“Life is hard for Hamish. The last two harsh winters have all but crippled him. ‘I’m sure all the farmers in these parts will vote NO,’ he says.
‘In the last 12 years I’ve only ever made a profit once. Two years ago I hardly had any lambs at all because the weather destroyed most of them. I’m still recovering.’
Life for Hamish is already hard. Up at 5am in all weathers, he works till 10pm most nights for the kind of money that barely keeps food on the table. To make ends meet he drives lorries for a haulage company.”
I’m still naive and unjaded enough to be shocked by such sad stories as this poor farmer who’s experienced such terrible times, and still astounded that it’s the Scottish government which is blamed for his ills. Not the UK government, which decided to siphon off tens of millions from the EU earmarked for Scotland, and decided to give it to farms in England. Not the UK government, which has seen to it that Scottish farmers have among the lowest CAP rural development fund in the EU. Not the UK government, which is embarking on the exact same type of social cleansing as the Highland Clearances in its “urban development” forcing all but the richest out of the big cities.
I have less sympathy for the couple who seem to think keeping Scotland in the UK might somehow save them from Alex Salmond’s “blight” of renewable energy. In what universe is renewable energy – cleaner, safer, more environmentally friendly – a blight?
You want to see a “blight”?
How about the poisonous fumes expelled as a byproduct of oil refining, as seen at Grangemouth?
Or would you prefer a more futuristic blight, like the nuclear waste dumped by the Dounreay plant which is so toxic it may never be entirely cleansed? Perhaps you’re wondering why you’ve never considered Dalgety Bay for a holiday?
Or if you want a taste of the future as part of the “world’s oldest democracy,” why not the environmental devastation caused by hydraulic fracturing so beloved of the UK government despite the warnings – which include everything from earthquakes to flammable tap water? Because it isn’t as if the UK government has any compunctions about simply ignoring the health risks regardless of the tragedies it could incur.
Would the Perpedys be happier to have their idyllic landscape despoiled by smog, nuclear waste, or earthquakes? Because that’s what the UK government would prefer. And that’s what they’ll do, if we remain part of the United Kingdom. After all, the chancellor’s father-in-law has personal interests in the fracking industry, while the energy minister’s climate change scepticism led to thousands of people losing their homes in an entirely preventable flooding disaster. Is that preferable to “Alex Salmond’s” dream of a 100% renewable Scotland? Because the majority of Scots seem to disagree rather profoundly.
Far from demoralising me, this sort of thing just makes me even more determined to get out canvassing. These lies must be refuted, and doing it online is great. But there’s something very different about discussing these lies face to face with another human being. When I talk to No or undecided voters who bring up some of the old canards, for many, just putting “we don’t have the money to succeed” or “we won’t be able to do it” into words is enough for some to finally realise just how unreal those words are.
Look at the Mirror’s opening paragraph:
In the end it will all come down to two little words. One of which will save our 300-year union with Scotland. The other will rip it to shreds. If Scotland’s Bravehearts vote YES on September 18 it will tear apart that union which has seen both countries’ men march shoulder-to-shoulder in two world wars.
Which is why YES seems such a small a word to bear responsibility for dismantling one of the world’s oldest democracies and for cutting a centuries-old umbilical cord that has kept us joined to Scotland since 1707.
Big words, there. Voting Yes will not just end the union, it will rip it to shreds.
RIP IT TO SHREDS.
TEAR APART THAT UNION.
DISMANTLING ONE OF THE WORLD’S OLDEST DEMOCRACIES.
CUTTING A CENTURIES-OLD UMBILICAL CORD.
RIP. TEAR. DISMANTLE. CUT.
It’s easy for a journalist to type that on the keyboard and print it. It’s even easy for pundits to say it on a podium in a staged, controlled speech. What I’d really like is for someone to say it to my face. Look me right in the eye and say those words, if you can. Say it to me – “I’ve only made a profit once in the last 12 years.” If, upon saying those words, changing abstract language into utterances breathed from your mouth, you still believe that this is a reason to vote No, then I will ask you the question: why?
Why is it better to remain in a union which has treated you so well, that you’ve only made a profit once in over a decade, working 5 to 10 in all weathers, and had to take on a second job driving haulage lorries? Why is it better to remain in a union which has decimated the Peterhead fishing fleet from 400 to 100 ships, seen the least profits despite the richest stock ever found in the North Sea, and caused the most uncertainty in 35 years?
Because – as is not nearly stated often enough – a No vote will not preserve a damned thing. We know Osborne is planning more public service cuts. We know idealogically-driven austerity will continue for the poor – but not for the rich. We know the privatisation of public services like the NHS, the police, and the fire brigade will continue. We know all this – and that’s even before we get to the possibilities, like the Conservatives’ plans for conscription, gagging, and constant erosion of rights.
See, the Mirror was trying to be emotive with its language – ripping, tearing, dismantling, cutting. It’s supposed to make people fear the idea of independence, that it will result in damage and destruction. Yet I think they’ve miscalculated – because I want to rip this union to shreds. I want it torn to pieces. I want it stamped into the dust of history. Because why would I want to preserve a union which has resulted in the rich getting richer while the poor die and suffer in droves, where the establishment actively facilitated child predators and covered up their crimes, where a former Prime Minister actually contemplated unleashing atomic horror for the third time in history, where our government deals in torture and secret trials and God alone knows what else? Why would I want to maintain a 300-year-old union with a history of genocide and war crimes and atrocities?
So go on. Say it. Say you’re voting No because a Yes vote “might” make things worse. Then when I tell you about the things this union has done, you tell me why you don’t want to rip it to shreds and tear it apart.