Ross McCrae

Ross McCrae is voting Yes to Scottish Independence on when Indyref2 comes around. Read why here, and if you like it, share with your friends.

I'm not a nationalist (definitely not a Nationalist), and as such I'd always thought of Scottish independence as being a bit of a distraction from the real issues.  When the SNP got their majority in the Scottish Parliament, and the referendum became likely, I thought - with relief - that there'd be no way Scotland would vote yes. 

Between then and now I've hummed and hawwed, while more and more of my friends have come out in favour of a Yes.  The Yes campaign(s) have made a compelling case. And in the end, while I still have reservations about voting Yes, I don't think any of those reservations are a reason to vote No.

Those reservations, and why I'm voting yes anyway:

As much as I wish it were so, I don't believe an independent Scotland would be any sort of lefty paradise, and if there's a welcome divergence up here from the UKIP-pandering, anti-public services, anti-welfare state agenda emanating from Westminster and distressingly popular in quite a lot of the UK, it's not such a great divergence that it couldn't disappear over time.  So I worried that voting Yes for the short-term goal of escape from Cameron's UK would be short-sighted.  But the more I think about it, what are the long-term reasons for staying anyway?  Most of the economic arguments I've heard from the No camp are focused on pragmatism and the near future as well.  People are suffering from ideologically-driven austerity measures NOW, and if there's a chance we can take a different path, there'd need to be a really compelling reason not to take it.  I cannot find such a reason.

Hopefully it goes without saying - nation states are more or less arbitrary - lines on maps and a shared belief in some (necessary) founding myths, shared institutions and various versions of a shared history.  It's all very well to say we should govern ourselves, but "we" is so complicated... And yeah, small countries probably are often more democratic and have more directly accountable governments; but if the world was divided up into Scotland-sized countries, there might be more consensus within countries, but international relations could get more complicated in an inverse degree.  So I don't think an independent Scotland would be necessarily a better, or more natural, size of country than the UK.  But would it be worse?  I don't see why it should be.

And finally, I might be in quite a small minority of my peers here, but I've still a tiny bit of hope for Miliband.  He's been shamefully lacking in boldness, but I think his heart's more or less in the right place.  I do believe that he'd be significantly more egalitarian, less Thatcherite, and more protective of the welfare state than Blair, and while that's hardly a glowing endorsement, it's probably the best we can hope for in a first-past-the-post system where a large part of the electorate are more and more right-wing.  But while I do think Miliband's probably a more sincere centre-left politician than Salmond, it's all about the electorate, and those Mail readers in the South aren't going anywhere, and as it stands the electoral maths mean he's got nothing to gain from rallying the lost Labour voters in the heartlands, and everything to gain from wooing Tory voters in swing seats.  And again, even if Labour get in at the next Westminster election, and they're surprisingly not bad, it's still not really a reason to vote no. 

So that's where I'm at.  I wholeheartedly believe in the Green Yes vision of Scotland, and it seems like quite a lot of the country, and quite a lot of politicians of other parties do too.  I think it's worth a bash.  What better a founding mythology for a new nation than one based on fighting inequality and defending public services?