I’ll tell you what I want (what I really really want)
I want to live in a fair society. That’s all.
I don’t need to live in a socialist utopia, be a beacon of enlightenment in an age or darkness or own a hover-bike. I just want to live in a society that I can be proud to be a part of.
One that takes care of its sick for free.
One that makes sure its elderly, weak and infirm are cared for and have at the very least their basic human needs catered for.
One that treats the full spectrum of genders, sexual preferences, races and creeds equally and with respect.
One that does not line the pockets of the few to the detriment of the many.
One that gives its young the best start in life by providing good education, a fair crack at a job and affordable entry-level housing.
One that allows families access to decent childcare options.
etc. etc. etc.
A few minutes ago I read http://www.scottishreview.net/CarolCraig172.shtml and it shook my confidence in the Yes vote I was planning to make. What if we ushered in some kind of über libertarian new age in Scotland? What if we went from frying pan to furnace? What if I was just being selfish in my desire to see a fairer society? In one, well-reasoned piece, Carol Craig managed to do what no politician could possibly have done. She made me think differently about how I was planning to vote.
And I’m glad that she did.
I’ve waited this whole referendum for the No campaign to make a reasoned argument for staying in the Union. Yet all I’ve seen so far has been Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt. A parade of Westminster drones dispatched to read aloud the party line. I agonised for months over the decision I was going to make and how it would affect my family. I eventually came down on the side of Yes because the alternative I saw was the end of hope. A slow but steady decline into a place where democracy died, not with a bang but a whimper, or more likely an apathetic shrug of the shoulders.
But what if the whole United Kingdom could unite again as a nation, but this time against the tide of beige politics, of unchecked global capitalism, of elitism? That’s the dream, right?
But here’s where, for me, Carol’s article falls down, in the very spoonful of sugar that is supposed to make the bitter medicine of declining independence taste better. She has said throughout the article that optimism is not what is called for at this juncture; that pessimism should be our weapon of choice. And yet it takes more optimism to hope that the whole of the UK can overhaul its political system than it does to start with Scotland. What exactly are we going to do in order to bring about a radical, UK-wide new political system? What referendum is on the table for that? How can we convince those who’s best interest is served by the status quo to allow us to disrupt that?
As I see it the only real hope we have for political change is for Scotland to become independent. Yes it will be painful, I have no doubt of that (and never did). But I do still believe that it will be worth it. If we can do that then we can lead by example. To show what is possible.
So yes I’m prepared to gamble the one chip I’ve been given on creating a better society. Because it’s better than carrying that chip around on my shoulder for the rest of my (and possibly my children’s) life. And, IMHO, it’s way less naive than believing that if I give my chip back to the house, I might be in with a chance to win something even better.