As the day of reckoning approaches I find myself wondering what is the thinking behind those determined, destined to vote against their country’s interests, to give the finger to Scotland’s democracy and welcome the Grim Reaper to do his worst.
I like to think I am not prejudice, which is why I keep a few over-privileged Tory voting, deer stalking, estate owning friends as friends. I want to show I am not biased or bigoted.
What makes a person close their eyes to the obvious, their ears to truth, and their voice to protest? Why be so scared of democracy they lock themselves in the toilet on September the 18th with a take a copy of ‘Fifty Shades of Dulux’ to occupy their mind, until mankind’s hopes are spent and its safe to come out of the closet?
They can’t all be like the sweet elderly lady whose car I helped reverse when she got it stuck sideways in a long narrow cul-de-sac. “How can I ever thank you?” she said, getting back into the driving seat. “By telling me you are voting Yes.” says I, striking the iron while it was hot, if ‘hot’ is the correct adjective to use in relation to a sweet old lady. Hearing ‘Yes’ she almost leapt out of her twin set and pearls startled to think the man who had come to her aid might possibly be a vicious thug. “Oh, never! The very thought is terrifying!” And off she drove at speed leaving me feeling intellectually naked, as if she had mugged me.
“Terrifying”? People regaining sovereignty is a terrifying prospect?
Now, those wealthy landowners, I can understand why they will vote No.
Wealth, privileges and elitism to protect, noble lineage and legacy to consolidate, chairmanships, that fine heraldic shield with its stag’s head, multi-chevrons, brace of grouse, and chequer board has to have meaning, doesn’t it?
Perhaps I have an inheritance wants respect lest it be struck down by filial antipathy, or exposed by those lefty radicals as theft by force ages ago from commoners, or the church by drunk priest and flaky lawyer. I own property and land that I rent to farmers and lots of people who cannot afford to buy their home. I have titles to guard. ‘Protector of the Queen’s Ancient and Royal Fly Swat,’ ‘Defender of Her Majesty’s Throw Cushions.’ I can hear her now: “Have you come far?” “Yes, ma’am. Not a problem. I own the land I travelled across these last two days.”
I must be free to look Her Majesty in the eye without losing title, or in the kneecap, my head bowed walking backwards from her presence. I understand why I will vote No. I am born to rule though most never meet me.
Royalty and landed gentry knowing their place – it’s called ‘Scotland’ – leaves captains of industry and the common man. What propels them to put their cross in that bottom box?
I imagine I am a successful business type, an employer. I vote for greater profits, for the bottom line. I have shareholders to think of before all else. And a humongous salary and bonus. Society’s good, environmental issues, paying proper taxes, all mean nothing to me because I am an employer of people.
They are my plausible reason for demanding state grants and local council concessions. Thatcher elevated me to superman status. She told me I create wealth. She and some smart Republican thinkers in the USA offered me the world. I took the offer. I make my money here and bank it in the Cayman Islands. Once the unions were trounced I did not need to share profits with my workers. Television loves my exploits and opinions. That’s why I take part in The Dragon’s Den, where demented, impoverished entrepreneurs humiliate themselves before my tough-as-nails successful colleagues in hope of a leg up to fortune galore. The state won’t help clever inventors, banks exist only to strip their assets, so that leaves me to show how I never got to where I am today by coming cap in hand to a bunch of celebrity bigwigs.
I cherry pick the best before me, and reject the rest. I’ll vote No because I am a paid-up happy member of the Conservative Party. Some of my friends are paid up members of the Labour Party. There is little to choose between either just posh or local accents. Both parties want the people of Scotland to remain passive consumers. That’s fine by me.
I am a businessman who sells things to the masses. I will vote No to protect my market and my profits. It’s the natural thing to do, my duty. Ethical business practices? Never let your morals get in the way of making money. And never use the boss’s toilet.
Being a successful Scottish businessman must feel almost be like being … successful.
What of the common man and his missus? What is motivating them to vote No, the one who spits and shouts, ‘Bugger off! Get a life!” when you try to hand him a Yes leaflet. Some hold a sincere belief in the effectiveness Westminster governing the British Isles. They are prepared to leave sovereignty with a neighbour state, yoked to an economy they cannot control, their sons and daughters sent to wars they do not approve of, a greater proportion of his taxes used to finance grandiose schemes in a country not his own, and more wars, while his own nation stumbles along as best it can. He has to be a defeatist. Either that or a masochist.
I am ill-disposed to taking defeat on the chin yet the common man warns that is the only way forward. Forward? Surely he means backwards. What is he thinking?
I am the common man. I will vote No because I am an independent minded type of guy. Scared? Want your lights punched out, pal? Scared of what? The unknown, maybe. I don’t like change. I can’t see it, or touch it, or count it. That unsettles me as a creature of habit. I have my days planned out by others, with little variation unless off sick, or until package holiday time. That’s when I exercise my freedom to choose. Well, actually, I prefer to stick to what I know. I always take the family to Minorca.
There’s a good Irish pub in the main street. Back home I drink in the same pub where I can complain about rising petrol prices, the lack of a mortgage for my kid’s, my hernia from lifting heavy crates at work. Saturdays are for forgetting it all with my mates at the game. The rest of the week I work hard. Hard work is like bad sex. You swear you won’t do it again until the next woman makes you an offer. I read the Express, and the Sun. What’s wrong with being told what to think? I can take it or leave it. Even the girls on Page 3. It helps forget the wife’s stretch marks.
Yes, there is poverty in my street, families that can’t make ends meet, long-term unemployed, a few boozers, but I buy a Lottery ticket every week. I know a guy who knows a guy who is a distant cousin of a man who won a million on a Scratch card. I have high hopes. I smoke, but I roll my own. It’s my choice, one of my few pleasures, that and some telly. I don’t do politics.
The Yes side tell us we are in for hell if we vote No. Maybe. But I’ve been though economic crashes before. The balloons on the No side are just as much snake oil salesman. I don’t need Brown or Darling – they sold us out and now want us to listen to them – to tell me how to vote. Nothing changes if you vote anyway. Bugger all. Stands to reason. All politicians are liars. Fact. You can’t trust a single one. Fact. Independence? I don’t want to be a frigging foreigner. I am Scottish. And I’m British. I like it that way. Anyway, Scottish weather is crap, except today, but that came from down south.
For me, Grouse Beater, wholly unable to fathom how anybody can put their hands up in the air and surrender, it makes no sense to despair, to be apathetic, or indolent, or just not give a fig. My childhood was bleak, like many another Scot, a mixture of abject deprivation endured for long periods followed by patches of safe solitude. I learned not only survival but passion too.
Our whole impertive is to make things better. To improve. Why should I, or anybody else, deny that right to others?
A written constitution, real democratic powers, the right not to go to war against the innocent, the right to rid my land of weapons of death, the right to be heard in decision-making, the right to have decisions made in my name made near-at-hand, the right to find work in my own land, to join in a transformative epoch for a just society. The right to a life I choose to live.
Why sell Scotland a second time to the harbingers of doom?
Who asked you and you and you to make that sacrifice?
Vote for Scotland.