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Some of my other reasons for #VoteYES




Last week I wrote a very lengthy post on why I had been brought round to vote yes in the upcoming Scottish referendum, despite having originally been a no. The words in that post came from my heart but I mentioned that even before Zara's talk my Unionist beliefs had been slipping. This post is going to be exploring some of the other reasons why I'm voting yes and this post will be coming from my head, rather than my heart.

For me personally, I've considered myself British and Scottish my whole life so I've never supported independence in its principle and the emotional arguments were never going to win me round. However since the start of the year more and more has been written on the subject and as I did my reading I was discovering logical reasons as why to voting yes would be the best choice.

  • Scotland and Holyrood have shown themselves to be more progressive than Westminster in many areas (public NHS, free higher education) and if we were to become independent we would be allowed the possibility to become even more progressive.
  • All the parties that support independence - SNP, Scottish Greens and Scottish Socialist Party - have more progressive policies that involve public services and a safety net for society's vulnerable. The parties that are Unionist - Labour, Tories, Liberal Democrats - have not had such a good record on such matters (despite what two of these parties traditionally stood for).
  • We have a more democratic voting system to elect MSP than MPs. Since the creation of the Scottish Parliament we have moved from a LibDem-Labour coalition to an SNP majority. The last time there was a Prime Minister who wasn't Labour or Conservative? 1937. Though you could argue it was 1922...
  • And this voting system means we don't necessarily need to have the SNP as our government post-independence.
  • Also, imagine a country where the chances of the Tories ever be elected is minimal. Imagine...
  • I'm not an economist or accountant and the discussion around the Barnett formula hurts my head, but it has been reported that it is possible it will be re-jigged and if Scotland gets a smaller share we're going to have to cut costs somewhere (could be the NHS, free education, or anything else).
  • If we're independent we'll be allowed to devise our own tax system - we can't say what kind of tax system we'll have (will depend on who the elected party is) but combine it with Scotland's generally progressive left-leaning attitude we can assume it will be fairer (such as council tax devised on income) and spent more fairly.  
  • We've been told Westminster won't allow us to use the pound but they allow Gibralter and Jersey to use it. Ireland used a currency linked to the pound after independence and New Zealand used the British Pound until 1937. Again, not an economist but it's unfair to say we can't use the pound but allow these countries to.
  • We've been told we will have to pay to use the BBC, but the last I checked we pay for it as part of the UK. And to say we won't be allowed it? Well, one look at the Republic of Ireland TV guide and the Swiss TV Guide makes it obvious, yet again, that they are allowing other countries to use British services but saying we won't be able to.
  • As for putting up a border, why do Westminster say they'll put up an English-Scottish border but there isn't a UK border between Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland? (Can't imagine passport checks going down too well in Scotland or England).
  • If devo plus was on the ballot I'd take it and I still prefer the sound of it. However, it was Westminster that kept that option off the ballot paper! (Why should we believe they'll offer it in the event of a no vote?)
  • The rise of UKIP and the rowdiness of the Tory backbenchers are making an in-out referendum on the EU more and more possible. I have no solid answer as to whether Scotland will get back into the EU (and when) but there's no guaranteeing rUK will remain in the EU either. (And Cameron might not get to renegotiate Britain's current relationship)
  • On the topic of the EU, the mainstream media has only been reporting on the viewpoints of people who say we won't get back in but some non-mainstream media has different things to say. (Essentially different people say different things)
  • Scotland going independent could (and probably will) be the biggest kick up the backside Westminster will ever receive. There are English people who support a yes vote for this very reason. Independence will give campaigners for change in rUK a new argument to run on: "Scotland were so sick of you they would rather take the risks of independence if it meant they didn't have to live one more day under your rule" - but possibly more eloquently. Not to mention it could strengthen Plaid Cymru in Wales (Sinn Fein in Northern Ireland has officially remained neutral on Scottish independence).
I'm voting yes because Westminster looks like it's just going to get worse whilst the majority of independence voters are painting a picture of a country I'd like to live in. As I said earlier, I consider myself British and it is going to be a heavy heart that I vote to leave (and I doubt I'll celebrate either outcome) as I really want to believe that the UK can get out this mess. Honestly, if the vote went no this time I'd live with it and if the UK government gave themselves a long hard look and fixed the issues that caused Scottish independence to gain popularity, I'd probably forget about the 18th of September and focus on some other issue. And if a referendum on the issue came round again within my lifetime I'd sit down with all the facts again and make my decision with a new clean slate (and it might well be a no). 

But right now, weighing up everything that's going on on Westminster and a political landscape which is different in Scotland, I'm going with yes. 

Morag x
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