I believe in the pursuit of happiness.
I believe every individual has a right to happiness.
When all the senses are engaged, excitement, risk, intellect, participation, happiness is a kind of intoxication. For most of us the essentials of happiness are food, drink, and a roof over our heads. Some require the addition of children to reach a desired level of happiness.
Poor or wealthy, if a nation controls its own destiny it has the best chance of achieving happiness for its citizens. Scotland’s plebiscite hopes to secure exactly that through the democratically ages-established tradition of empowerment of the individual.
At the moment indigenous Scots feel decisions are things people make elsewhere. Our own government discovered that on inception, devolution shallow and limited, and to prove it Westminster called our parliament nothing more than a council parish. Since when do you give a friend a gift and then boast you got it cheap because it doesn’t work?
Who says Scotland is too small, too poor to govern itself?
Greenland is the world’s largest island but a very small nation.
It has its own tribes, history, culture, art, topography, environment, and administration. After hundreds and more years ruled by Norway and then Denmark it achieved its ambition to become a self-governing nation. It retains Denmark’s Royal family and Denmark’s monetary policy to some extent.
With a tiny annual GNP a mere 1.3 billion, Greenland is not wealthy by any stretch of the imagination yet, by all accounts, somehow its 56,000 souls lead generally happy lives. They are as happy as circumstances permit.
Achieving any kind of social harmony is difficult if not impossible when the individual feels isolated, or separated from determining the things that matter in daily life.
Unionists warn Scotland of isolation as if our two nations with all our generations of inter-marriages, multifarious institutions, and trade could ever physically separate socially and geographically. Well, Greenland can be described accurately as isolated, extremely isolated, particularly in its winter months, yet the people of Greenland are in control of their lives in large measure. They are empowered.
Greenlanders do not think they need to be micro-managed by a larger nation, or consider the acquisition of material wealth of paramount importance, given in response to cap-in-hand pleas, or by ingratiation. They are not freeloaders. They have an in-built sense of their own worth. On-going, open participation in everything is everything to them, and they are a small enough society to achieve that as a matter of course.
The herd instinct
One of the strongest instincts of human nature is the herd instinct, affinity with a group. Greenlanders have it in abundance. They are so confident in themselves that they readily embrace other races not indigenous, such as Americans and their aircraft base! – a source of income until Greenlanders decide otherwise.
People in Scotland have an in-built problem in that regard. If honest, the vast majority of us want to run our nation’s affairs, and to a limited extent we do, but we do it under supervision, ultimately governed by the government and Treasury of the United Kingdom – Westminster, and usually by an iron fist. (Refusing us a share of our own pound sterling is rule by bully.) Westminster gives a pretence of consultation.
The all-encompassing United Kingdom subverts rational choice by the simple expedient of England, the dominant nation, distributing power and wealth unequally. It feathers its own nest. The media is its propaganda tool. Here today, gone tomorrow selected powers for Scotland are of no worth. They can be weakened or removed at a moment’s notice. Collecting our taxes, VAT and all, and then tossing an allowance at us, is usury by landlord. We rent our own country.
To mean anything significant power over decisions must be invested in the people – sovereign, immutable.
One doctrine fits all
The unspoken principle is, the United Kingdom contains all the qualities required to attain happiness, therefore Scotland need only identify with those expectations, with England’s best interests, values, policies, culture, and its personal variety of colonial democracy.
This might have an attraction were it not that adopting the ethics and motives of a dominant nation creates an ersatz kind of domestic continuity.
Worse, it removes responsibility from individuals. It stops the search for alternative, better societies and social structures. We become mere ciphers to the greater nation’s goals, goals we don’t necessarily share.
Buying and possessing material things isn’t happiness
By free markets we are told what we can choose, so be content. This is a falsehood.
In reality the individual loses choice living under the vagaries of unregulated markets. Power and therefore choice currently lies exclusively in the hands of corporate tyrannies, in the ruling class and its elite, and in the media that they own and control.
A nation in charge of its own destiny gives itself a good chance of throwing extreme capitalism off its back, debts and all. It can enact laws to govern behaviour that helps suppress our worst instincts, the venal and the avaricious. It can construct a fairer distribution of goods and wealth than a nation intent on keeping the best for itself.
What does an autonomous Scotland offer?
On the one hand, we can place Scotland’s hopes and aspirations in the hands of Scotland’s people. People power. On the other, we can choose to abandon hope in preference for the general good of the dominant nation, not for any specific, identifiable group of individuals in it, not for the poor, the disenfranchised, or the homeless, but for an abstract, intangible notion called “the United Kingdom.” Put another way, it’s called ‘Britishness’.
Unionist’s fear mongering, warning of financial destitution on the advent of autonomy, removes any will for the conquest of happiness. It is joyless creed. It warns there is nothing in self-governance for the individual, not even affection for your fellow man. If that was true Westminster would dispense with power tomorrow.
Small is beautiful
The natural inclination of any homogenous society is to form and hold to its own ideals, to follow a moral language that is applicable to its people, to conduct itself by its own sense of values. It should be a place where one individual cares about another as a natural state of affairs, where the individual develops and prospers, one’s happiness bound up in the happiness of others.
That’s what independence means to me – the profound knowledge we are in the real stream of life pursuing happiness and hope for others and, by reward, for our self.
That’s why I will always vote for Scotland’s self-determination.