I have been following recent developments in the Scottish referendum debate and it has made me smile a lot – but it has also made me more than a little angry.
First of all, let’s get one thing absolutely straight and clear. Michael Moore, my MP, Secretary of State for Scotland, has no mandate, no authority and no moral grounds for claiming to represent the majority of people in his native land or in his constituency. The party he is propping up has one – yes, one – MP in Scotland, and since he decided to back that route his own party has been reduced to having only four – yes, four – members in the Scottish parliament.
If there was an election tomorrow, does Mr Moore seriously think that he could retain his seat here in the Borders? The evidence is not good.
The upper echelons of his party, including himself, have been so hungry for power, ignoring their grass-roots support, that they have managed to fall headlong into Prime Minister David Cameron’s trap. They are the fall guys for all the Tory policies, watching their popularity plummet, while the Conservative support has only been slightly affected. Why does Michael Moore think David Cameron did not appoint David Mundell as Secretary of State? Is he really that naïve?
More importantly, their keystone policy demand of the last 40 years, namely electoral voting reform, has been successfully defeated once and for all by their own coalition partners, and we have heard not one word of complaint by the Lib Dem hierarchy. One can only guess at how many Lib Dem councillors and MPs will still be in place after the next round of elections, while Cameron is laughing down his sleeve at how the irrelevant Moore and all his cohorts were duped.
Now we are faced with some strange bedfellows. All the unionist parties – Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat – are united in trying to dictate to the Scottish Government and the Scottish people how their referendum should be run. And, of course, the only thing that is uniting them in trying to take control of this referendum is their desire to make sure that there is a “No” vote.
Let’s put aside all the many distractions Michael Moore and his Tory friends try to introduce, and let us please concentrate on one basic point – the one that convinces me that he is wrong and that independence is the only way forward.
If Scotland chooses to stay in the United Kingdom we will be condemned forever to be in a minority that has its own vision of how our society should be, outnumbered and outvoted by a permanent majority down south who do not share that vision. No matter how many times we overwhelmingly reject Thatcherism, Majorism, Cameronism, whatever, Michael Moore wants the Scottish people to put their vision aside and bow to the wishes of a permanent majority who share little if any of our aspirations – in fact, more than often a directly opposing vision.
I, for one, can’t see how opting to stay in this permanent state of minority can in any way be in the best interests of the people of Scotland. Furthermore, I can’t explain to anyone how supporting this position is in any way democratic. Can Mr Moore?
In my own small way, I’d like to oppose everything that my MP is doing on my behalf, and I invite you to do the same.
I run Denholm Folk Club, I am artistic director of Denholm Folk Festival and I am also artistic director of The Land The Light The Locals Festival in the Borders. Apart from lending my support to whatever strategies the “Yes” campaign adopts, it is my intention to organise a series of musical events and concerts, culminating in a huge event on the eve of the forthcoming vote that will hopefully attract massive public support, plus backing from the region’s artistic community and I invite anyone who wishes to join me to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last May you published a letter about the SNP in which I said: “Westminster politicians will pull every trick out of the bin to discredit our SNP government and thwart its every policy.” Well, it’s started, hasn’t it?
While the right-wing English press and politicians constantly complain about Scotland being the subsidy junkie of the UK, it is strange that they are so desperate Scottish people do not gain independence.
The SNP has promised Scottish voters a democratic multi-choice referendum about Scotland’s future. But the Westminster Tory-led coalition, with their gutless Lib Dem lackeys, talk the good talk about democracy, but will dictate the referendum question.
Thus by their actions and not their rhetoric should they be judged.