Thursday 4 September 2014

Dear England....

With just 9 days to go before the Scottish referendum the debate has really caught fire. For all those of us south of the border it is hard to gain a sense of what is happening because of the very one-sided nature of most of the reporting, but whatever the result it is already clear that two of the biggest losers will be the Labour Party and the BBC. The Labour Party because its hierarchy has jumped into bed with the Tories and Ukip, and the BBC because its reporting has lost the confidence and trust of so many people in Scotland.

The referendum could turn out to do for Labour what the First World War did for the Liberal Party.

Over the summer quite a few people from Wales have travelled up to Scotland to help the Yes campaign, and reading their accounts and impressions has been fascinating. In the next few days this blog will take a look at what some of the European press has to say, but if there is anyone out there who has been to Scotland in the last few weeks who would like to share their impressions, please get in touch.

Here is Cllr Siân Caiach who has been spending her holidays up in Perth and Kinross. Yes, councillors are allowed holidays.

She says that the impression many people have got south of the border, and in Wales, is that the referendum is all about nationality. The reality on the ground in Scotland is different:

"This is about opportunity more than nationality, the corruption and inequality inherent in the UK state and building a better and fairer country to live in. This allows recruiting not only non political and general interest groups, but other main stream political party members......I have no doubt that overall this is a political battle between the right and the left."

Siân's point is underlined by the following open letter written by English people living in Scotland who have joined the Yes campaign.


Dear England,

During the course of this referendum campaign, you have been told many distortions of the truth and fabrications about Scotland and why people in Scotland are voting Yes.You have been told by the likes of Andrew Marr and Jeremy Paxman that there is a strong anti-English feeling in Scotland driving support for independence, or that people in Scotland are voting yes because they want to break away from English people. You have been told by the likes of Taxpayer’s Alliance and UKIP that Scotland is a ‘subsidy-junkie’ leaching off the English taxpayer to pay for universal public services. You have been told by the likes of the Daily Telegraph and Kelvin McKenzie that Scotland is a resourceless nation, an economic desert, which has little to offer this island or the world. And finally, you have been told by your own politicians – David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband – that independence will hurt you in England as much as it will hurt us in Scotland.

We write to you, as English people living and working in Scotland, to tell you that this is false. The movement for a yes vote has proven again and again what its real intentions are, and if the media in the UK will not listen we feel it is our duty to set the record straight.

First, as English people involved in the independence movement, we feel we are confident in saying that sentiment against English people has been virtually non-existent in our movement. What people in Scotland want to escape is the Westminster regime, not the English people. The yes movement is about a multi-cultural Scotland, a Scotland based on diversity, and is vociferously opposed to the racist, anti-immigrant sentiment of the likes of UKIP. An independent Scotland would attempt to learn from people in England, welcome people from England, and extend our hand of friendship as equal nations.

Second, it is untrue that Scotland is a ‘subsidy-junkie’. Scotland pays more in taxation to the Treasury than it gets back in funding. We have universal public services in Scotland like free prescriptions and free tuition fees because Holyrood has been responsive enough to the wishes of the Scottish people. It would be entirely possible to have the same in England if your politicians got their priorities correct. We hope, as an independent country, Scotland can prove that world-class universal public services is affordable, and that people in England who believe the same can use our example when deciding who to vote for.

Third, Scotland and her people have great potential, just like England and her people do, and we want to be an independent nation so that we can make the most of that potential. We are currently held back, just like the North of England is held back, by a UK economy and political system which supports international finance against all other industry sectors. In the UK we have the greatest regional inequality in Europe. That is a problem for Scotland and for the rest of the UK. We want independence to start addressing that problem.

Lastly, the politicians of the UK’s main parties are simply wrong. Independence will be good for Scotland, and it will be good for England. Yes voters in Scotland have no bitterness or resentment towards people in England; in fact we believe the relationship north and south of the border will grow stronger, as we both treat one another as serious partners and friends economically, socially and politically.

Yours faithfully,

English Scots for Yes


Anonymous said...

what a load of tripe !

You seem to be working yourself up - get a grip. If you think the Welsh will ever go for independence you will be waiting till hell freezes over.

WAG couldn't run a piss-up in a brewery and Plaid are not the - ummm - answer.

There is no chance that scots will vote for independence. Follow the money - there is too much uncertainty. What currency, who will control interest rates and will my pension be safe, etc etc. In the privacy of the polling booth common sense will prevail.

Oh, and the letter to the English - its a bit silly and could have been written by Hamish Mctavish from East Kilbride as far as anyone knows !

Anonymous said...

I hope you're right about the Labour Party and yes, the BBC too.

Anonymous said...

Cllr Siân Caiach works very hard and should have a holiday , if they all worked as hard as her they all could have a holiday, Keep up the good work Sian

Anonymous said...

I question whether Sian works hard she seems more concerned with Scotland & the big issues of conspiracy theories than her own constituency .
Turning to Scotland - if they want to go let them go but let hope Wales does not have the same idea ,we could never manage on our own without the £ from London we have no industry , no assets other than water we should have more power but still within Uk
ps why are AM up in Scotland it is the scottish people decision let them make their own mind up