Airdrie and Coatbridge Advertiser
I would like to reply to the letter by David Stephen in the Advertiser of 19/12/12. I feel compelled to point out a number of details of Mr Stephen’s argument which don’t stand up to scrutiny. In 2014 we will have a referendum on whether Scotland should be an independent country. If we vote Yes this only gives the Scottish Government the mandate to begin the negotiations which will lead to this country becoming independent. If we vote Yes on the Saturday (or whichever day it is held) we will not be independent by the following morning. Our passports will still be valid, the trains will still run and the sun will still rise. If we vote Yes it is my understanding that we would be looking to elect our first independent government in 2016, as the negotiations would take a period of time. I’m sure that in two years the government will be able to sort out Mr Stephens beloved passport, along with many other questions which he could already find the answer to online.
As for noise and bluster from all sides, yes I do include the SNP in that. I am not aware if Mr Stephen represents any particular group or party, but for the sake of clarity I am not a member of the SNP. I disagree with them on a number of policies, primarily on the siting of wind turbines throughout the Highlands, and am not backward at saying so. However I believe that Scotland is big enough to make its own decisions and should take its place in the international arena as an independent country, and for that reason I will be voting Yes for independence.
How I vote after independence is another matter. I would like to think am intelligent enough to realise that, despite how some of the TV and print media are portraying things, I am not voting on whether I like Alex Salmond or Nicola Sturgeon. This is after all not the X-Factor. If we vote Yes, Scotland will be independent long after these people have gone from politics. Neither do I believe that a vote for independence is a vote for SNP government in perpetuity, and that in an independent Scotland I will at least be able to vote for the parties knowing they will be making their own decisions, not waiting on instructions from London.
Almost 200 years ago in 1820 many of the people of Airdrie took part in massed gatherings calling for independence. Over 10,000 gathered in the town to demand independence. Members of a band were arrested for playing Scot’s Wha Hae, and Government troops were showered with stones as they rode through the town from Edinburgh to quell the uprising in Glasgow, for which three men were executed and a number exiled to Australia. We are lucky, as unlike then we do have freedom of speech. Mr Stephens letter proves that. Unlike the United Kingdom of almost 200 years ago, no one is being jailed or hanged for seeking independence. In 2014 we will get the chance to choose, peacefully, whether we wish to remain part of the union or not. We have the chance to vote for a government who can decide policy on whether it is good for the people of Scotland, and not as a puppet government which has one eye on whether it is in line with the policy being pursued south of the border.
If Mr Stephen thinks that that is the right direction for Scotland for the 21st Century and beyond, he has the right to say so and argue his case, but surely if his case is so strong he does not need to make half baked claims about passports.