I’m a Yes supporter. I’ve been a Yes supporter since before the Yes campaign existed. Since I first began to take an interest in such things it seemed natural that Scotland should govern its own affairs, and the debate over the past year or so has only strengthened that view. I’ve read everything I could get my hands on about it, from official government papers, to political blogs, and all the papers as often as possible. I’ve even broken my only rule when it comes to print publications and read the Mail from time to time without frothing at the lips, seeing red and angrily smashing everything within reach in reaction to the vilest daily publication I’ve ever known.
I have no sympathy for those undecideds who say they don’t have enough information. I put it down largely to the fact that they haven’t read as much as I, which is understandable in some cases – not everyone has the time to trawl through GERS – but when the information is out there for all to read and make up their own minds, it seems childish to whine that a political campaign hasn’t spoon-fed it to you well enough.
And that’s what a large number of undecideds want from Yes Scotland and Better Together, make no mistake. They’re hardly trailblazers either. In anything put to the public in any country, campaigns spend most of their time catering to the lowest possible denominator because let’s be honest, people are stupid. A recent poll across England and Wales showed that a sizeable chunk of voters thought UKIP was a left-wing party. A majority of Americans think Christianity is older than Judaism (if you’re forgiving of this, consider the names of the Old Testament and the New, then reinvigorate your scepticism). 10% of people in the UK don’t know the Earth goes round the Sun. I shit thee not. This is the land of ‘It’s The Sun wot won it.’
As opposed to the generally well-written and educated (if not always editorially sound) articles in the broadsheets, we lap up the CAPITALISED AND BOLDED opinions in the tabloids, which spew rubbish at a rate that’s simply staggering. Today the front pages of the newspapers focus largely on a new investigation into energy suppliers in the UK.* It’s a real, important, interesting story and deserves its place at the front. What’s on the front page of The Sun? Why Gwyneth Paltrow’s marriage is ending. The Star? Giant killer rats are set to invade the UK. The Daily Mail? There’s a tuberculosis-spreading cat at large in England and no-one knows where it is. I’d humbly suggest that if you think you do read and don’t consider yourself well-enough informed on an important subject like Scottish Independence, you’re not reading a newspaper. You’re reading emergency bog roll with novelty stories printed on it.
I do however, have a deal of sympathy for those who say they’re waiting for the positive case for the Union. I am too. There are valid criticisms of the message Yes Scotland has put forth, but at least they’ve presented an image of what could be, an optimistic ideal of what the future could hold. The flip side from Better Together? It’s described as ‘bullying’ a lot, and I understand that, but I think it’s more akin to spousal abuse. The land is sadly filled with stories of women (and some men) who it can objectively be said, have gotten a shit deal from their marriage but have been scared into staying as they are rather than taking the risk of setting out anew. No one will want you, you’re not good enough, you’re a burden, I’m the only one who’d put up with you, I do this to help you, this hurts me more than it hurts you. Sound familiar?
I’m a lover of debate though. Suitably disgusted when I attended university that my particular institution didn’t have a debating society, I became a founding member. And as any half-decent debater knows, the best way to prepare your own argument is to first prepare the opposition’s, so you best know how to counter it. Using my not inconsiderable debating skills then, I thought it’d be a good idea to outline the positive case for the Union, because I do feel the debate suffers from its absence. Here we go then.
We did REALLY WELL in the Olympics a couple of years ago. VOTE NO.
* - Yes, I wrote this last week.