Moving on from the politics of excuses

Elizabeth-Anne CallahanElizabeth-Anne Callaghan is a Labour member who voted Yes in the independence referendum, accepted the result, and thinks it’s time we moved on. 


45. 55. Still Yes. Naw means Naw. Proud to be British and Scottish. Scottish not British.

I think I’m now in the minority when it comes to the Scottish independence debate. I see the above slogans and they don’t mean much to me. Slogans certainly don’t feed my kids, of that I’m certain.

For what it’s worth, I voted Yes in September 2014’s independence referendum, and spent a wee bit of time mulling over the result and writing to my Labour MP with my gripes (as you do).

To his credit there was always a polite and prompt reply, and he always covered all the  points I raised. Away from the intensity of the run up to the vote, it was good. We discussed the view of solidarity across borders and shared issues that can be addressed together.

I could see others on social media and in places like George Square reacting in their own way to this huge vote for Scotland’s future, and indeed the future of England, Wales and Northern Ireland. I was able to accept the result and move on. With friends, family and work colleagues all having mixed views and voting differences, how long was I really supposed to pick over the bones of the result anyway ?

And to this day, there are no new arguments. The Yes campaign still don’t really offer independence from the UK and some of their forecasts have been a bit on the wild side. The No campaign are still making promises that they can’t really keep. We just go over the same ground that we did 2 or 3 years ago with nobody adding anything. Not a single thing. Yet around and around we go, slogans galore.

I didn’t leave Labour over indy, nor did Labour leave me (speaking of slogans). In fact I still have a lot in common with many Labour members and voters.

Some Scots don’t see anyway forward unless Scotland is independent. What if that never happens and you’re betting on a hypothetical situation? If it’s a fairer Scotland that drives folk to vote for indy, then surely it’s party policies that they need to be looking at? Yet they clearly aren’t.

I remember reading about Labour’s former Health Secretary, Aneurin Bevan, and the opposition he faced for what was to become our NHS. And it’s true, there were problems with National Insurance contributions not covering anywhere near the cost, and prescription charges being introduced by the 1950s. But forgive me for stating the obvious: the pros by far outweigh the cons.

With the opposition Labour are facing due to their indy stance, can you imagine trying to introduce an NHS today? And my point with this is that I don’t have to imagine it. As a public service worker in Scotland, it’s very much my reality.

Holyrood has become a powerful devolved parliament yet here we are, accepting decisions made in Westminster when we have the power for alternatives. Aw, we’re still co-dependent, why should we pay for Tory austerity, 21 Labour MPs abstained on the fiscal charter vote last whenever – the list of excuses goes on.

With devolution has come a much more decentralised UK, and this was always one of my strong reasons for voting Yes – to see power in communities. But for some reason the Scottish Government is pro-centralisation, and power in our communities is dwindling. And still the excuses come.

My thinking now is if we can make excuses like this when Scotland isn’t independent, you can bet your last Scottish/English/British fiver we’d do it in an independent Scotland as well. What will really change in an independent Scotland – ah yes, we can hold the Scottish Government to account when we’re independent. Really? Based on recent evidence, will this happen?

Most damning of all, we have a Scottish National Party happy to implement Tory austerity on the Scottish people riding high in the polls, and running scared of taxing high earners even though they had this policy in their general election manifesto less than a year ago.

An independent Scotland, free from England, Wales and Northern Ireland, will be a fairer Scotland? Sadly I’m no longer sure it would be.

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8 thoughts on “Moving on from the politics of excuses

  1. Largely agree that now is a time for party not constitutional politics. Also agree that the SNP have been remarkably timid (so far) with the powers granted but perhaps that may loosen after the election. The problem In Scottish (party) politics right now is that you could actually put a fag paper between the three centre or centre left parties (Lib Lab SNP). Labour and the LDs can happily campaign for higher taxes etc but we don’t have to look very far at all for reasons to believe that if given power they too would be just as wedded to the status quo and practitioners of small and incremental change as the SNP appear to be. Their additional problem is that they both lack strong personalities at the top that are going to cut through to people.

    I was a Yes voter and voted SNP last year but right now am far more interested in delivering a strong and diverse Scottish parliament than re-running the referendum (although given another 5-10 years we may be ready to face the question again). Will I be unique in the position of flirting with the prospect of 1st vote SNP, 2nd vote Labour?

    1. Callum, I ask you to please consider giving both votes to Labour at this election. Our record in government (at both UK and Scottish levels) proves that when Labour is in power we act decisively and boldly, tackling inequality in a meaningful and progressive way through investment in education, health, transport, the environment, local government et al. For the many, not the few, always.

  2. “An independent Scotland, free……….a fairer Scotland? Sadly, I’m no longer sure that’s true”.
    I would disagree, but it would in the end depend on the electorate, that being democracy.
    I feel having spent time in England, and having family there, that they are much more prone to vote Conservative (and indeed UKIP) than we Scots. Again that is democracy, and demographically, we will always be dependent on the vote down south for the colour of government we have.

    1. It’s not reasonable to talk of “England” (or indeed “Scotland”) as places of a particular political views. Try and find a Tory in Sunderland. Or Stoke. Or Liverpool. Or Newcastle. You might if you search hard enough, but your description (“they are much more prone to vote Conservative”) is simply untrue when applied to these places and many more. Like Scotland, England is politically varied. It’s really quite dishonest to add up the total votes in England and pretend they are evenly geographically spread across the whole place. London elected more Labour MPs than MPs from any other party last year, for example.

      1. Come off it, Duncan. I was commenting on an article discussing Scotland—” and indeed the future of England, Wales and N Ireland” the article has it.
        Scotland exists as a constitutional entity, as does England. Have you never heard of EVEL?
        The Tories formed a UK government with only 15% of those who voted in Scotland. They may increase that by a few points but a revival seems unlikely.
        What happens in English regions is not the issue, if we accept that England is, and sees itself, as a “National” entity—-an entity which is more inclined to vote very differently from Scotland.
        You seem inclined to having a rightist government in the UK, all, or most of the time. Most Scots don’t share that view I think.

        1. So your response to me pointing out that England is not politically homogenous is to simply ignore it. I see.

          1. Duncan, my house isn’t “politically homogenous”, so “your point is, caller”?
            The article on your site references Scotland, England etc. These are considered ( by the media, political parties etc) political collective units—even though they are NOT homogenous.
            The BBC, the Labour Party, old Uncle Tom Cobley refer to——
            England voted for Blah
            Scotland voted for Blah, Blah
            I don’t start it, but you have to catch up with ” how things are”!

          2. That’s an even more incredible non-argument.

            “I know it’s not true but I’m going to pretend it is anyway because it suits me.”

            How depressing politics can sometimes be.

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