Scotland says NO, NO, NO.

I have had a week to mull on Scotland’s referendum vote…here are my thoughts and views on the whole thing – YES, YES – THIS POST IS ABOUT POLITICS, SORRY! BUT IT’S IMPORTANT PEOPLE! (I won’t be offended if you skip this one though – but this is just my two pence on an issue that is dear to me!) I’m not mad at you for rolling your eyes…just stand there while I – WHAAAACK!

Lash GIF

“DEMOCRACY DEAD?! PFFT! TAK’ THAT, MAN!”

Scotland has voted no, SCOTLAND HAS VOTED NO! Seriously how fucking great would the UK actually be without Scotland? That would be false advertising at the very least…as an Englishman born and raised in the North East I am shocked, but genuinely overjoyed that Scotland remains part of the United Kingdom family – perhaps it’s selfish of me, but it was a horrible feeling to imagine that all of a sudden, overnight; there would be a clear division between people, friends and even families. I mean it would suddenly be a foreign delicacy for me to pick up my favourite (haggis and chips) from my local chippy! Would I still celebrate Robbie Burns night with my family, as we have all my life?

For 300 years we have been British, I know personally that I always eager to refer to myself as British rather than just English, as I am proud to relate myself to each and every member country of the union…I am not the only one, as the number of people living in Scotland who chose British as their national identity rose from 15% in 2011 to 23% in 2014, according to the Scottish Social Attitudes Survey. The number of people who chose Scottish fell from 75% to 65% over the same period…numbers don’t lie, surely.

Having spent a lot of time abroad, including North America and Asia – I have lost count of the amount of times I have been assumed to be Scottish due to a mixture of my accent and attitude. Even when I explain, and point it out on the map people are unclear – and when faced with the standard Americanized question: “so what part of London are you from?” intended as a synonym to: “so what part of England are you from?” I have found myself telling them I hail from nowhere near London! And in their eyes I become basically Scottish. Therein lies something important, there is a blur between the union countries, that can’t just be split up, divided, and disenfranchised just because of imaginary lines on a piece of paper.

The fact is that England isn’t just London, Great Britain isn’t just London, and the United Kingdom is not just London. We must have fair representation for all, and it appears that those in the North of England and Scotland are those who are the most overlooked when it comes to actual physical change and governmental effort. The thought process appears to be that as most of the big offices are centered in London, this is where most of the funding should go…leaving many to struggle and strive just to survive, never mind live a life full of conquered dreams and happiness. Due to this rather bleak outlook, it was certainly amusing for many of us to see every English politician resolutely shit their respective y-fronts at the thought that the YES campaign may be successful…at the same time, the hashed together, last minute approach from them actually served to speak volumes for how they really feel. Very disappointing.  I spoke with Scottish friends before the vote and they were disgusted and appalled, well…they were not their exact words…but you can use your imagination.

I don’t blame the Scottish people for seeking out independence, in fact if I was Scottish by birth and not just by historical lineage I would be all for it (my surname is Taggart, I don’t think you get more Scottish than that! Maybe William Wallace, but that’s about it!) So in that sense there will be widespread disappointment among many – after all, 45% of the vote (1.6 million people) voted FOR independence….that’s a huge number of people who took a stand at what they saw to be a broken system, something that simply didn’t work for them. I can certainly empathise, after all the boost that the YES campaign received was in part due to support on a massive level from younger voters, and the working class portion of the Scottish population…places like Glasgow, Dundee, North Lanarkshire post-industrial locations that appear to have been royally fucked over, stripped of all they have and left to rot. There are parallels here to coal mining and ship building cities in the north of England, such as my hometown Sunderland, go in any real pub and I promise you will meet people who still hold grievances attributed to life after Margaret Thatcher, and how the place was before all of that mess…

Braveheart quote GIF

One thing that can be said is that in the northern territories of the UK there is a great sense of pride, and a collective nature that binds the people together, this whole referendum and the media storm that circled it have proved at least one thing…that the referendum has been a working class revolt against austerity measures. It seems, enough is enough. BBC’s Andrew Marr  had this to say: “What started as a vote on whether Scotland would leave the UK has ended with an extraordinary constitutional revolution announced outside Downing Street by the Prime Minister.” You see, by pushing the Better Together group (NO voters) into an awkward corner, where it actually began to look like they may lose…leaders were forced to make last minute hasty concessions that they hadn’t expected…in doing so the cogs have began to turn, and look set for further change.

In a dream world Scotland would just absorb the North of England and we could all just tell the Labour and Conservative drones to fuck the fuck off. But that appears to be highly improbable. I’ll be saying my hail Marys though, you know just in case… 

People have began talks of more devolution of power…I mean, the folks in Wales and Northern Ireland will surely see this as a sign that they can receive more, surely it is only fair? More exciting is the idea of devolved powers for REGIONS – a more federal, American style model I suppose, which may demand a formal constitution to lay out set rules that can’t be quibbled. This has grown, and evolved far, far beyond just a nationalistic and patriotic march – and has instead leaped forward and tapped into a profound discussion on the United Kingdom we all want for the future. At the very least this is the start of a conversation that could lead to a more fair system…but we must keep the momentum going, people have short memories – there was a referendum in November 2004 on devolved powers to Northern England (not Scotland however), it was scrapped after the voters of the North East rejected the proposal by almost 78% landslide…what’s to stop the same thing happening again?  

When you consider the 2004 outcome, which had a horrific 49% turnout – it shows how much of a testament to the people of Scotland the unprecedented 85% turnout was – I mean 85% of voters turned up to lodge their opinion, 85% of them cared and wanted their opinion (YES, or NO) heard…it shows that people do care, and people do want to be part of positive changes that can move themselves forward. It proves that as much as Westminster may believe that the voting public are basically apathetic drones, they are wrong. So lets keep going, unified in our desire for a more fair and all encompassing system – let us harness that momentum for change, and join together with the many millions of disenfranchised and overlooked people across all four nations who also demand an alternative to the cynical Westminster styled view of a future in which good healthcare and education are a privilege rather than a right; let’s make some sort of legacy, let’s make something to be proud of.

I truly do hope that this is the start of something good, like most up these frosty parts I don’t trust those down Westminster as far as I could throw them, but I’ve seen the Scottish caber toss – so maybe with them as friends, that gives us some strength going forward.

English Scottish GIF

“PALS?”

“OH AYE.”

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28 thoughts on “Scotland says NO, NO, NO.

  1. I don’t follow politics that much, but obviously this I was interested in. Totally agree with you (not being a kiss ass), like really, I think we northerners have to stick together – I’m glad the majority of Scots decided to stay, but I do think those that voted yes need to be banished now… it’s like they’re being forced to stay with a partner they hate and have been slagging off…it hurts yano…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh me neither! This post has taken a week to write as I kept getting bored/frustrated dealing with facts and figures and urghhh…although for once I had interest in this despite the politics bullshit!

      I know 45% just have to deal with it, harsh!

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  2. As a true cockney, born within the sound of the bells of St Mary Le Bow I should just like to say that people in my area feel just as ostracised as the good folk in the North East and all points north of The Watford Gap.
    This is because most of us spend long periods of our lives in prison.
    Where’s the fairness in that then? 😦

    PS. Excellent read as ever John.

    Liked by 2 people

    • You’re right, you are definitely right and I can relate. I mean I’m no politics wizz, just a regular guy in that sense ~ but I feel this is what happens when government works on behalf of big business and not for the people it serves. Surely it should be helping out folks who need aid to SURVIVE not bailing out multi billion corporations who need it to THRIVE and maintain huge profits. Thanks for stopping by, you made me think today and that’s always a good thing. I hope we get something positive out of all this!

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  3. Reblogged this on ReloNavigator and commented:
    Scotland says No, No, No by Storytimewith John, who is one of our avid friends, illustrated the meaning of this experience to his personal point of view. Great article and ReloNavigator is pleased to share to our international friends and networks. Great Job, John!

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  4. I think there’s a wider political issue around how governments are formed. None of Scotland wanted a Tory government and why should they be subject to Tory rule when they never vote Tory. But the majority of the UK didn’t want a Tory government hence they only got the gig after teaming up with the yellow-bellies. Proportional representation is desperately required,

    Liked by 1 person

    • Very true, I was thinking “well I certainly didn’t want a conservative government! ” and then you said it! Although Labour honestly don’t offer too much in the way of difference these days, which is sad…I feel that is why a shake up is needed…people are growing tired of the same old, that’s why support is growing for parties like UKIP. This has me worried.

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  5. Mrs Smith would be very proud of you, John! Fantastically written article as ever. The race is on from now until May 2015 for the main parties to appease both Scotland and England with a convincing devolution plan and it’s a really tough task. It’s imperative that they do so or we’ll end up with UKIP making gains which would be a complete disaster.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aww thanks Becky, I had you in mind when I wrote this – Lord knows it was even more of a struggle than Mrs Smith’s essays! But something that I feel needs to be addressed.

      The UKIP situation is very worrying, extremely so actually – my family is largely divided between Conservative and Labour as most are…but I was shocked to hear my own Mother (who is a normal, respectable person) speak of UKIP “making more sense than the others”…I just hope people see sense. It says a lot about the poor standard of our existing party system (at the very least).

      Disaster is right. Anyway, I hope you are well ~ lovely to hear from you as always.

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  6. Okay, I am going to say something truly serious about this without meaning to offend anyone’s sentiments here, and who knows, you may even block me after this … but here goes! 🙂

    Seeing this whole Scottish English debacle, as an Indian hailing from independent India, I wish the British would have thought how it would affect us as a people when they played a large part in splitting present day Pakistan from India. Over 60 years of independence and we are still suffering the never ending repercussions of a people being divided on the name of religion. We have plenty of Islamic Indians living quite peacefully in India and my heart goes out to people like my grandfather who were kicked out of their ancestral homes overnight as they grew up in what used to be India. My granddad was born and brought up in Lahore (present day Pakistan) and the look in his eyes when he thinks he may die without ever being able to go back and visit where he grew up is enough to make anyone sympathetic, regardless of whether you understand the whole India Pakistan issue or not.

    I am glad for the UK but it just would have been nice if the feelings of fear, resentment, turmoil, nervousness, and all the other various emotions of being split up would have been entertained when the same was occurring in my country under the British Raj’s watchful eye – that’s all. The overused cliché of “divided we rule, united we fall” used on the Indian issue was just downright un-humanitarian, no two ways about it.

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    • Firstly I would like to say that naturally Britain shouldn’t have been there in the first place, but that much is obvious – it’s a strange one because in a way British people are proud of the history of the British Empire, but VERY embarrassed, if not ashamed at the brutal manner in which this legacy was created. Even now I just wish we would pack our shit up and go home, rather than trying to aid the USA in their policeman of the world quest – as it serves to just further fuck up largely war-torn places, usually leaving them in more of a mess.

      But anyway, to address your point as I understand it (which is with very limited knowledge so you know stick with me!) from what I have read I don’t believe it was Britain who made the decision in terms of the division – didn’t the Indian National Congress have some part in it, and The Muslim League were also massively influential during the whole process of Indian independence? I think it was through the pressure of the UN and of course Gandhi that all of this came to fruition, as it was only after this that there was a promise made of increased political Independence – and in turn Britain really only served to mediate between Nehru and Jinnah.

      With that said, Britain (and the US actually) are largely insensitive to other religions outside of Christianity. I hope you don’t bear any ill-will to common folk like myself! You know I have love for India, even though I do hate your VISA system 😉

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      • Haha, no ill-will to anyone individual, let’s not forget I was born in the UK! 😀 Yeah, I have read about all your visa woes, I hope that works out, but even us Indians are pulling our hair out with our visa system if that makes you feel any better :p

        I guess all we can hope for as a species is to learn from our past errors and improve the future. Someday I’m hopeful, other days I am more of the “shite, we’re screwed” opinion, but it’s all dependent on the blunders, I mean policies, politicians decide to dream up on any particular day 🙂

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  7. Cool post. I haven’t been following this issue much but your assessment seems pretty well researched. As an American, I personally can’t relate very well to anyone who wants to secede from a powerful state. Independence is a very hard road, and the USA had it easy, with a big plot of land to steal and harvest for ourselves. No offense to the yes voters, but I just don’t think it would turn out well for them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, I really appreciate your perspective on this as an American – I was wondering whether it even received coverage or if to the outside world it just came and went! I am VERY relieved it didn’t happen, but I am sure you can see it says a lot about people’s present situation that they are so desperate to get out! You see, a switch to a more federal state system would aid us, as everything is more balanced and basically better run! Or so it seems anyway!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. And now, as another American (albeit one living pretty close to Sunderland) I have to chime in and say that *most* of the Americans I’ve spoken to about it (and there were a few) seem to support Scotland sticking with the UK. I find it a bit baffling that “we” seem so convinced of the good of sticking with the UK–our ancestors didn’t think so highly of the British Empire, after all–but then, ever since America split from England, it’s been trying to crawl back into the lap of the Mother Country (so to speak; cue humorous film segments about the “special relationship” between the 2 nations).

    For me, actually living here, I have to say that I would tend to side with *anyone* who wants a government free from the influence of the Conservatives (okay, not UKIP, but almost anyone else). All of the amazing public services in this country (which are to be had at bargain prices, by US standards!) are slowly but surely being chipped away by the Tories, and it’s enough to make anyone who sees it in action understand the desire for independence. My personal situation is okay, but I know more people than I’d care to count who have suffered serious financial hardship, thanks to the current government; and my fella lost 2 consecutive jobs due to local authority budget cuts, way back when this first happened. It’s a combination of his good sense and sheer luck that we didn’t get into serious trouble ourselves, at that point… anyways, I digress.

    I think the main reason that so many Americans think that Scotland should stay in the UK is largely due to the romanticized view they have of the UK in general (everyone sees the Queen all the time, we have tea and crumpets at 4 p.m. every day, all my neighbours sound like Judi Dench/Hugh Grant/Nigella Lawson, depending on age/gender…). You’ve already touched on it a bit; “we” think that all of England is basically London, and that the words “United Kingdom” are some sort of synonym for “England”.

    The trouble is, we’re kind of right. Most of the UK’s funding and commerce and public transport is centred around the South of England. Most of the successful Brits of the last half-century who are actually known in the USA (and elsewhere?) have been posh-sounding, vaguely upper-or-middle-class actors (or, recently, cockneys). The exceptions to those rules don’t even always get recognized *as* British–I know plenty of Americans who are aware of Ewan McGregor, but when asked if he’s British, they fumble around and eventually settle on something like, “Uhhh, he’s Scottish, right? Or Irish?”… But there’s no real understanding of what that means, of the historical or modern differences between England/the R.O.I/N.Ireland/Scotland/Wales, or if the countries actually govern themselves, or whether one country governs them all (but if they guess, most Americans I know guess that England does most of the governing… and as the member of the UK with the densest population and greatest representation, it sort of does).

    Which brings us back to the original conundrum, YES or NO.

    I like your idea. Something a little more recent than the Magna Carta, and a little more complete than America’s Constitution, please, to divvy up Parliament a bit more fairly… and preferably *before* everywhere north of York does a runner. After all, I only have indefinite leave to remain in the UK.

    😀

    *I have done almost NO research for the above, and you’ll notice, most of what I’ve said is anecdotal. I’m a full-time mum and occasional student, not a political correspondent… so if any of my “facts” are wrong, please, call me on it, because I’m not likely to catch it myself.

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  9. That is very sad. Scotland have been part of United Kingdom literally by land for God knows how long. Me as an Asian who grew up admiring United Kingdom as the EPITOME of Kings and Queens with such amazing history, It will never be the same country i will ever know..I think it is more understandable if its the Northern Ireland to claim Independence and be completely back as part of the Republic of Ireland. Hmm.. I wonder what my Irish friends think about this.. Now, I am very curious.

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  10. Actually most Spaniards are glad they voted not, and it was I think by amount of around 1 million of margin from the people that went to the polls. Why did we Spaniards want the No, because we have 3 provinces at least that want to separate from the rest of Spain, and specially the Caltalans who are going to vote at the end of the year on a referendum as to weather they should then go ahead and do a general election of that Spanish province to be independent. They are not going to get anywhere but it stirs up the things, and you are right families get divided, and much worst for the nation as a whole. Plus if Scotland had gone, the whole European Union would feel it, plus even the “chief” of NATO forces was weary of it, since in that part of the U.K the English have the nuclear submarines which are a deterrent,( or are suppose to be anyways). So if Scotland had gone, not only would the U.K feel the impact but a whole bunch of other countries.

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  11. I’m a British person John and a proud one. That’s my business being the British Berliner and all that Ho! Ho! Ho! In fact, I’m from Manchester. Another Northerner here! Nobody knows where it is unless I say “United!”

    In Berlin, we’re all clogged together as American until I open my mouth. I have a posh accent you see! Some Germans are not convinced being that EVERYONE in England has pale skin……. so I must be American or Welsh!
    Of course, I’m glad that the UK is still together but, it was absolutely right that the Scottish people chose to decide whether they would like to stay in the Kingdom or not. I’m all about making your own choice no matter how hard it could be. The Scottish people chose “No”. Accepted. However, there is a long list of reasons why a large number voted “Yes” and that has to be addressed and more power shared. Right, back to the love!

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  12. I think many Scottish people chose no because of their elusivity. Scotland like Ireland is one of those First world type countries that have been getting bashed around a lot and made anonymous many ways. I guess people can understand the rivalry between France and England at olden times but internal domination and hegemony is very hard to digest. It happens everywhere and Scotland deserves the right to shine as an important country who is given due reparations, acknowledgements and stuff.

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