I don’t want to dwell on this but felt it required a response – because it is about someone I respect and because it provides a harsh light on an aspect of the debate.
I read with a shudder Tom Brown’s article in his old paper, the Record today in which he opens up about his views of the debate and in so doing, illuminates something Yes has never got to terms with – a widespread and deep-rooted contempt for the concept of our national independence.
It is a powerful belief that defies all logic to any other nation…the idea that Scotland isn’t really a nation as others, that to aspire to be like the others is some kind of betrayal of Britain and is an insult to all Scots. It is an overwhelming emotion that Scottish nationalism on the one hand and desire for independence as a means to social reform on the other are pitiable, small-minded trifles beneath consideration by intelligent voters.
Rules that are never applied to any other country be it New Zealand or Canada, strife-torn Ukraine, tiny Malta or the wasteland of Gaza are nevertheless forced on Scotland to show that self determination, far from invoking pride and self-esteem, is divisive and dangerous, breaks up families and leads to bitterness.
It is almost as if just by having an open debate and a democratic vote, we have spat on the flag.
Tom runs over the practical problems he thinks will accrue from a Yes vote but never once talks of Scotland with pride as his country, doesn’t find a scintilla of hope in the ambition to be independent and expresses nothing positive of what a Scotland run by Scots for Scots might achieve.
Simultaneously, he turns a blind eye to the horrors of Union being visited on our population today. A Labour man who spent his life with a Labour paper finds no words in his analysis of the rapid growth of measurable poverty, of welfare sanctions, of foodbanks, of income cuts for the disabled, the harsh treatment of young war veterans, the fall in pensions fashioned by his hero Gordon Brown, the spiralling national debt, Labour’s adherence to Tory spending plans and no revulsion at his side working hand-in-glove with the people implementing those measures.
Instead he deprecates the debate itself, as if just talking about it is anti-democratic and goes on to say it is the nastiest he has encountered in all his years. It is certainly true that there is venom if you look for it but most of the sparks are caused by the passion the independence debate generates.
Why so fearful? Does he not remember the poll tax riots, the furious debate by Labour in Govan Town Hall with Tommy Sheridan in full cry and walk-outs? Did he miss the punch-ups and scuffling at poll tax events between protestors and police? Was he elsewhere when the Labour victors at the Glasgow Central by-election walked out through a phalanx of hissing spitting Nationalists? Where was he when the Monklands by election exploded in 1994…in the words of the Herald: ‘The bitter Monklands East by-election campaign dragged up allegations of nepotism, sectarianism, corruption, and a biased spend between Airdrie and Coatbridge’? The local Labour council leader refused to endorse the Labour candidate.
I and many like me are proud of this debate – the longest in our history and one which has galvanised a whole new constituency of voters to engage with the process and to bring new voices to the discussion and new ideas and left Tom’s conventional media behind. Only the willfully deaf could fail to hear the voices of respectable Scotland in this debate and register only the drivel we post on Twitter.
It is the people who can’t grasp what is going on and don’t want Scotland to change who are bored with the campaign and if Tom Brown is still saying there isn’t enough information out there, his bow tie must be emitting a force field to block data. The ‘not-enough-info’ line is the issue-dodger’s excuse. It really means ‘don’t bother me with facts, my mind is made up.’
He quotes Brown: ‘This a debate and a decision that affects children whom I love and people whom I respect’. Exactly. This is for our children so that 180,000 of them don’t have to live in poverty, suffer ill-health and diminished life chances, in homes free from alcohol abuse and with the chance to transform social mobility and our economy through fee-free education.
And how more respectful could you be than to treat your friends and neighbours as equals and work in partnership with them – the normal relations between friendly independent states?
We look at this through different ends of a telescope. I see a clear future up close and imminent and they see a distant, ill-defined horizon, too far and too difficult to achieve.
Tom’s article is worth a read http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/politics/independence-referendum-legendary-political-commentator-3802346.
It made me recoil in horror at the picture he contrives at the very suggestion of our own little Scotland running its own affairs but it shows you clearly how others don’t have ambition for Scotland, don’t care enough to grant it independence, don’t believe we could manage and have tied themselves emotionally to the UK. This is a Britnat declaration – the UK is their country and Scotland comes a long way second. Tom’s article drips with implied contempt and reveals how it isn’t just Tories who have disdain for the Scots but it is very much alive in Labour circles too, demonstrating that the party prefers right wing Tories – quite likely working with UKIP in less than a year’s time – decimating our country, than Scottish-elected governments delivering social justice.by