced eviction of the native population of Diego Garcia. The Statutory instrument being passed by a Labour minsiter no less. To add insult the UK leases the island to the US as a Base and then helped by the UK for extraordinary rendition flights that the UK first denied and then were forced to admit. Miliband was one of the deniers.

    My current conclusions are:
    Scots are unhappy with the UK but simply do not really care enough about what the UK is doing (with our support) overall.

    Scots seem to have a creative gift and are lucky to have a resource rich land but the other side of the coin are the ‘rogues’ in the nation. Our worst enemy are ourselves, nobody else.

    Lord Robertson was a tiny bit right in his lack of separate culture and language. Many parts of Scotland have had our culture eroded, the eroded part largely replaced by an anglocentric replacement. All my lifetime this has occurred and distinctively Scottish aspects of every day life under continual attack – starting from getting the belt for speaking Scots, lack of history in School, English literature focus, London Centric media and arts (especiually Film and Music) etc. Contrast this to the Catalans who have succeeded in fiercely protecting their culture and language despite the likes of Franco. Luckily Scottish culture is still strong but if we say No it will continue to be eroded.

    Despite this I think as the Referendum approaches Scots will have a hard look and re-evaluate things, something Scott only finally did due to a personal impact. Scots will think independence may actually be better and better for ‘me too’ and give it a go.

  166. NorthBrit says:

    It’s possible that I may have violated RevStu’s commandments 1-5 today so I’m thinking of doing a cite tag to get the full set.

    @The Rough Bounds
    I haven’t actually ever joined the SNP, so you are indeed, way ahead of me.  Fascinated to pick up from your post that while the faithful were putting the boot into the heretic AyeRight, nobody noticed Clayton’s helpful and positive contribution to the debate.

    You’re right – I’ll stay out of this and let The Rough Bounds convince the recently arrived “undecided” with his “grow a pair” message.

  167. Thepnr says:

    nobody noticed Clayton’s helpful and positive contribution to the debate.”
    Aye, I’m sure it was noticed, just ignored as it wasn’t exactly lucid. Don’t you think?

  168. For die says:

    Really? As a child you ‘hated’ AS. Why? As a child, 13 or so, I knew it wasn’t right that my country didn’t govern itself. I’m glad that folks move to Yes, o f course. But as a 13 yr old there was nothing in it for me. As an adult, it’s for the greater good. And of course, it’s right. Does there need to be something in it  for you to get it. Or does the concept of democracy for all not do it?

  169. Undecided says:

    The rough bounds,
    is that your considered opinion ?
    or is it simply trying the usual bullshit ones as bad as the other, even though thats the lie I expect from people I have aimed my opinion at.
    The fact is its not the same as rangers fans is it, because the new law was introduced to try and make us look the same.
    When did you hear rangers supporters claim the destruction of sectarian crime statistics was a problem for them ?
    you are behaving like the author before his change of heart, blind to the obvious.
    blind faith 
    rev stuart campbell, 
    have they backed the campaign ? 
    Is that why the SNP are vilifying catholics and celtic supporters, is it a good thing they court an openly sectarian organisation ?
    Do you support the end of freedom of choice of education ?
    Do you contend the victim is to blame ?
    Do you think catholic celtic supporters should vote for independence ?
    the rough bounds displays exactly the kind of attitude I was identifying, turning a blind eye to our biggest problem, in fact the rough bounds is worse by not only turning a blind eye but simply being hostile to genuine concern, derision is not an argument or debating style that is uncommon in this country when the biggest problem is raised. The  only people who never see it as a problem are the perpetrators, the irony is, the blogger identified his change of heart was based on the immigration restrictions yet “why dont you go home” a declared illegal song is sung at every rangers game and the media and authorities in Scotland ignore it, it’s not even a secret shame anymore, for a couple of years both tried to pass it off as humour, now they dont even bother. Scotland is becoming more overtly racist and sectarian by the year, so IMO this blog and the bloggers whole enlightenment is simply hypocrisy. 
    I mean we’re talking about new immigrants and how unfair the new laws from London are meanwhile the SNP are making up new laws to vilify people who immigrated here over a hundred years ago for crying out loud. People who fought in two world wars to protect this country yet they are still seen as the enemy.
    the hypocrisy is astounding and the blind still lead the blind, however IMO there is still time to convince me that they are serious not a lot granted but open the can of worms get serious mature debate without the whataboutery and it will show me and many like me that Scotland is mature enough to face its demons and deal with them properly and I’m in, else its london every time. 

  170. John Binnie says:

    This gives me real hope! I just hope that more life long labour voters realise this and don’t blindly vote no through a misplaced sense of loyalty. 
    I want a better world and it starts at home!

  171. Joe says:

    The journey of change that many former labour supporters have taken since 2003. Well written, Scott, articulate and heartfelt; you speak for many in Scotland. Happy to hear your lovely wife is back home with you.

  172. For die says:

     Could we keep this crap of Rangers, Celtic, SNP, Labour… Shit off here. I’m sick of it. Get a life or piss off elsewhere! 

  173. The Flamster says:

    First for all Brilliant article Scott and although I have never voted Labour I am delighted that many are leaving the fold.  I hope someone tweets this article to Blair McDougall.
    I am also sick of hearing about the victims – Celtic and Rangers fans both have their own agendas but according to your post both want London rule. The referendum debate is not about the SNP, religion or football it’s about the governance of your country voting for a Government in Scotland by the people of Scotland, a bit like Eire.  For future generation not to be ruled by London allowing Scotland to grow and develop into a mature nation.  I see there is also a new FB page “Axe the Act” by an Independent Candidate for the by-election on Thursday in Govan. 

  174. kate says:

    I agree, the real victims are people stuck in the poverty trap, people who have been denied a fair chance in life and victims of unfair Westminster policies.   Independence is about hope, free education for all kids regardless of means, availability of work   and  a prosperous  future for  Scotland.      

  175. For die says:

    I’ve been trying to think why this article absolutely irritated me. That’s a diplomatic understatement. Answer. It’s pseudo, in every respect. Fake socialist credentials. Excuses for not behaving properly, even as an adult. General woe is me, how I was let down. Lack of responsibility – it wisnae me. But I saw the light when it affected me. And yes, that great Labour Socialist call. I sought to protect -what a laugh – the people’s of the entire planet. Except my own! Them, I sacrificed on my egotistical altar.

  176. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Is that why the SNP are vilifying catholics”

    Oh, do piss off.

  177. Craiging_619 says:

    @For die
    Shared earlier by Archie (not Erchie)

    So those 5,000 British marriages split up by Westminster have just failed to take “responsibility”, having been ordered to suddenly start earning more money retrospectively in permanent jobs that don’t exist? That sounds a wee bit like the Gove/Lord Freud argument that the new food bank users and victims of the Bedroom Tax have all just become frivolous overnight…

  178. andy mcglone says:

    nice piece Scott like the narrative..took a while to arrive at your 3rd act turning point which most children over the age of 7 have already reached.
    @ undecided.. stop whipping yourself over a flawed religion (is there one that isnt) and grow up one with an IQ over 40 cares about that self imposed bigotry you do you think rangers supporters feel after HRH tax dept ripped the legs from under them..the only thing that keeps the bigots going is your self imposed catholic martyrdom..which has outgrown its use by date by 200 much as the orange lodge has…DITCH the religion keep the football team…we have a chance to turn a page here..dont get bogged down in that crap..take two deep breaths and think about it…vote YES…and seek counselling …seriously…same to anyone who thinks NO is the answer…talk to someone..anyone there is no point having a mind unless it is able to change…thats what the above post is about …its an epiphany ..theres a good catholic word for go forth and multiply..@

  179. scott says:

    Im am one of those people forced to leave Scotland 2 weeks ago coz ov the spouse visa bullshit.

    My wife is 7 months pregnant and we had to move to spain! a place we have never been before, find a house, find a doctor and try and get residency here and denouncing my Scottish residency. Left my home, my work ,my family and my best friends who wont even see our kid born unless they come to here.

    What the Torys have done is disgusting its modern day fascism which unfortunate is heavily welcomed in some parts of England and even more unfortunate by most English voters.

    I still feel lucky though, i have hope that one day im aloud back into my country with my wife and kid, maybe independence shall help change the rules?! who knows but its the only answer. I however wont be aloud the VOTE coz iv been forced to leave. 

  180. kate says:

    The majority of Scots are too busy making ends meet to acknowledge far less seek to understand the petty hypocrisy of a minority  whose immaturity creates their own problems.    Meaningless lives  and lack  of self worth can only be turned around by prosperity and Scotland needs that chance by voting YES.

  181. John says:

    Having been an undecided voter, and following reading the article – and the many, many comments below – I am now more convinced than ever of the need to vote NO. I’m afraid that Scott’s articulate and well worded report, tragic as some of it is, is based on personal circumstances dictating a political stand point. Those voting YES really are living in a fantasy world, and not a good one. Scotland doesn’t have anywhere near 25% of Europe’s energy capacity, and even if it did, where could the surplus be exported to (do you think we will still be given the same tariff South of the border? I don’t think so). I have yet to see any independent, unbiased, impartial assessment of the pros and cons of independence, and what I’ve seen from the YES campaign lacks substance and sufficient back-up. I don’t agree that Westminster has it completely right, but then what country has.

  182. Stellar says:

    Aye. What he said.

    I have an Honours Degree. I work for the NHS. My daughter is studying for a Masters. My other daughter is training to be a paramedic. My son is signing up to the RAF. I’m getting married in the next few weeks.

    But…….Strike One: I’m £3k short of the Income Threshold. Strike Two: My husband is younger than me. Strike Three: He’s from Morocco. But I’ll be damned if I’m going to let someone else stop me marrying the man I love. It’s going to be a battle. I know it. He knows it. We’ll take that challenge. This is not what love and marriage is supposed to be about.

  183. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “I have yet to see any independent, unbiased, impartial assessment of the pros and cons of independence”

    You never will, either, because nobody is unbiased. You think the absurd garbage that comes out of Westminster is unbiased? And yet, even by Westminster’s figures, Scotland is 118% as wealthy as the UK as a whole.

    We CAN do it. Everyone – on both sides – agrees Scotland COULD be a successful independent nation. So why are you sticking so stubbornly to the idea we couldn’t?

  184. Gordon says:

    “But…….Strike One: I’m £3k short of the Income Threshold. Strike Two: My husband is younger than me. Strike Three: He’s from Morocco. But I’ll be damned if I’m going to let someone else stop me marrying the man I love. It’s going to be a battle. I know it. He knows it. We’ll take that challenge. This is not what love and marriage is supposed to be about.”

    Show those bad racists and go and live in Morocco. That will teach them.

  185. Colin Hanson says:

    Had this article forwarded to me by a friend back in the old country. As a scouser in Seattle, desperate to bring my wife (American) and son (dual-citizenship) back home, I’m starting to think an Independent Peoples Republic of Merseyside is the only way it’s ever going to happen. Failing that, could Scotland possibly annex Liverpool?

  186. Jeannie says:

    John, even David Cameron agrees Scotland can easily be economically viable.  Even Alastair Darling says so.  But, there again, they are well known for being liars.  Not sure why they’d lie about that though, given they want to preserve the Union.  And ask yourself, John, if we’re not viable as a country, why on earth do the Unionists so desperately want to hold onto us?  What would they get out of it?
    By all means, vote No if you want to, but please don’t base it on a belief that Scotland wouldn’t be economically viable.  The ship carrying that argument as cargo sailed a long time ago.

  187. AmazingNorris says:

    @Undecided: what a lot of gibberish.

    You use the phrase ‘catholic celtic supporter’ like it is a distinct type of creature rather than the conjunction of two importantly distinct things. I used to be a catholic version, but I am no longer (religion is an insidious nonsense). That you and others still think in these terms is the root of the problem – as if you can read-off cultural, political and moral features by the team a person supports.

    Worse still you seem to want to claim some sort of community credit for fighting in the two world wars. I say ‘community’ credit because I don’t suppose you are old enough to have fought in beither so you are annexing the credit, such as it is, from completely distinct human beings. On what grounds I wonder? Their Irish heritage? What exactly does that matter to anything? Are you taking the blame for all acts by all Irish descendants too? Course not! It’s a completely artificial and bullshit reason, no better than ‘they have blue eyes too!’. You may wish the Irish heritage to mean something real, like some real political outlook, but it simply doesn’t exist. And the longer you define yourself by type, and encourage others to do so, you prolong the Us and Them bullshit that stokes the sectarian furnace. 

    As it goes, this is the only source of disquiet I have about the independence question. I do not see my Scottishness (by Irish descent as it goes) as a real, important, feature of the decision making here. Drawing an arbitrary line around a group of people based on XXX years of it being so, is not morally salient. My politics are driven by the urge to look after the least of the people. No where in there does it add ‘… within a 100 mile radius’ and so I am disquieted by the ‘we will be better off’ lines of argument that fail to mention ‘and so other people will be worse’. Some think of it as abandoning our left-wing comrades in the south. If I believed that were the case I would vote No.

    But I do not believe that to be the case. An independent Scotland maps on to an arbitrary chunk of land (don’t give me the history as if I am unaware, it is not MORALLY salient) that just so happens to have a high concentration of left-wing thinking. This provides an opportunity to separate this from the fetid corpse of the UK and see to it that at least these resources are being sensibly redistributed.

    rUK would then be left to the Tories for a while and it will get really ugly before it gets better, but I believe it will have to get better. No longer are the Socialist exemplars far away, funny talking, viking-types. We would be an up close and personal example of what you can do when you believe in the leftist programme. Combine that with a period of unfettered right-wing misery, and I believe that the politics of the south with shift left. As it stands we are enabling their rightward creep.

    It is important to face the No leaners on common assumptions, lest we will never be able to argue them round. Those that see Scottish ‘we will be better off’ as selfish and racist will not be convinced no matter how pretty a picture you paint.

  188. E Thomson says:

    Thank you Scott for writing this article.  You are seeing what many of us see with regard to the difference in political culture between Scotland and the larger part of the UK.

    I have long believed that Scotland should regain its statehood, thereby making decisions relevant to the people who live here.  The Labour Party did not serve Scotland well;  the evidence is all around us especially in towns throughout the central belt.   I also understood that this nation meant little to the government in the south and that politicians and media were always willing to encourage the idea that Scots were scroungers/drunks/etc., living off the fat of the beneficent south, never admitting that we helped put food on the table from which they allowed us some crumbs.  Fairness never seemed to occur to Westminster when dealing with Scotland.

    Of course, the attitude hardened when they realised that if we ever demanded independence, huge resources would be lost to them, and I don’t just mean oil, but, that was that catalyst for an increase in the bigotry and downright lies we have had to endure.

    As for Labour and Tony Blair et al.  Well, Tony was always a Tory;  the Labour Party’s very own Trojan Horse appeared out of nowhere to fill the shoes of a seemingly fairly decent man.  He out-Toried the previous government and immediately started privatising public assets going against party promises (I think Nick Clegg must have been paying attention).  Now we have a bunch of wreckless millionaires, borrowing like no tomorrow, not to invest, but to keep corporations, banks and pals in the style to which they have become accustomed.  Extreme right wing policies abound in every mainstream party at Westminster and it could well be the case that the next coalition will be with UKIP and a lot of the Tory MPs can then achieve the policies they really want.

    I prefer to live in a country where politicians have a bit of humanity and the humility to remember that they are there to serve people, not to fill theirs and their sponsors’ bank accounts, at the same time making the poorer sections of society suffer indignity, slurs and shameful living standards, nor attempt to interfere in the business of other countries by force causing suffering and violence for tens of thousands people.  I don’t want to be ashamed of the country where I live.  Our young people are leaving for a better life elsewhere because they have no stake here. 

    If we vote no, it won’t simply be status quo;  it will mean no say at all in the governance of the UK and a threat to the powers of the Scottish Government itself.  If we vote YES, at least our politicians will be working in the best interests of Scotland without looking over their shoulder at Westminster and trying to ameliorate the worst of their policies.  Westminster is not going to change any time soon, but, we have the opportunity to try to do it better. 

  189. E Thomson says:

    @ Clayton
    Re your comment about first election after independence – who says the Labour Party will even exist afterwards.  If there is one, I suspect it might be a very different beast from the Westminster party.
    Hey, if you think the UK government has/ is doing a great job, fair do’s;  I don’t.
    20,000 jobs (presume this is Faslane, etc);  that figure has been disputed many times over and there are plans for the facility, etc.

  190. Leigh says:

    This just got shared on FB by a friend who I know was against independence a few months ago. She said it was very eye opening.

    This kind of writing really does make a difference!

  191. Doug says:

    Personally I am pro-independence and I’m glad that you seem to have come around to the idea. However it seems that you have written something in an attempt to sound political and informed however the pure basis for you change of heart is a personal emotional issue, which really raises question as to any kind of political message that you are trying to send. As much as you can cite political issues subsequently after your change of heart your decision is fundamentally selfish and not politically motivated. 

  192. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    Doug: the “Perspectives” series is specifically about people’s personal reasons for voting Yes.

  193. fordie says:

    Apologies for delay in replying. Just now had the chance to revisit. My post was not about the rights/wrongs of the split-up of marriages, which I do not support. It was about the fact that the author of the article in Q only turned towards supporting independent governance of his country, when there was something in it for him. I think my post made that entirely evident. Thus my comments stand.
    @ John. That has got to go down as one of the saddest, least believable ‘reasons’ ever for voting No.
    Guess these comments are for the record only.

  194. Craiging_619 says:

    It would be great if everyone could see the sense in a Yes vote without having to lose family members, welfare or their homes first, but the truth is an awful lot of Scots seem to be born with the ‘Factory Setting’ of No, as Alan Bissett and others have said. The common theme of many of the Perspectives blogs (including this one) is a slow build up of doubting the WM/media lies, moving from No to Don’t Know, then a single moment when the penny finally drops.

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