Posted on September 10th, 2021
by Rab Bruce’s Spider
So we are to see IndyRef2 by 2023. Personally, I think that’s too long to wait, but I am eager to see how Nicola Sturgeon is going to get round the Section 30 issue when Boris Johnson shows the world that Tories don’t do democracy and says "No".
If and when we leap that hurdle, we then need to see a very hard-hitting campaign. It is all very well to promote a positive case for being a normal, self-governing country, and it is fairly easy to say that having full control of our own affairs would give much more power to the voters of Scotland. But we need to recognise that the Better Together mob rely on fear of the unknown to persuade people not to vote for change. Their two main weapons are to trumpet the greatness of the UK, referring back to past events which suit their agenda, with particular reference to World War 2 which ended over 75 years ago. This flag-waving rallying cry still resonates with older voters who were raised on a constant diet of British greatness.
And then there is the dire warning tactic.
"You may think things are bad now, but it would inevitably be worse if you left the UK"
What few voters know is that the UK has used this tactic many times in the past. Going back as far as the American War of Independence, Westminster was warning Americans that their new state would be too wee and poor to survive. They’ve done the same with Malta in particular.
And don’t forget how they fought tooth and nail to cling on to India because they were extracting wealth at an enormous rate, so much so that India, once the wealthiest nation on Earth, has still not regained its position among the top rank of financial powerhouses.
People also need to be told in no uncertain terms that empty supermarket shelves and rising prices in all sorts of sectors are down to Brexit. And they need to be reminded that Scotland did not vote for Brexit. It is perfectly fine that the people of England should be able to vote to wreak economic disaster on their own country if they think it is a price worth paying to keep out foreigners, but it is not right that they should drag the other nations of the UK out with them. I want to see the Yes campaign, and particularly the SNP, hammer this message home.
There are other things we need to constantly highlight. Things like the Bedroom Tax, the cuts to Universal Credit – not to mention the inherent flaws in that Tory brainchild.
We need to highlight that Scottish military personnel are frequently placed in danger because the UK is almost always at war in one part of the world or another.
Then there are the obstacles put in the way of our renewable power potential, and the fact that England charges Scottish power generation businesses for the privilege of sending electricity to England. We don’t need to dismantle the current so-called National Grid, but we should be able to sell our electricity to England rather than watch them take it.
Pensions are another issue, particularly since it is the older generations who are most opposed to Scotland becoming a normal country. The paucity of the UK pension must be highlighted, and a commitment given to raising it substantially when we have the power to do so. This should be one of our headline campaign issues.
These and other areas are easy to point to, and people must be made aware of them. Our campaign must strike home at the doubters and persuade them that Scotland can do much better as an independent nation than it ever can as part of the UK.
Of course, there will be difficult aspects to consider, but there are arguments we can put forward. The "Too wee, too poor" argument relies on GERS, and the Scottish Government need to come out strongly with criticisms of this flawed analysis of our wealth. The message that GERS shows just how bad a job the UK has done of running Scotland’s economy needs to be shouted loudly and widely.
Inevitably, the Currency and Border questions will arise. On these points, people need to understand that Scotland already has Scottish Pound banknotes. It is perfectly feasible to establish a new currency which, if backed by Scotland’s wealth, will soon establish itself. Having our own currency is essential for membership of the EU, and that message also needs to be explained clearly. And we should not forget that the 2014 IndyRef included Better Together claims that Sterling would fall by as much as 10% if Scotland became a normal country and retained use of the Pound. Yet Brexit has seen Sterling fall by more than that and nobody seems to care. We need to make it clear that a Scottish Pound would almost certainly perform better. Initially, this would be due to our oil reserves, but the climate catastrophe facing us means we need to ensure this is a short term benefit. It will, however, give us time to establish our currency and put our economy on a more stable basis than the one we would have as part of the UK. Given our potential for renewable energy, we can surely find a way to remove oil as a major prop of our economy.
As for the Border, it must be reiterated that this is a construct of England. By re-joining the EU, we open up the world to our importers and exporters. Current supply chains will need to adapt, but since they are collapsing thanks to Brexit, any change would surely be an improvement. What becoming a normal country would do is push us into developing our ports and establishing ferry routes to the EU, just as Ireland has done to avoid sending goods through England. If Ireland can do that in a matter of months, Scotland can surely match it.
There are lots of other areas we could talk about, but whatever we do, we need to see the official campaign repeat messages on every factor they can think of. The biggest problem will be the media who will do their utmost to prevent these messages reaching the public. That’s why the work of grass roots campaigners will be so important.
Let’s get ready!