Comment | Why Scottish independence gets my vote

Socialist journalist Yvonne Ridley's decision to support the call for Scottish Independence will raise a few eyebrows among her friends from the Left but the arrival of Chancellor George Osborne to Aberdeen this week prompted her to explain here why she will be backing the 'Yes' campaign.

Ideas, New in Ceasefire - Posted on Wednesday, September 4, 2013 15:05 - 30 Comments

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POSH lad George Osborne headed north of the Border this week to tell the Scots how lucky they are to be ruled by Westminster. That’s a bit like sending a Sunderland supporter into my native Newcastle to give a lecture in the hallowed grounds of St James’ Park about the finer points of the beautiful game!

Few on the south side like or trust the Chancellor of the Exchequer so I would question the motives of those who dispatched him to the North in the expectation he would receive a rousing welcome.
It’s already well known that there are more pandas in Scotland than Conservative MPs and now that the female in Edinburgh Zoo continues to show positive signs she’s pregnant it looks as though the only endangered species here are the Tories.

I say ‘here’ because this is where I made my home a couple of years ago and as a member of the Geordie Tribe I reckon we’re close enough to hold a valid opinion on independence. In fact I’m quite sure, following the ruthless Tory-inspired destruction of the North East’s shipyards, as well as its coal and steel industries. that if the vote for independence was extended 100 miles south it would be seized upon enthusiastically with both hands. The boss class in the south has never done any favours to northerners and I expect most Scots feel exactly the same, but at least they have a chance to do something about it now.

I can’t believe anyone was taken in by the nonsense which came tumbling out of Osborne’s mouth when he said Scots would be £2,000 better off if they voted ‘no’ in next year’s referendum. Like all of the figures coming out of Westminster, they need to be scrutinized very closely. My man with the abacus says the sum of £2,000 is per household and would not be realised for a full 30 years; in other words, Osborne is promising Scots the square root of nowt.

Bearing in mind the appalling state of the education system in England, he might be able to blind folk on his side of the Border, but in Scotland where there’s a superior system in place and no such thing as university fees it’s not that easy to pull the wool over the eyes of canny Scots.

Here’s a figure to consider though – it will cost £25 billion to replace the Trident nuclear system … imagine the extra burden to taxpayers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland should Scotland’s 5.3 million population opt out, not to mention the mind-boggling costs of installing a new nuclear facility if the Prime Minister still wants to dine at the same table as other nuclear powers including America, Russia, France and China.

Not content with using dodgy maths, Osborne also claims that the United Kingdom could boost real incomes by as much as four per cent after 30 years … not convincing at all from a man who gets his monthly budget predictions wrong and failed to see the double dip recession coming.

Seriously, if the Westminster crew were that sincere why have they waited until now to plan a bright future for Scotland? The truth is while Northerners have often been regarded as an afterthought, Scotland hasn’t even appeared on their political scanner. Traditionally, the North and Scotland have been viewed as Labour strongholds so the Tories never really concerned themselves with our lives other than to loot, pillage and then destroy the once lucrative heavy industries, livelihoods and communities.

Eton-educated Osborne even said Scotland’s trade would collapse without the UK … the truth is Scotland would be a lot better off today if his ilk hadn’t taken an axe to the shipbuilding, mining and steel industries. And if the Tories had worked out a way of siphoning off the oil, gas and whisky and shipping the Edinburgh Festival off to Chipping Norton they would have done it by now.

Labour has always taken the North and Scotland for granted and, since the toxic introduction of Blairism, the region has become even worse off. It’s little wonder the Scottish National Party has done so well. The formula is simple; the SNP puts Scots first and that is something none of the London-based politicians can do, or even promise to do.

Now we are being told we are better together. Does anyone seriously believe that? I don’t see any of the dominions, colonies, protectorates or other territories which cut themselves free from British rule queuing up to return to once the largest empire in history. If Scots do cut themselves free from the yoke of Westminster rule it will mean an end to nuclear weapons and all that it costs the Scottish taxpayer to keep the British PM dining at the table of the G7 and G8 countries.

It would mean an end to legislation designed to extract more money from the pockets of the working classes and those who can least afford pernicious inventions like the divisive bedroom tax. Cutting off the ball and chain that is the UK, Scotland would be able to continue to maintain a free education system, free medical prescriptions and guarantee the survival of the National Health Service here at least.

Having already stood up to America on several issues in recent years, Scotland has shown it is prepared to punch above its weight and will not be bullied by superpowers or cajoled into foolish military adventures demanded through so-called special relationships. Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill stood firmly by his decision in August 2009 to release the terminally-ill Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset al-Megrahi to Libya on compassionate grounds. US president Barack Obama reacted angrily at the time, as did the US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton. This was further exacerbated when Scottish ministers later refused a demand to attend the US Senate hearing in July 2010. And under the present Holyrood government there is no way Scottish lives would have been wasted or used as cannon fodder in Iraq or Afghanistan for imperialistic wars built on lies and deception.

The referendum is all about putting people before politics and that’s something the warmongering, sleazy, expense-fiddling, out-of-touch cronies and posh kids in Westminster know nothing about.
Scotland’s withdrawal from the union will expose fully something many of us have known for years: one of the world’s oldest political democratic systems no longer exists. Britain is being ruled at the moment by a cabal of over-privileged rich blokes who form a coalition government not one single person voted for in the last General Election.

Come Referendum Day, my advice to the Scots is: “Get out now while you have a chance.”

Yvonne Ridley

Yvonne Ridley is a British journalist and a patron of the London-based human rights NGO cageprisonners.com as well as being the European president of the International Muslim Women's Union and the Vice President of the European Muslim League. Her website is www.yvonneridley.org and she's on Twitter @yvonneridley.

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Stew
Sep 4, 2013 16:58

As a Northumbrian I’ve always felt much more of a cultural affinity with Scotland than with England.

Why Scottish independence gets my vote | Refere...
Sep 4, 2013 17:54

[...] POSH lad George Osborne headed north of the Border this week to tell the Scots how lucky they are to be ruled by Westminster. That’s a bit like sending a Sunderland supporter into my native Newcastle to give a lecture in the hallowed grounds of St James’ Park about the finer points of the beautiful game!  [...]

Peter A Bell
Sep 4, 2013 18:02

Excellent stuff, Yvonne! Although I’m not sure Mr Osborne would share my enthusiasm.

David Milligan
Sep 4, 2013 18:21

Yvonne, I’m always glad when someone moves to Scotland and makes it their home. What a brilliant addition you are! You see it’s not where we’ve come from that matters really although Newcastle is a City that always filled me with energy and I have many very good friends there, it’s the wonderful journey that we are all going to make together in an independent Scotland. We’re all Jock Tamsons bairns as they say.

I’ll be willing to bet that some time in the future that Newcastle will figure greatly in that Scotland. We’ll have to wait and see but if Scotland is doing well, trade across the border will become much greater than it has been.

Kindest regards,

David Milligan

Sneddon
Sep 4, 2013 19:14

Nicely said. Though I don’t think anyone can work out why Osborne gets send to Scotland because everytime he comes up SNP membership rises! Unless of course it’s to remind us what utter cretins the cabinet are.

Brian Cuthbert
Sep 4, 2013 20:34

Brilliant! I enjoyed that. We have a great chance, a real chance, to actually do something different and better in Scotland and people like you will make that happen. And maybe the rest of the UK will eventually take heed… if they can ever shake off the complacent imperialist legacy. We can only hope.

jeandeloup
Sep 4, 2013 21:09

“The referendum is all about putting people before politics and that’s something the warmongering, sleazy, expense-fiddling, out-of-touch cronies and posh kids in Westminster know nothing about.”

And now also confirmed as a shower of wankers!

Richard McHarg
Sep 4, 2013 21:13

Enjoyed this article, but just one point: Osborne was educated at St. Pauls School, not Eton. Apparently, Cameron and Johnson wind him up about it. It appears there is a class system in the upper class.

cearc
Sep 4, 2013 22:20

Nice article, I take it you’re not an Osbourne fan.
As for ‘if the vote for independence was extended 100 miles south it would be seized upon enthusiastically with both hands’, you could always join the band of Mail/Telegraph commentators screaming to have Hadrian’s Wall rebuilt!

Why Scottish independence gets my vote | SayYes...
Sep 5, 2013 10:25

[...] POSH lad George Osborne headed north of the Border this week to tell the Scots how lucky they are to be ruled by Westminster. That’s a bit like sending a Sunderland supporter into my native Newcastle to give a lecture in the hallowed grounds of St James’ Park about the finer points of the beautiful game!  [...]

Daren
Sep 5, 2013 20:05

I back Scottish independence but Stew, you’re a traitor. Look to your history and see how often the Scots attacked Northumbria – an English, not Scottish, kingdom.

David Milligan
Sep 6, 2013 7:30

Daren; what has that got to do with anything nowadays? Changed days. Can you please tell me when Scotland last attacked Northumbria and whilst you’re doing that, can you tell me when we next plan to do it? Absolute piffle.

Scottish independence is about putting the needs of the people of Scotland above the needs of the politicians and actually achieving something for the people of Scotland. It isn’t about history, that’s gone and we can’t change it. It’s about the future and perhaps you should remember that before coming out with stuff like that. As a promoter and supporter of Scottish independence, I’m not driven by Braveheart, kilts, facepaint, bagpipes or any image that you might see on a Scottish shortbread tin. I’m driven by a desire to see that Scotland isn’t used as a cash cow by Westminster anymore, it’s driven by a wish to see a fairer more equal society in Scotland. Is that not what you want?

All Stew said was he had an affinity to Scotland, what’s wrong with that. Perhaps if we achieve independence and start doing better economically then Stew might consider a move to Scotland, does that make him a traitor? No of course not! I makes him a wise person that’s all. What a dreadful thing to say to anyone.

Stew, thank you for that kind statement and people like Daen are very few and far between (thankfully).

Kindest regards,

David Milligan Lvss

Derick Tulloch
Sep 6, 2013 8:35

Independence for Scotland will create an economic centre of gravity to counterbalance London and the South East. Can only be good for the North East. The North Will Rise Again, as the Fall had it!

Sandra
Sep 6, 2013 13:22

Great realy enjoyed reading this I wish the rest of scots would take heart in reading this to vote for a yes vote 14/9/2014 we can make a big difference by ruling Scotland ourselves

Scots wahey
Sep 6, 2013 20:13

it was revealed today that 25% of UKs exports is whiskey think of that revenue , When oil was discovered instead of Doing what Norway did and looking after Norwegian interests the Labour goverment let American companies come in and dictate and pay less Tax and allowed them to build rigs abroad this alone cost thousands of Fabrication jobs so not only did they Sacrifice jobs in Scotland but the North East as well
if you believe Labour will help the Working class remember that by lowing the rate low earners started to pay tax it harmed more folk on low incomes than any policy before or since
there is only one way you can protect your self and your family from Tory/Lib cuts and Labour indifference is a #yes vote

Taranaich
Sep 6, 2013 20:19

Daren, your comment makes no sense. Northumbria was a separate nation from the Kingdom of England, and indeed went to war with England on a number of occasions until it was formally united in the Anglo-Scottish Treaty of York in 1237. When that happened, Northumbria no longer existed. By that logic, the Western Isles are “traitors” to Ireland because they support the nation of Scotland despite the historically Gaelic kingdoms of Dal Riata and the Kingdom of the Isles warring with the Kingdom of Alba.

The current boundaries between Scotland and England are not purely defined by national borders. Northumbria extended as far north as the Tay – Edinburgh, Scotland’s capital, was one of the northernmost cities of Northumbria in the 9th Century. Would you then argue that the southeast of Scotland is “English, not Scottish” on that basis? It’s no more “English” based on its historic populations than Strathclyde is “Welsh,” or Sutherland is “Norwegian.” Scottish identity is founded on cultural, not ethnic, lines.

Andy
Sep 7, 2013 12:25

I’m also a Northumbrian, but I’ve live in Scotland for more than half my life and I’m now a member of the SNP (Obviously voting YES). I agree with Stew Northumberland is culturally and linguistically more Scots than English. There are a large number of Burns suppers in the county and a very high percentage of the population have Scots ancestry. If Northumberland were given a vote to stay in England or join an Independent Scotland, I think they could well vote to join Scotland.

Great stuff Yvonne that is an excellent article.

Barbara
Sep 7, 2013 14:58

Like you, Yvonne, I too am an incomer (moved here 11 yrs ago). I’ve felt more at home here, than I ever did in England.
I’ve always said that Scotland would be better off without Westminster, and I can’t wait for the day that becomes reality.
I still visit England, as I have family there, but if they lived here, I wouldn’t even visit for a holiday! Don’t get me wrong, there are some very nice people living there and some spectacular places, but,my heart is in the mountains and that’s where I’ll stay.

Anselmo
Sep 8, 2013 11:19

I’m Spanish:

I think the term “Independence for Scotland” is not correct. Because it is not a colony or a country invaded. It seems more correct “secession of Scotland”.

I object to a Scottish state belonging to the European Union.

If the Scottish people want to return to the times of Emperor Hadrian, I will respect your decision.

Phil
Sep 8, 2013 13:46

Bit concerned about Catalan ambitions Anselmo?

pictishbeastie
Sep 10, 2013 9:43

Anselmo, as has been pointed out to several people several times, Scotland will not secede from the union as the union will no longer exist once Scotland becomes independent again. Maybe you should read some books on Scottish history before you comment on Scotland’s constitutional status? Saor Alba, Saor Catalonia!

Eoghan Macmillan
Sep 11, 2013 1:00

As others have said, Anselmo, the issue of independence isn’t a matter of “return[ing] to the times of Emperor Hadrian”, or to any other time, for that matter – independence is about looking towards the future, rather than the past, and hoping to make something better than what there is today.

As for the matter of terminology: Scotland’s future is, in far too many ways, reliant on the whims of the political elite down in Westminster. If they want to dissolve the Scottish Parliament, they can. We want to remove ourselves from a situation where we are dependent on the good graces of those who have none – and that can be called nothing but independence.

As for the article itself: very nicely done, Yvonne. You articulate a lot of good points clearly and concisely. I’m particularly fond of the picture, as well. Overall, brilliant.

Saor Alba,
Eoghan

Anselmo
Sep 13, 2013 17:40

Phil:

would be more accurate to say that I am very concerned about Catalonia. But it is significant that the dramatic increase of secessionism is due to fear of the economic crisis. It is a phenomenon of mass psychology, not a genuine nationalist sentiment.

Something equivalent to what happened in Germany when the population voted to Nazism.

Anselmo
Sep 13, 2013 17:52

pictish

Thank you very much for your observation.
In fact I agree with you that Scotland is an ancient kingdom that joined England in equality, and now talks of going back to the previous situation. But I think the term “independence” does not do justice to Scotland, because Scotland is not a colony. I think it would be more appropriate “Separation”.

Anselmo
Sep 13, 2013 18:01

Eogah

I think the future of all European countries is to move towards greater integration in the European Union.

I believe that if Scotland decides to detach from the UK, should be left out the EU. Same for Catalonia, Bavaria, etc..

Furthermore unjust situations like you mention, not to be transferred to future governing bodies of the EU

j_888
Sep 15, 2013 19:36

If Scottish independence is about putting the priorities of the people first and delinkage from Westminster’s imperialist inclinations I’m all for it. The Braveheart narrative is being overplayed as are other stereotypes that smear the genuine – and longstanding – aspirations of the Scottish people.

Nauxer Vaixell
Oct 31, 2013 7:38

Visca Escòcia lliure! Visca els Països Catalans lliures! Visca Escòcia independent! Visca els Països Catalans independents!

Som més que una colònia.

We are something more, much more, than a damned colony.

We want our freedom. [What's wrong with that...?]

John
Nov 13, 2013 14:08

I am from sunderland and english and would love to see the bordar be 100 miles south as i hate everything that london has made of my country ,and as for scotish attacing northumria remark sumeone made i fink you will find in history the south has killed more northern english people then any other in the world ,look at ower industrys we were defeated by thatcher and we should now fight with our scotish alies against london as we did in the civil war ,FREE SUNDERLAND

Gary
Jan 14, 2014 15:59

Ironically, like John (above) I too am originally from Sunderland (currently living in Cork, Ireland). I love Scotland and the Scottish people and when I’ve ever met lads and lasses from Edinburgh or Glasgow on holiday we have the same or similar banter, humour and indecipherable accents.

I partly think it would be a huge tragedy if Scotland was to become a foreign country and in the same breath would gladly vote YES if the same privileges were extended a bit more south.

Country Durham, Northumberland, Cumbria, the Lothians, the Borders… what’s the difference besides hard graft and poverty? :)

ஆம் என்றாலும் இல்லை என்றாலும் ஸ்கொட்லாந்திற்கு தோல்வியில்லை – EelamView
Sep 15, 2014 1:01

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