Region or nation? The choice is ours

I would very much like to appeal to all people in the Borders who plan to vote Yes. I am with you.

I want to appeal to all those who have reached the decision that a Yes vote is in the interests of Scotland’s long-term prosperity.

The debate we are embarking upon is not about currency (we will use the pound) and it is not about pensions (they are safe and the UK Government has confirmed this as fact, despite absolutely no media coverage of this important point).

The argument those seeking a Yes vote in September have with Better Together is driven by disbelief at the attitude the politicians in Westminster take towards the people of Scotland. Do we really believe this is the best Scotland can hope or aim for? Are we in Scotland not better placed to run our affairs than those we elect to London to do so on our behalf?

Better Together seeks – in its “open, honest and positive” campaign – to inform us of all the benefits we enjoy as part of the United Kingdom.

According to the Act of Union 1707, “the two kingdoms of Scotland and England … be united into one kingdom by the name of Great Britain”. The United Kingdom of Great Britain “be represented by one and the same parliament, to be styled the Parliament of Great Britain”.

The argument we have with this merger is that Scotland has been since this time – and continues to be – ruled by a parliament that fails to acknowledge or reward us for the contribution we make to the Union.

In 1746 they banned kilts and in the same year implemented an act that broke the clan system, effectively ending care in the community and breaking a social system that had worked. This breaking of the Scottish nation was done by those in power to cement control over subjects.

This was done because of the threat to power in Edinburgh/London.

Around this time the Highland Clearances began to promote profits from the land, despite effects on the population.

This choice we face in September is not about nationality, it is not about those things we take for granted – we will continue to take them for granted.

The choice we face in September is one of self-determination for the people of Scotland.

Imagine for a minute that Scotland was an independent country and on September 18 this year you were being asked if you wish to see your country uniting with its nearest neighbour who was to be given control of more than 80 per cent-plus of powers. Those powers would be dictated mainly by a small enclave of constituencies that their two-party system targets for swing voters and therefore decides the governing party.

Generally speaking, the people that live in these constituencies do not share our political priorities. They would place weapons of mass destruction that our people don’t want in our country, and we would have to pay for this privilege. They also plan to take our massive wealth from our resources and spend that wealth mainly in their country for projects that we won’t benefit from.

They would allow us a parliament, but can remove it at any point, without warning.

The choice we face is clear – are we a devolved region of the Parliament of Great Britain, or are we the nation of Scotland?

The cultural, commercial and emotional ties that bind us to our neighbour will never be lost and a shared history not forgotten.

What we lose is control from a far, far away parliament that, because of the two-party system and first-past-the-post elections, pays no heed to the way the majority of Scottish people vote. Vote Labour – get Conservative. Scottish MPs vote against bedroom tax – Westminster imposes bedroom tax.

The Union has been successful in a number of areas, but the time has come to move on.

There is no doubt Scotland can be a nation again and a successful one. We have ample natural resources, and an intelligent, hard-working and motivated population.

Alistair White

Harleyburn Court

Melrose