In Douglas Adams’ book “Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy”, all the dolphins leave earth just before it is annihilated. Their parting message to the humans: “So long, and thanks for all the fish”.
I think that’s pretty apt for our current situation.
Scotland, we are on the road to ruin here. It’s really time for you to run, and save yourselves.
As we all know, there are more panda bears in Scotland than Tory MPs – yet you have endured the Tory-led coalition along with us. This seems enormously unfair – as a nation, you have roundly rejected the principles not only of conservatism, but neoliberalism full stop. This was seen in your rejection of New Labour for the SNP.
It seems patently clear to any observer with half a wit that you are at heart a social democracy. Your population rally together en masse to vote for social democrats, and reject political parties who fail to live up to social democratic principles.
This puts Scotland both geographically and politically alongside Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden and Iceland. Small nations whose ambitions are not about some expression of geo-political might, but instead creating a prosperous, democratic, egalitarian and equal society at home.
These are nations that grant individuals and enterprises the freedom to offer goods and services – but not gamble with the fundamentals on which its citizens and economy rely; health, education, shelter, energy, water and so on.
And because the success of such nations is so dangerous to those who promote the opposite – they tell you its impossible for you to achieve.
Scotland, you are showing us the way right now.
The apparent and growing majority of you willing to “Vote Yes” and make a stand for democracy are doing so in the face a “Better Together” mainstream media that has thrown everything at terrifying you into a No vote.
They say you’re too small to do it on your own, despite your economy being £2,300 richer per person than the rest of the UK, outstripping that of Japan, Italy and even France.
They say that once you leave, you’ll be gobbled up by speculators and corporations. Yet, Iceland, with a population of just 300,000 was able to repel the debt merchants of the US, UK and western world in order to ensure that bankers, not tax payers footed the bill for the Financial Crisis. Scottish taxpayers shackled to the Westminster political system suffered the opposite. The executives who caused the crisis made off with bonuses, pensions and a life of luxury – while the public faced ideological austerity.
They say that if you leave, you can’t have the pound. To hell with the pound. Create your own currency, call it the Macarena for all I care, you have it within you.
You’ve even got all three party leaders up there making nice, an impending war in Iraq and a Royal Baby thrown in for good measure.
In the face of all that, you continued to vote Yes.
So now, they’ve upped the ante.
After many of you have already cast your vote, Westminster is changing the rules of the game – making promises we know they will not keep. Even if they did, it wouldn’t be enough, because they cannot promise you that to which they are ideologically opposed. They cannot promise to become social democrats, and they will not, as they have not, allow Scotland to become a social democracy within the UK.
If you want the power to fulfill your social democratic aspirations, you must become a free and independent nation. That is what the Yes campaign understands.
Now, some down here in England are taking all this very personally. They feel a sense of rejection or abandonment. Some even go so far as to argue we shouldn’t support Scottish Independence because we’ll be left with a Tory majority.
Well England, that’s OUR problem. We must address the flaws in our own voting system and levels of political awareness and engagement ourselves. In fact, the exposure of these issues by Scotland’s secession may well force us to confront this issue in a more urgent, earnest way. But bottom line, that is not a matter for Scotland.
Your nation is on the verge of a truly revolutionary event. You have created for yourselves, the opportunity to transform your country socially, politically and economically, into something that expresses the will of your people.
It’s not about a flag, a national anthem, or a currency – it’s about the ability to make the decisions that shape your individual and collective futures.
That is something for which it is worthy of making a stand.
If we English want the same – it’s on us to put the work in to achieve it. Your lesson is something from which we should be taking deep comfort and inspiration.
I sincerely hope that come the 18th of September, a new era begins for an independent Scotland.
Let it signal “game on!” for an independent England – free from austerity, free from inequality, free from crony capitalism.
It’s time for Scotland to say: “So long, and thanks for all the fish”.