Coming Home from Coventry

Scotland-map-web2By Peter Arnott

‘No campaign spends years talking about uncertainties and demanding answers. Gives last-minute offer of maybe something, offered by someone.’
– Kieran Hurley

21 last thoughts on the way home:

1) We should be the patient with our friends in England and elsewhere. We’ve been talking and thinking about this stuff seriously for a long time. The ignorance and arrogance of their media and political class has only given them a week and a half to catch up.

2) As for us, as soon as we dare to consider independence and democratic oversight of our own affairs is the normal condition of a normal country, the argument is over. Even if the referendum isn’t.

3) Scotland has always been a nation. It is past time we became a democracy as well.

4) Scotland’s identity is under no threat from anyone. Scotland’s independence is no threat to anyone.

5) If uncertainty is the sole remaining argument for the status quo, can someone please explain to me why having a measure of democratic control of your own destiny is somehow more uncertain than letting someone else decide everything important for you?

6) The referendum’s result may well depend on what side of bed we collectively get out of on the morning of September 18th. This is not to diminish the result. Confidence is the key issue. If we feel happy and confident, it will be “Yes”. If we feel scared and miserable it will be “No”.

Which one would you rather?

7) We are not leaving anywhere or separating from anyone or going anywhere. We are coming home.

8) The Labour Party’s role has historically been to deliver Westminster Scottish votes like delivering potatoes – by the sack load – for social democracy in the UK. It was the Labour Party that abandoned social democracy before we abandoned them. This is why the delivery of votes by the potato sack that they promised David Cameron isn’t working for them any more.

9) We are not just voting for change. We already are the change. Scotland has already changed. Our people have already behaved as a “sovereign” in their own country. We already know more about independence than we think we do. We’ve already seen what it looks like in the yes campaign.

10) No campaigners complaining of their own sides lack of clarity should consider that The No campaign has actually perfectly embodied the Union, rather than made a coherent case for the union. That is , it has been top-heavy, confused, valueless, moribund, patronising and all staged for the telly. Very badly. Which defines the British State very clearly, I would have thought.

11) A campaign which relies on creating fear and defeat for victory is corrupt and corrupting by its nature. It stains all it touches. It’s victory would be infamous. By contrast, the positive invention of the Yes campaign is itself a contribution to creating a new, more inclusive, more fun country for us to live in. It’s victory would be an act of courage and encouragement.

12) On the other hand, we do have one reason to be grateful for the negativity of the No campaign. Which is, that if we vote “Yes” we are doing it with our eyes open. The future is not a thing not to be nervous about. We will be voting in hope but not in expectation. I can think of no better start.

13) The degree of shock expressed at recent opinion polls by the British Establishment is a measure of the arrogant wilfull ignorance of that establishment.

14) The shallowness of the panicked response is an insult not just to those of us in Scotland who have been doing some serious thinking about this, but to the electorate in the rest of the UK, who have been misled and kept in the dark as the democratic revival that is going on here.

15) The establishment fears an awakened people far more on the other side of the Tweed than they have been, up until now, scared of us. They are still scared of us mostly in case we give our brothers and sisters South of the Tweed the same ideas above their station that we’ve been kicking around these last few months.

16) If I were writing the story of the last twenty years in Scotland as a play, the tragic hero would be the Labour party in Scotland. The first scene would be at John Smith’s funeral where Tony Blair sews up the leadership in 1994. This would now be the beginning of Act Five, with Gordon Brown as the voice of doom.

17) Lastly, the idea that the situation in Scotland is “really” about “anti-politics” ie the hatred of Westminster, is alluring to the London media, but ultimately self-serving and misleading.

18) London politics and media start from the assumption that democracy is in crisis, that the “people” think it meaningless…and so are turning to anti-democrats like UKIP…and by extension, they think, the SNP. This is a grotesque but predictable “it’s all about us like everything else” response.

19) What is happening in Scotland is the OPPOSITE of anti-politics. It’s a late revival of belief that political change is possible through political engagement. An embodiment of hope that through political action, we can make a better society – a participatory, democratic future. For ourselves.

20) To describe the Yes campaign as anti-politics is myopic at best, and yet more self flagellation from defeated liberalism at best. Mr Clegg, Mr Cameron, Mr Milliband. Even, yes, Mr Salmond. This is not about you.

21) Lastly, Dear England, Dear Scotland…Understand this about our relationship and you understand almost everything. We each experience our relationship equally but oppositely.

On the one hand, from the moment the Treaty of Union was signed in 1707, it, and our relationship with England, has never ceased to be the central issue in Scottish cultural and political life.

On the other, from the moment the Treaty was signed, Scotland disappeared from English political and cultural life except when the Union was under threat.

If you think it through, it explains why England football fans support “all the British teams” and all the “British” teams don’t support England.

It is not a repressive relationship, but it is, inevitably, unequal.

Finally, the core demand of Independence has always been to secure the equality that the Union has never afforded.

We have learned that the only way to become free, to become equal, is to act as if you already were.

The Union, for both of us, is a neurosis, an illness.

For both of us, a Yes vote is the beginning of the cure.

It’s about us.



Categories: Commentary

Tags: , , , , ,

13 replies

  1. Peter, what you say about the media is exactly right. The vast majority of media is created from a London base. It can’t help but reflect the world through London eyes. Their referendum reporting is infused with ignorance. From a Scottish prospective this can be amusing at times but mostly it is frustrating and shameful. This referendum will go done in history as a period of time when millions of people grew tired of traditional media and moved en mass to the internet in order to gain relevant information. Not for the first time the people of Scotland are acting as pioneers for the rest of the world.

  2. Have you ever wondered why the USSR disintegrated so quickly or why the Berlin Wall came down virtually overnight? It must have been just like this, panicked politicians lacking any clue as to how they should cope with the unimaginable; facing an opposition they had no control over whatsover.

    Only 9 days and their fate will be sealed, negotiations will begin, and I trust they keep to their side of the bargain, despite their apparent willingness today to hoodwink the public and give the impression they were offering something new. A year or so ago they might have got away with pulling the wool over the eyes of the electorate, especially given the assistance of a compliant main stream media. Voters then were probably economically, politically, and constitutionally illiterate. Not so now. Education is a wonderful thing.

  3. A superbly written and truly focused article! Many thanks, Ewen

  4. Thank you Peter for putting it so clearly.

  5. Reblogged this on Are We Really Better Together? and commented:
    On the one hand, from the moment the Treaty of Union was signed in 1707, it, and our relationship with England, has never ceased to be the central issue in Scottish cultural and political life.

    On the other, from the moment the Treaty was signed, Scotland disappeared from English political and cultural life except when the Union was under threat.

  6. I’ve been out with some ex-work colleagues in Carlisle tonight. Three are Scots, but unionists. They worry about the division that the referendum “has caused”.
    The English ones believe they are at war.
    I kept my ears open and my mouth shut. This is the mindset you get with a media entirely under control of the establishment. I imagine this is what the last days of the DDR must have felt like.

  7. A No case from a Left Keynesian economist here which is a worthwhile read and requires answering.

    http://thenextrecession.wordpress.com/2014/09/04/scotland-yes-or-no/

  8. I think the movement is a wonderful peep into the underlying truth that the people (of all countries) really are sovereign, and that the power of our Lords and Masters is really illusory. If we all collectively decide we want to do something, then guess what? It gets done. Easy. It’s the collective mobilisation of that desire that is the rare starting point.

    • See bullet point (15) above. If we in England followed the example of our friends and neighbours in Scotland, there’d be a lot of petrified politicians and meeja people in London.

  9. Peter, you should really write that play, GG

  10. Thanks George…Gordon Brown is the central character…he might not be pleased.

  11. Excellent list. I particularly like #5, which has been frustrating me for some time:

    “5) If uncertainty is the sole remaining argument for the status quo, can someone please explain to me why having a measure of democratic control of your own destiny is somehow more uncertain than letting someone else decide everything important for you?”

    It goes straight to the heart of the cognitive dissonance which so infects the Scottish Unionist viewpoint.

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