I’ve kept out of talking about the independence referendum online until now. I’m not really a poke you in the chest kind of person and my views rarely go out beyond my close family & friends (in fact rarely even to them). I’ve had conversations with customers in the shop but only when I’ve been asked for my opinion. I don’t use a personal account on facebook or twitter so I’ve never really felt it was appropriate to do so through my shop ones, as like with every other business, I have customers of all shades and I respect that their views might not match my own. This blog however has always been a little more personal so I hope you don’t mind if I say a few words about my thoughts.
I could probably trace the shaping of my political views back to the teachers strike in the early eighties. It caused more disruption to us from the islands as we had to factor in extra ferry trips as the strikes happened in the middle of the week (we would normally stay on the mainland Mon-Fri). The younger ones of us ended up making the journey over to school just once a week as ferry time cut into lessons anyway and so we missed twice as many non-strike days as those on the mainland. Our local Tory MP’s answer to the strikes was to take his son out of our school and put him into a private school. Simple. I remember the crushing despair when the Tories got back into power in 1992. I was a student at the time and 22 years later I can still conjure up those feelings. My husband finds it amusing that I still to this day can’t watch anything with Michael Portillo in it, despite his later transformation into cuddly human form; you would have had to peel me off the ceiling when he lost his seat in 1997 such was my delight. I like railways, so this hurts just a little bit!
So you can take from that that my politics are somewhere to the left of centre. I’ve never joined a political party as I don’t fall neatly into any one camp. In my adult life I’ve voted tactically in every Westminster election - because that’s what you have to do as a Scottish voter, sadly.
I’ll be voting Yes in the referendum. I saw something like this line on twitter and it pretty much sums up my thoughts - "If you keep doing the same thing, you'll get the same results". I don’t want the same results. If you vote the Tory party in you get what the Tory party do, it’s no great surprise that privatisation and dismantling of safeguards for the vulnerable follow. Eventually Labour will get back in power and will attempt to pull back on some of the damage but never fully will, despite perhaps their best intentions. And we see-saw backwards and forwards endlessly. Westminster has become this big bloated lumbering thing that is so encumbered by vested interests that it no longer responds to much else but those vested interests. I can't see it changing that much. I would like a fully independent outward-looking Scottish parliament that’s lithe & quick on its feet, which works in the best interests of all its citizens whilst looking out for its most vulnerable, one which takes responsibility for its mistakes and which will soon know all about it if it falls short. Going back to twitter and another memorable line, something like – “I want a parliament that’s close enough to touch” (or alternatively, “I want a parliament that’s so close I can kick its arse”).
I could go on (and on) but I’ll not. Only to say that amongst my Perth friends who have expressed their intention to vote Yes there are Australian, Welsh, English, Scots & Lithuanian nationalities. It could just be that we'll all be disappointed on Sept 19th (and I’ll be transported back to that student flat circa 1992 for a while) but at least as a country we’ll have had our eyes opened and our brains engaged that bit more than ever before. I’ll shut up now.
ps. I love all my customers.