Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The world has its eyes on Scotland

To most people it will not be news that on September 18th 2014, Scotland will have the chance to vote whether it would like to remain in the United Kingdom or break with union with England, Wales and Northern Ireland of 307 years and retain her independence. 

With two days to go until this historic vote, what has been happening in the campaign is probably a myth to those living outside of the country. Upon signing the Edinburgh Agreement in October 2012, Alex Salmond (First Minister of Scotland) and David Cameron (Prime Minister of the UK) agreed the terms of the referendum. After 23 months of campaigning “Yes” or “No” to independence, the Scots will be faced with one question: “Should Scotland be an independent country?”. Six words which could shape the future of Scotland, as well as the remainder of the UK (rUK). 

There have been two protests outside of the BBC headquarters in Glasgow, the latest being on Saturday 13th September where more than 4,000 Scots gathered outside Pacific Quay to protest at the bias in BBC coverage of the referendum. It can be argued that the BBC has been incredibly biased towards the unionist campaign, but what cannot be refuted is the sheer determination of the Scottish people to have their say in this historic vote. It has been announced that 4.2 million Scots have registered to have their vote – that is 97% of Scots eligible to vote will put an “X” next to Yes or No in two days’ time. 

The No campaign (Better Together) has focused purely on what Scotland will lose; threatening that state taxes would have to rise, saying that Scotland categorically cannot use the pound sterling, suggesting that the economy would suffer a tremendous void… There has yet to be a positive incentive for Scots to remain as a part of the United Kingdom. There is no vision of a better future in the UK, only negativity and scare stories to try and bully Scotland into believing she is not able to rule herself. 

However, I am more interested in the Yes campaign (Yes Scotland). This grassroots movement has seen Scots, from all kinds of social background and political persuasions, coming together to fight for the same cause – independence. Rich Scots, poor Scots, traditional Labour Party voters, traditional Green Party voters, first time voters, working class people, retirees... The list is endless. Their message to the rest of the country: vote Yes to taking control of our own affairs, vote Yes to retaining the money generated in Scotland and spend it in Scotland, vote Yes to nuclear disarmament, vote Yes to kill child poverty, vote Yes to protecting our National Health Service, schools and universities from the austerity and privatisation agenda set out by the Westminster UK government, vote Yes for independence. 

The world has its eyes on Scotland this week, but there is one place that is keeping an even closer watch on Scotland – Catalonia. The Catalans will be fiercely determined to imitate the Scottish movement if there is a Yes vote on September 18th. After all, the Catalonian case for independence is not dissimilar from the Scottish one. Albeit Scotland is looking to become a nation again, Catalonia will be sending her support and good energy to Scotland so that she can also become a nation. 

Scott McCutcheon




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