Gcat says Yes

Well, here it is. The post I’ve tried to stop myself writing for weeks. Probably no good can come of it… talking about politics on social media does tend to generate division and ill will, and I can see why many people don’t like it, but I’m now angry enough that I don’t much care.

I still find it almost unbelievable that it’s come to this. For most of my life I hated the idea of Scottish independence and was suspicious of the SNP and their motives. Yet now I find myself desperately wanting Indyref2 to go ahead, looking forward to casting my vote for “Yes” this time, and hoping that a majority of Scots do the same.

You might reasonably ask why. Conventional wisdom seems to be that independence was a bad idea in 2014 and is a terrible idea in 2017, what with the collapse of the oil price, and the release of GERS figures that show Scotland has a worse defecit than Greece. We’re constantly told it would be foolish to turn our backs on the UK in a misguided attempt to get back in the EU, because the UK is a much more important market for Scotland than the rest of the EU is, and because there’s no guarantee that an independent Scotland would get back in the EU anyway.

I can’t help noticing that those are all basically economic arguments. And I have to say, I think anyone who supports Brexit or who is happy to go along with what the UK government is doing now has got some bloody nerve to be lecturing anyone else about what’s economically sensible. There may have been some justification back in 2014 for describing a Yes vote as “a leap in the dark”, but as far as I’m concerned, now that the rest of the UK has thrown itself off the Brexit cliff, it’s forfeited the right to use that argument against Scotland for a very long time to come.

I also don’t accept that the economic arguments are necessarily valid anyway. The GERS figures, for example, are not particularly relevant here because they describe Scotland’s finances in its current situation as part of the UK rather than as an independent country. Surely the whole point of independence would be to run things differently from how they are now? “You must stay in this union because under the union’s management you have a huge gaping black hole in your finances!” doesn’t strike me as an especially strong argument in favour of the union, to be honest.

And no, there’s no guarantee that becoming independent would get us back in the EU. But at least there’d be a chance, and even if we didn’t get back in straight away, we would likely be on much more friendly terms with them. Staying in the UK now looks a sure fire way to have our ties with Europe drastically cut.

But in any case, economics isn’t my primary motivation for supporting independence. For me, it’s more about what sort of country I want to live in and what I fear Brexit Britain is going to look like. Specifically, I fear that we are going to become isolated from our neighbours, making it more difficult to travel in and work with Europe; that immigrants and other minorities are going to be made to feel increasingly unwelcome, no matter how much of a positive contribution they make; that the Tories will use the turmoil of Brexit as an excuse to cosy up to Trump’s America as they busily dismantle the welfare state, the NHS, employment rights and hard-won social and environmental protections; that policies that were until recently considered as pretty far right (like bringing back the death penalty) will become mainstream.

Now, I don’t want that. And I don’t want it strongly enough that I would rather break up the UK and risk further economic harm than live in that country. In fact, I would go so far as to say I’d rather Scotland dropped down to an average Eastern European standard of living and had to work its way back up from there than be dragged down the hellish ultra-right road I described above. (Though I don’t believe the economic impact of independence would actually be anywhere near as severe as that).

Of course, people will ask “But if you say you hate isolation so much, how can you advocate breaking away from your closest neighbour? Do you really want to risk a hard border between England and Scotland? Do you really want your friends and family down south to become foreigners?”. Ordinarily I would say no, and that’s why I ultimately voted No in the last referendum. But we’re not in an ordinary situation anymore. The status quo as it existed in 2014 is gone and it’s not coming back. I feel like I’m now being forced to choose between two options, neither of which would have been my first choice. I can either stay with the rest of the UK, which appears hell bent on shutting itself off from the world and reversing much of the progress of the last 60 years, or I can attempt to stay with the rest of Europe and build on that progress instead of throwing it away. I’d much rather I didn’t have to make that choice. But given that choice, I have to choose Europe and progress.

“Oh, stop being so over dramatic”, some will say. “Leaving the EU isn’t the end of the world”. I actually agree with that, in that it needn’t be the end of the world. If we were likely to be moving to a status similar to Norway’s or Iceland’s or Switzerland’s, I wouldn’t be anywhere near so concerned. It’s the manner in which Brexit is being implemented that I’m finding so alarming… the determination to go for the most extreme separation possible no matter what the cost, the absolute refusal to compromise an inch with the very nearly half of us who voted Remain, the total disregard for the promises made during the referendum campaign, the constant pandering to people whose opinions are based on tabloid scare stories rather than facts, the cavalier attitude to crucial questions like the Irish border, the growing anti-intellectualism, the open admissions that we’ll probably have to pursue significantly more right wing, free market oriented policies than we’re used to in order to survive outside the single market and secure the trade deals we’ll need. That is what I’m most worried about, not the simple fact that we’re leaving the EU.

To the unionist politicians: if you want me to change my mind and vote No again, you’re going to have to give me something positive to vote for. Just bad mouthing the SNP and threatening Scotland with economic disaster isn’t going to cut it this time. I will only vote to stay in the UK if you can convince me that the UK is still a place where open minded, tolerant people who want to engage with the modern world and try to improve it rather than running away and hiding from it are in charge. If you’re going to continue to steamroller uncompromisingly over the wishes of the 48% who voted Remain (and most likely a significant proportion of those who voted Leave as well), if you’re just going to keep imploring me to “unite” behind what I believe is the worst decision this country has taken in my lifetime, if you’re not able to reassure me that my European friends and colleagues aren’t going to be deported, then sorry… I’m out of here as soon as I get the chance.

To my non-independence-supporting friends and family: I know a lot of you sympathise with some of what I’m feeling and aren’t keen on Brexit or on the direction the UK appears to be heading in, but will tell me “More division isn’t the answer”. I have a question for you then: what is the answer? If Scotland stays in the UK, how can we avoid the outcomes I described above? Vote for a Labour party that cravenly rolled over and gave the Tories everything they wanted, and that’s now polling 15 points behind the Tories on a good day? Vote for the Lib Dems who completely abandoned all their principals the last time they got a slight sniff of power? Wring our hands a bit and go on some protest marches that no-one will take any notice of?

Yes, the pendulum of political opinion in the UK as a whole will probably swing back in a more moderate direction at some point. My worry is that by then it’ll be too late to reverse what our current government are likely to do in the next few years. If they burn our bridges with the rest of Europe and gut the regulations that protect people and planet from the worst excesses of capitalism, it’s not going to be easy for a future government to rebuild all that. Most likely they will, to some extent, have to make the best of the bad situation rather than reverse it. And that’s just not good enough, I’m afraid.

To the people who think it’s outrageous that the SNP are even trying to hold another Indyref and that they have no mandate for it: Yes, they have a mandate for it. It was right there in their 2016 manifesto, you know, the one they got elected on. I’ve heard people (even politicians who should really know better) try to argue that they have no mandate to implement it because they didn’t win a majority, but come on… seriously? Unlike in Westminster, majorities are rare in the Scottish Parliament (by design). If you’re going to argue that the SNP shouldn’t do the things they promised in their manifesto because they don’t hold a majority, you’re effectively saying that the vast majority of Scottish governments shouldn’t attempt to carry out any of the promises they were elected on, even if there’s a cross-party majority in favour of them in parliament. In which case what the hell do you expect the Scottish government to actually do?

“But most of the people of Scotland don’t want another referendum!” I hear you cry. And how do you know that, since we haven’t had a referendum on whether we want a referendum… ah yes, it’s opinion polls isn’t it? I should hardly need to remind people that if we relied on opinion polls rather than properly conducted votes, we wouldn’t have Brexit, we wouldn’t have a majority Tory government in Westminster, and Hillary Clinton would be in the White House.

Look at it this way: which is really the most democratic option? Do we (1) say to the 62% of Scots that voted to remain in the EU “Sorry, we’re ignoring your wishes and leaving the EU anyway”. Do we (2) say to the 55% of Scots that voted to remain in the UK “Sorry, we know you voted No, but we’re going to declare independence anyway because it’s the only way we can respect the wishes of the larger majority who want to remain in the EU”. Or do we (3) effectively say “OK Scotland, you voted for two things that turned out to be mutually exclusive, so you’ll have to vote again to decide what we should do now”. Many people seem to be claiming that option (1) is more democratic than option (3), but I’m struggling to see why, myself.

But then I don’t think the unionists are really pissed off because Indyref2 is an affront to democracy, whatever they might bluster. I think they’re pissed off because they’re terrified they might actually lose this time. Last time around, independence started the campaign with about 30% support and ended up with 45%. This time it’s starting from around 50%, and many of the Better Together promises (“Vote No for economic stability”, “Vote No to keep our EU membership”) are going to be a lot harder to argue. It’s certainly going to be interesting, if nothing else.

(While we’re on the subject, I don’t like the implication that the SNP are somehow wrong to be interfering with issues like Brexit and should stick to running the schools and hospitals. They’re running the Scottish Government… surely it’s their job to represent the interests of the people of Scotland? It’s not in my interest to have my EU citizenship rights snatched away against my will, and I’m very grateful that at least one political party is trying to do something about this. If I lived in England or Wales I’d be feeling utterly betrayed by the lot of them right now).

And finally, to the people that saw where all this was going and voted Yes last time: you can say “I told you so” now, if you like ;).

Update (1/4/2017): well, I’m a little overwhelmed by how much attention this post has got! I never expected all this. It seems to have struck a chord with a lot of people. Thank you for all the welcoming comments. I’m sorry I can’t respond to them all individually but there are far too many for that now!

157 thoughts on “Gcat says Yes

  1. I won’t utter that last sentence but I will welcome you to the club. This is a most excellent article and I hope it gets widely read.

    • Seconded. Welcome, welcome, welcome.

      The eventual destination and getting there is more important than the different journeys people take. Hell, I used to be a hard core Devo Maxer but the SNP’s sheer technocratic competence persuaded me to Yes. I don’t even always vote for them despite that.

    • Great piece and states all the reasons gor another Indy Ref in Scotland! I was in UK for the girst one and sat up all might watching yhe Fantastic engaged debated Scotland had! I have never seen a population so engaged! The young were not ignored tho patronisef by English mediators, and boy did they know their politics and information!
      Im an Australian 4th gen decendent Scot and i say DO IT! There will never be another chance and conduct it ASAP!

    • I can see where you’re coming from and totally sympathise. But as and English remained among half the country, I think and hope you underestimate the resistance that will not allow the extreme agendas you describe to dominate. There is evidence of the need to compromise all the time, and it will grow as negotiations commence. I recently talked at some length with my US daughter in law, and realised the same was true there. While or media esp the BBC seems bent on normalising Trump, there is massive and effective resistance in the US, and his ratings are tumbling. Why don’t we hear more about that? I don’t know, but I live in hope that I won’t be left isolated in a Little England of bigotry … I don’t really want to have to emigrate as I still love so much about my country – and by that I feel the United Kingdom. It’s awful…but don’t let’s give up. Thanks for writing though – I get it, but I hope it won’t go all the way that way.

  2. A very well written piece. I, also, won’t say I told you so as I just want to move on and see more people like yourself realise we NEED to be independent. I appreciate your candour and hope it will be an eye opening read for others.

  3. As a previous Yes voter, I could never say I told you so rather I will say welcome.
    I do understand how hard and at times painful the journey will have been for you, it can not be easy having to confront what you probably believed were certainties and find they no longer hold true.
    We have a hard road ahead of us but I remain confident that together we can build a better nation, one that is just a bit fairer and gentler, one where all the decisions are made by people who live here, one where if we don’t like what our politicians are doing we vote them out next election.

  4. We’re pretty much guaranteed to get back into the EU. We already meet all the criteria, and a committee of the European Parliament recently suggested we could stay in after Brexit, pending an independence referendum.

  5. ‘Just bad mouthing the SNP and threatening Scotland with economic disaster isn’t going to cut it this time.’ I agree.

    Very good article with excellent analysis.

  6. ” that immigrants and other minorities are going to be made to feel increasingly unwelcome” – I can testify to the truth of this statement.

    My wife is Swedish and we met whilst both studying in Scotland. After finishing our degrees we moved to Sweden for post-grad studies and had our first son. After a couple of years I was offered a “once in a lifetime” type of job back in Edinburgh and we ended up moving back. During the proceeding decade we made Scotland our home and our second son was born.

    Being more politically engaged than she is I’ve seen the very real and potential dangers of Brexit Britain way out on the horizon. For the most part, though, when we’ve spoken about it she’s dismissed my concerns as improbable but last night in the car it hit home for her. It struck her suddenly that the she is one of the “others” or “immigrants” that the UK government, the Leave campaign and 52% of the British public don’t want here and won’t even guarantee her rights or status.

    Although I’ve always been a supporter of Scottish independence purely on the basis of democratic fairness, I’ve never been ashamed of being a British. Well, last night I was. Directly after Brexit I suggested that should there be a second independence referendum in Scotland that we should stay until the result of it is known. If there’s a Yes vote we stay in Scotland, otherwise we leave. Realistically , though, it’s getting harder and harder to justify that when the opinion polls simply aren’t moving which means more than half of people in Scotland condone the UKIP anti-immigration, xenophobic little England agenda and have somehow managed to delude themselves that the UK government has their and Scotland’s interests at heart.

    • Welcome – we saved a place for you. Don’t believe the polls which are run in the main by unionists, and some have been proven to not being conducted properly. Even if it is only 50/50 just now, we started at around 28% last time and achieved 45%. This time, there is no status quo and I hope others, like yourself will realise that and come on over.

      • I’ll tell you one thing about polls, nobody has asked me or any of those around me, so the claim that things are 50/50 is just bogus. Please don’t let polls guide your thinking, you and your family are Welcome in Scotland and I, for one, hope that you will choose to stay

    • It will take individuals, like you, whose lives and families are at the coalface of these issues to calmly and rationally explain your case to as many sympathetic ears as you can if this project is to have any chance of success.

      The ‘othering’ of human beings is never acceptable, and psychologically people don’t always realise they have been doing anything so crass until the see they have people in their circle that could be classed as ‘others’. It appears that your wife didn’t even realise this about her own status.

      Now you are armed with a powerful truth.

    • Please do not lose hope. We appreciate your contribution & want to keep you here.

      The purpose of some opinion polls is to manipulate opinion not gauge it. Hence the poll which excluded 16 & 17 year olds & EU nationals to create headlines & a false impression with a claimed 59% No. 16 & 17 year olds were over 70% YES. The whole story was a fraud but headlines get noticed. You had to download the data tables to see what was done.

      Recent polling of voting intention had SNP over 50%. Add in Greens & there’s plenty grounds for optimism.

    • Fatcandy

      Don’t lose hope. Get active if you can.

      The polls haven’t moved much because the 12% or so who have moved from No to Yes have been balanced by 11% moving the other way because they don’t want the EU.

      The Scottish Government (and the Greens) needs to find a proposal that maintains the benefits of the EU in terms of the four freedoms and also wins that 11% back.

      Do that and potential support for independence is 60% now.

      EEA/EFTA, in the customs union meets that objective. It’s also the fastest way back into the single market

  7. Lordy, you’ve covered every angle in that article..! I applaud your methodical approach and welcome you to the bright side. Exciting times ahead. 😀

  8. A very thoughtful article that I bet articulates what a lot of people are going through right now in terms of trying to weigh up the best way forward. Important questions raised as well. As a Yes voter I’m of course very happy to have you on board and absolutely do not feel the urge to say we told you so 🙂 But I think this article will be a great read especially for those who are undecided right now….

  9. An excellent piece. Just wish I could put it so cogently on the doorstep. And welcome.

    As for economics, just why should Scotland, even without oil, be any different from the nations which surround it. What do we lack that other nations have.
    I suspect that when, after independence, the real books are opened, we will collectively fall on our backsides in astonishment at what this nation actually produces.

    • I totally agree with you there. And that is what they are absolutely terrified of! The truth.
      An excellent article and I too would never say I told you so to anyone. I welcome everyone who wants our country to be in our control.

  10. No. There’s no need for ‘I told you so’.

    You trust in things. People, institutions, a world view and experiences. On those you hope you make an informed choice. You hope for the best.

    Sometimes though, that choice you make doesn’t work out so well. Maybe the trust you placed in certain things, turns out to be a trust misplaced. If you are very lucky, life can sometimes throw you a life line, a second chance to review that choice.

    So, no ‘I told you so’. Just welcome aboard. 🙂

  11. A well written article though its actually perfectly normal to want to live in an independent country.

    Everyone in the world does this.

    Asking people from another country to run your life is so unusual that I cant think of an example.

    Good luck in your measured and educated thoughts.

  12. An excellent and heart-felt article.
    In 2014 I was a soft yes. I did not think that yes had a serious chance of winning but I feared that if it lost heavily, there would be little chance of the serious re-negotiation of political relationships that seemed to me to be increasingly necessary in these islands. I had some hope that “the Vow” would actually mean something but my hopes that Scotland’s increasing political assertiveness could somehow be accommodated within the UK swiftly turned to ashes. Following the Brexit vote, I saw that history is on the move, and not in a good direction, so the time had come to decide with whom I was going to line up. I am now an SNP member, and see a Yes vote as an essential step towards living in a sane and humane country.

  13. Good Stuff and well reasoned too Welcome , welcome , welcome .

    Scotland is slowly preparing for the inevitable … Scotex from the Uk and our status as Europeans in the EU cast in stone.

    I too worry about my family and friends down south , but they chose this , we didn’t and thats the last straw in our precious union .

  14. Great piece! And I really hope you don’t find too many people saying “told you so.” We all voted for what we thought was best last time round.

    As someone who’s half English, whose second home is Liverpool and who felt very British and would never have been pro-independence before 2011, I came to my Yes vote earlier than you did, in plenty of time to campaign and vote for yes. But I understood last time why many people plumped for the status quo.

    This time round, while I can still understand – perhaps even more so post Brexit – the kind of fear, anguish and depression many who voted no last time must be feeling, I really fear another no vote, because there is no status quo this time round. A no vote is a vote for a Brexit Britain, headed ever further right, doing free trade deals with the US which will include the NHS.

    I don’t want another referendum so soon, and feel quite depressed about it too, but I also really don’t want Brexit and feel we have to get out. So welcome. It’s great to have articulate people who voted no last time on board. If we didn’t have that, I’d be feeling in total despair right now!

  15. It’s not where you come from, it’s where we are going together. 🙂

    Splendid article with lots to think about and good reasons for moving forward.


  16. It takes a huge amount of courage to be able to make such a change – surprisingly few people are capable (psych studies show only around 15%). That you can analyse the situation with such clarity, find the energy and motivation to do so, and have the strength of personal integrity to take that leap without feeling compromised is quite special. We’re lucky to you have you on board with us. Thank you.

  17. I did see all this coming, and is why I voted yes in 2014, however I could have been wrong. Labour could have won and we would not be where we are now. I had friends who wanted the same things for Scotland that I did but voted no. Where we differed was in our belief in the likelihood that the UK government would or would not deliver ‘devo max’ or whatever you want to call it. So what I am saying is that yes in 2014 was not necessarily right as there was a degree of speculation but we know what we are dealing with now. For sure. I actually think the retrospective moral high ground can sit as much, if not more with ‘no to yes’ people like you.

  18. Well done and welcome! Such a great article that encapsulates a lot of the anger and frustration that many of us, regardless of how we voted in 2014 are going through.

    I appreciate that it must take a lot of courage to post your views on such an evocative topic but these articles and the points raised by former No voters are crucial, so I commend and thank you.

  19. A warm welcome to you! A well written piece.

    Worth pointing out also that the black hole (deficit) they keep banging on about, Scotland isn’t allowed to borrow. All borrowing is done by WM, so it’s their debt effectively.

  20. Impressive article. A lot of Scots are feeling let down and on reading this it may help to put their thought in perspective. I’m in my 60s and voted way back in the 60s for Winnie Ewing in Hamilton and have always thought Scotland should be an independant country.

  21. We all have a point at which we snap and lose trust.

    For some of us that point came during indyref2. For me it came 11 years earlier as I watched the BBC cheerlead us to an illegal war. I lost trust in pretty much every institution in the UK from that point.

    Scottish indy may be good or it may be a disaster, but it’ll be one or the other because of decisions WE make. Currently we get the decisions the Daily Mail & the rest of the odious right-wing English press decide is best for the SE of England.

    You’ve done the right thing. Never doubt that.

  22. I have seen a lot of No voters switching to Yes but have yet to see anyone say I told you so. We need more people to switch to win so comments like that would dissuade people from switching and be counter-productive.

    This is a very well written article articulating your journey. I hope it gets shared widely to give others the impetus to do the same

  23. Excellent article, have shared to facebook as hoping the few who voted No last time will have a change of heart like you. I know that together we can build a better Scotland.

  24. Very well written and thoughtfully structured opinion piece, except for the fact that I did vote yes last time, these are my thoughts exactly.

    And as an EU national, thanks for your support of our rights to live here in Scotland.

  25. “I told you so” isn’t appropriate. Decisions can only be made with the data available and circumstances have changed now. It’s not a change of mind, it’s a different decision for different reasons.

    I voted Yes last time but I don’t blame No voters or have any ill feeling toward them. I reserve that for the people who lied, dissembled and hoodwinked with false promises.

  26. A very well written piece. Let’s hope a lot of undecided read it. The problem is that so many of them seem to be blinkered when it comes to what they think they don’t want to read. Makes it very difficult!

  27. Great article.

    For many the obstacle to independence was and is economics. To those people I say, “If Scotland is a basket case why is WM desperate to keep us in the union?” I’ve never had even an unsatisfactory answer to this question from unionists. The answer must be we are not a basket case and we have the resource (with or without oil) and talent to prosper.

    Like you I also think it’s about what kind of country we want and to that end I ask myself ” Is this as good as it gets?” and my answer is I certainly hope not. The thought of living under the cloud an isolated mean spirited BREXIT not only depresses me, but makes me angry, and I feel sorry for the kids who are going to grow up under this regime.

    The transition to independence won’t be without its problems, and Scotland will probably have to borrow money at least in the short term. As for Europe I think there is no doubt we will be in the single market either as full members of the EU or EFTA. The EU has made it clear it wants Scotland and may even go out of its way to smooth the path to membership.

    When Therasa May sent her letter to Donald Tusk she did not act on my behalf but notably she did explain to Donald Tusk the UK’s desire to restore national self-determination, which ironically is exactly what many in Scotland want..

    I believe Scotland will be independent and then we can all get on with the job of building the country we want.

  28. Bloody hell its like you’ve been running around the inside of my head picking up all the things I’ve wanted to say but couldn’t string together. Nice one and welcome to the journey.

  29. Beautifully articulated.
    We are going to need as many as possible to build that country we deserve. I think it’ll be challenging but so, so worthwhile.

    Cats will be welcome too! 🙂

  30. I would never dream of saying ‘I told you so.’ I only want to say ‘Welcome to Yes.’

    Great piece, and I suspect there are many feeling the way you do, or who are steadily approaching it.

  31. I came to read this because Wings Over Scotland Tweeted it – he’d like you to get in touch. 🙂

    As everyone else has said, welcome to the Yes side, and excellent article.

  32. Loved reading your Indy story, thank you for sharing. No “I told you so” needed either, every journey to Yes is unique and it’s the final destination that matters, the fact that some people took a different or shorter route than others doesn’t come into it.

    Welcome, very glad to have you on board 🙂

  33. Lots of us have family members (even within our nuclear families) that are “foreigners”. Many of us cross borders to see our blood relatives or in laws and we are still managing. Being foreign because of a passport doesn’t feel even the tiniest bit odd. It really isn’t a big deal and nothing to fret about. What is a big deal is having a country you can be proud of, a parliament you can be proud of, one where it is actually worth your while voting because your elected politicians have the ability to represent you without being silenced. For the best relationship with the world around us, whether as a member of the EU or not, Scotland has to have the ability to represent itself and negotiate a place for itself and not be dragged along in a polarised, lopsided and abusive union. Scotland is able to succeed, Scotland can support itself, Scotland more than pays its way already… it it weren’t the case Westminster would be cutting us loose without a backward glance.

  34. Well put and honest piece.
    I also won’t say I told you so, as you were “brave” enough (don’t think that’s the right word) to see the opposite view.
    You make a decision based on the evidence available to you at the time, and the Majority of No voters (I hope) did so, now that things have changed I see no issue with saying the goalposts have changed, the information at the moment changes my choices.
    I for one didn’t see the divisiveness of the previous ref,(although I know it happened) I hope the next one will be more fact based than spin

  35. Everyone btl has already said it all. I can only add to the chorus: Welcome welcome welcome…well articulated and doesn’t miss the mark.

    There’ll be no ‘I told you so’s’ from the yes side. You are now part of our movement in Scotland toward self determination. I hope you continue to contribute forcefully and that many no to yesses can be persuaded by your eloquent contribution.

  36. Welcome and thank you for a very logical appraisal. It’s risk assessment really as in where you place your trust. Do you trust the people doing a good job in running a country within the constraints placed by others or do you trust the idealogues with an exclusive agenda?

  37. No I told you so”s
    Just a big friendly welcome.
    The piece is superb and articulates the argument for Indy far better than I can, and trust me I’ve tried a lot!
    I think more and more people are using their moral compass to decide and that can only be positive.
    Great to have you on board.

  38. Superb piece Gcat – well done and welcome.

    What the MSM never report is that in 2014 the Yes campaign was dominated by the desire to be a normal country (i.e. in control of all its own affairs). That position hasn’t changed and it doesn’t preclude cooperation at many levels with any other country who wants to cooperate with us.

    Westminster seems to be suggesting that if we go our own way they won’t want such cooperation. I think that says much more about them than it does about us.

    The other thing which MSM never reported about Yes 2014 is that it was driven by people like me with a desire to see a Scotland where virtues such as truth, justice, honesty, equality, fairness and fraternity were held up by us as beacons to the world.

    The artist Stewart Bremner produced a poster at the time with a quote, usually attributed to Canadian Dennis Lee, which said “Let’s work together as if we are living in the early days of a better nation”.

    That motto is as true now as it was then.

  39. What a beautifully crafted piece of writing. A pleasure to read.

    I hope you become involved in the next campaign because your communication skills are absolutely incredible. Scotland needs you!

  40. Wow! That is some article. agree with everything you have so eloquently said…apart from the bit about opinion polls showing a majority of Scots don’t want another indy ref. That isn’t actually the case, but sadly the peddlers of that lie are allowed to get away with it.

  41. What a brilliant and HONEST article! Exactly how I see things myself. Truly–well said. It really deserves much greater circulation.

  42. Unlike nearly everyone you will speak with I have actually been through a country becoming independent. Though I should say “restored” independence, as that is how the republic of Lithuania describes our situation. We were occupied by an enemy and there was no Union to end. Why is this significant to your situation? We were able to renege on basically all international treaties signed by the USSR from 1940 onward. We could not be legally held to these treaties because the USSR had no legal right to sign on our behalf.

    What does this mean to Scotland? Well the UK signed treaties that included Scotland. After independence you would be bound by those treaties. You may want to renegotiate the terms or formally with draw but you would still be bound. Independence would create two clone UKs. UK1 (Kingdom of England) and UK2 (Kingdom of Scotland). Look at the example of Slovakia and the Czech republic.

    The consequence of this is that would not be a “new” country. It would be legally a clone of the current UK. That would include membership of the treaty organisations of the EU and NATO. So when you say Scotland would have to join the EU you are legally incorrect. If Scotland became Independent before the UK formally left the EU then the only entity leaving would be UK1 (Kingdom of England). This UK1 would only have authority to treat internationally for itself not UK2 (Kingdom of Scotland).

    Do not of course take my word for any of this. Look at the laws governing international treaty law, namely The Treaty of Westphalia and the UN Vienna Conventions on Treaty Law.

  43. I would definitely never say ‘I told you so’! I’d never even considered independence, or supported the idea until 2014 and I came to support it in similar ways to you – I thought through all the facts, felt instinctively it was right, but sorted through all the facts and reasons some more, and then knew it was right. Some of my family and friends decided to vote no last time but held very similar views to yours. It irritates me when people argue that for no voters it was always about the economy, it’s often far more complicated.

    I agree wholeheartedly with your observations and conclusions, I’d also add one of my own observations for reasons to vote yes…

    Back in the 90s Blair offered Scotland further devolution and supported a Scottish Parliament, but it was a back-handed gift in some ways, because he also attempted to limit Scotland’s sovereignty. (you may already know he also insidiously decreased Scottish sea territories). This post by ‘Wings’ was helpful, since I’m no expert on the detail of Scottish sovereignty https://wingsoverscotland.com/weekend-sovereignty-for-dummies/

    If Blair wanted to undermine Scottish sovereignty, we can imagine how much the tories want that. I have no doubt that the Tory gov’ (which as you say we’ll be stuck with for the foreseeable future at least) will attempt to undermine the process of devolution throughout the UK, and will do all they can to change the law so that Scotland will never have the power to become independent.We know that being out of the EU gives them far more clout to re-write/invent the UK constitution.

    So to me, it’s imperative that Scotland gains independence before it’s stripped of any more autonomy. Further down the line, we will (we hope!) see a backlash against the tories in England (as you say, at least a more moderate political approach), then as now I’m positive that Scotland will always work in solidarity and collaboration with left-leaning and humanitarian causes across the UK. So I think now absolutely is the time (or rather before the final Brexit agreement in spring 2018!)

  44. Excellent article very well argued “got a tear in my eye reading it” thank you for articulating what a lot of us think. I voted yes in 2014/Remain but still had small doubts that I could be wrong you have made me realise I was right to vote as I did. Thanks again x

    by the by Wings would like you to make contact x

  45. All I can say is ‘Superb’, I agree with every single word. Like you my reasons for supporting independence concern the type of country I want to live in, not the economics of the argument. I voted Yes last time, and I’m delighted now to find myself on the same side as someone so articulate and clear-sighted.

  46. This is amazing. It sums up exactly how I now feel, how I felt in 2014 and how and why I have changed my mind.

    Thank you.

  47. ‘which appears hell bent on shutting itself off from the world and reversing much of the progress of the last 60 years, or I can attempt to stay with the rest of Europe and build on that progress instead of throwing it away.’

    I really don’t know what fairy tale you are living in. The EU is a protectionist union. Just ask anyone outside of the E.U, particularly the commonwealth states. The EU has failed on a massive scale in the last 20 years for reasons that are extensive. Yes its had some success in that time but it was most successful when it first started out, with the idea of a single market and cooperation on security and defense. The European project is all now built to become a superstate, no nation state governments, no nation state armies, no nation state anything! The last 10 years have been an experiment at best and its failed miserably.

  48. This is a fantastic summary of many of the main arguments swilling around. It is presented in a calm, rational way, totally avoiding nastiness or negativity. Thank you. I think I will print it out to help me gather my thoughts for canvassing for a YES. I didn’t do anything last time around except make financial donations. This time, we have to get it over the line. I’m going to be out there doing as much as I can to help to win the argument.

  49. I’m not going to tell you that you should not have voted “No” last time. You tried to make the best decision you could and perhaps if some of the promises made to the Scottish people had been kept by westminster we would not be in the situation we are today.

    I don’t blame people for believing those lies back then. Many of us weren’t paying attention to politics back then (myself included, until the vote was getting closer and I thought I’d better start).

  50. I’m not as magnanimous as the others commenting here: we told you so!

    I won’t browbeat beyond that though and will say, I’m mightily glad you’ve come around and hope that many others do too. We’re relying on you.

  51. What a pleasure it was to read your article! Thank you for being so honest and having the courage to say ‘I’m changing my vote’. As I read, all I could think of was “this blogger is reading my mind!”, and it filled me with renewed hope. It gave me hope that people are still able to see the wood for the trees, that in spite of the mainstream newspapers pushing out reams of articles about how bad a job the Scottish government is doing, some people are still able to differentiate between subtle distortions and propaganda and what are genuine facts. It is really wearisome, not to mention worrisome, how the constant negativity of the ‘official’ sources of information can permeate society and lead to damaging votes for the one party that has the people of Scotland at its heart… I’ve been finding it tough going, trying to convince myself that the mess of Brexit must surely aid others in seeing the difference between the work of Westminster and the work of Holyrood, but my feeling was that not enough damage has been done to convince some folks yet that it doesn’t HAVE TO be that way. Your article has really fuelled me with renewed hope!

    I have supported self-determination since I moved back to Scotland many, many years ago. I saw even then how there was a truly uneven playing field in Westminster politics, where Scotland was treated as a wayward, rebellious teenager that required slapping into line via punishing policies that kept Scottish in her place. Perhaps the view from ‘immigrant’ eyes gave me an advantage in 2014, and I was able to vote ‘yes’ without any qualms.

    Growing up & always having lived here has given many Scots an idea of what is ‘normal’ and I think given them a rather fixed view of ‘their’ UK. Taking a step back and taking another look can very often alter that initial perception of ‘normal’ and can allow them to want something politically different. It isn’t a fault in the initial thinking – but simply the new observation indicating the need to make a change in direction… and finally taking that step. I have no problem with others having a different opinion to me. But in the case of where Scotland is going today, I’m really happy when someone sees things as I do, so that we can change the direction Scotland needs to go in, as opposed to the rest of the UK.

    People don’t like to be pushed. And they don’t like to be told they are wrong. I don’t. So it’s a fine line when it comes to persuading ‘no’ voters to be open-minded about all they read in newspapers and what they see on BBC and that the interpretation of the information available at those sources may NOT be the truth of the issue. The unionist supporters who bombard Twitter & Facebook with hundreds of false accounts, pushing hundreds of lies, really make the task of getting good, more reliable information ‘out there’ difficult. So all we can do is hope that more people will start to recognise the lies for what they are, see the wood for the trees… and hopefully more people will step back, take another look at what is happening and think “No. I’m not going to give my vote & my blessing to making the UK smaller & inward looking”. I am really hopeful your blog will give others the confidence to say, “I too can’t agree THIS TIME with the way things are going. I want the right to have a say where Scotland goes and I’m going to change my vote to yes”.

    “I told you so” – UH, UH! That was then, this is now. You and I are looking for the same thing for Scotland now. That’s the way things are TODAY. No need for ‘told you so’s’…

  52. Most of us in the yes movement, will never , ever ,say i told you so, that is not what we are about, everyone is welcome, so come aboard the train of optisim, we don’t know what the future holds, but we will build it together, we have each others back, what an exciting journey we have, it won’t all be milk and honey, we will make mistakes​, but it will be our mistakes, no more lies and decieving, together we build a better country, CALEDONIA, ALBA GU BRATH.

  53. Very eloquently put. As a Yes voter in 2014, albeit a nervous one, I applaud your clear thinking and welcome you to the family. I feel as you do that the economic argument, undeniably important, but subject to many interpretations, has become subordinate to the type of country we want to live in and the code of ethics we want to live with. I have no wish to see my grandchildren living in a narrow minded insular land, viewed with suspicion by its neighbours and selling its soul for trade deals with any and every regime to make the rich even richer at the cost of the majority of the population.

  54. A lovely piece, Cat.
    On the observation in the final paragraph,
    “While we’re on the subject, I don’t like the implication that the SNP are somehow wrong to be interfering with issues like Brexit and should stick to running the schools and hospitals. They’re running the Scottish Government… surely it’s their job to represent the interests of the people of Scotland? It’s not in my interest to have my EU citizenship rights snatched away against my will, and I’m very grateful that at least one political party is trying to do something about this. If I lived in England or Wales I’d be feeling utterly betrayed by the lot of them right now).”,
    It should be noted that the SNP is a ‘UK’ Party, with 56 MPs sitting at Westminster.
    Nicola Sturgeon is leader of the third largest party at Westminster, and they have a mandate at UK level, as well as in Scotland.
    Their views therefore from Trident to Free Travel are as relevant as Labour LD and Tories DUP Greens on a UK wide perspective.
    Our FM has every constitutional right to have a dog in the Brexit fight, unlike Dugdale, Davidson and Rennie, who are members of the devolved Administration, therefore not mandated to pontificate about Brexit.
    I note Stu over on WoS is looking to contact you.
    You are indeed a great contributor to the debate.
    Keep it up, please.

  55. I really liked your article. It’s so heartening so see that the reality of the new situation is making people re-evaluate and make a positive decision on what they want, not just on what they don’t want or are being threatened by. A thousand welcomes to Yes and here’s hoping there are many like you.

  56. Unlike you I have gone from a staunch Yes voter to quite frankly an exhausted one. I was devastated when 2014 returned a ‘No’ vote. I will no longer argue, shout or tear my own hair out. So as a Yes voter I would ask you to take up the baton to convince others. I will turn up on the day and vote Yes and hope you have managed to convince as many as possible. See everyone at the finish line 🙂 xx

  57. I think this is a well thought out article. The practicalities of making sure there is another independence referendum happen within the next few months have to be addressed quickly. The UK Government are adept at stalling. If the Government continue to deny a referendum,I believe the Scottish Parliament should mount there own. On a numbers game,I think that all over 16 should vote so that there is no argument over what percentage didn’t cast a vote etc. I am already receiving propaganda on my Facebook account urging me to remain in the UK so the ‘game is on’.

  58. Welcome aboard. That was a thoroughly enjoyable read.

    Just to agree with Katharine above, this whole “friends and family becoming foreigners” argument is ludicrous. Many of us have relatives that have emigrated. Do you still think of them as your brother, sister, auntie or uncle or do you think of them as foreigners? Unless you’re an absolute loon-ball I would think it is the former.

  59. I cannot help but see the positives of going it on our own with the help of our european neighbours. I have been asked well who will bale us out when we become bankrupt I replied as it is very unlikely that would happen it’s not something I worry about however to answer you I am sure there are many many countries in the world who love Scotland and would come to our aid. Then last night on arranging a first date with a man on here I was berated for believing in Nicola and the SNP (not a good idea to talk politics on a first date arrangement) and he said if we leave the union he will move to England and 18 of his staff would lose jobs. My answer was well you better get packing because we will win this one and I am sorry you will be sacking good workers however I believe you would be doing this because your Tory backers would be unable to fund you without the coffers from the Scots. Needless to say there will be no date now lol. Thank you for seeing the light this time. I wonder if those who are scared to support us “just in case” would feel the same if they were going on a plane or a ship which might crash or sink. You must take chances in life and this is our chance to prove that we are a strong, proud and passionate nation and we WILL prosper and become a leading force in the world.

    • Sorry to hear of your first date experience. Also apologies for laughing!

      A first date is absolutely the correct time to talk politics if that exposes your prospective partner as a selfish individual who would threaten to throw folk out of work if they vote the “wrong” way.

      You definitely don’t want that as a life partner!

  60. Great article and emphasising the positive, inclusiveness of our nation which is what Yes is all about! Welcome my friend 🙂 x

  61. Graham purnell 1.12pm. Agree graham,my anger towards no voters after September 2014 was misplaced. It should have been aimed at the lying manipulative msm/BBC westmidden scum who lied and deceived them.

  62. An excellent well thought out article explaining your journey from nontonyes! There’s no ‘I told you sold’ from me just a hearty big hug and welcome! Your article is now flashing its way throughout the various sites and it’s being met positively and changing others as it laid it out so well and eloquently

  63. Brilliant piece. It takes a lot of guts to come out publicly and change your mind.

    I recall in 2014, telling No voters, I was terrified if we voted to stay in the UK we’d find ourselves eventually outside the EU with a PM Boris (okay, so he made it to Foreign Secretary, I was close). They thought I was nuts.

    But now is not the time to say, I told you so.

    Only welcome to YES. Hope you will work with us in ensuring we win this time.

  64. superbly written and an enjoyable read…….,as someone who has been an SNP supporter since John Smith died and warmongrel blair and his puppy broon(naw,we’re no better thegither,son) came to screw up the former decent labour party,i refuse point blank to say”I told you so”……,but………..”welcome aboard”…..

  65. Heh, you’ve just written more or less what I’ve been pondering writing for a while. Ok, so I was Yes back in 2014 but even more so now for just about ALL the reasons you stated above.
    It’s going to be tough but we can, we must, succeed this time round. And it’ll be all the better for having you on board. Fàilte romhad/Welcome – and I’m not gloating or going told you so!

  66. there is no helpful value in the phrase ‘told you so.’ We can, as we all know from our experiences s children, learn from what does not work, hopefully as a nation that is exactly what is happening. Your essay was very well thought out and put together, your thoughts and opinions clearly stated and I think was put in a manner which evidences that when circumstances change in ways we do not believe are the best way forward we have the courage to stand up and say, ‘based on this new evidence I have changed my mind.’ Well done an excellent piece of work. I will look forward to the next one.

  67. Oh, I do love a bit of well argued rhetoric! Welcome, and well done. Your arguments are all the stronger than mine for having been arrived at through a process that must have been uncomfortable, if not painful, for you. Me, I’m from a family that has wanted independence for generations. Let’s hope that when it arrives, it’s good to us all. It’ll be up to us to make it that way!

  68. Moving from NO to YES is probably one of the hardest decisions you will make in your lifetime. It’s NOT a case of i was wrong & you were right. We all believed in what was best for ourselves, our loved ones & our country. There was no right or wrong decision. It was the right decision for you at that moment in time.
    The UK today is a different UK to that of 2014, and with that new questions has arisen. Questions that could not be answered in 2014. Questions that , when pressed UK govt can give NO clear answers to.
    In 2014 the Independence movement was accused of wanting to take Scotland into the UNKNOWN, and that was Scotland’s choice, if we had voted for to do so.
    Today UK govt is taking Scotland on a LEAP into the UNKNOWN. A decision Against the wishes of Scotland. On a referendum Scotland did not ask for nor want.
    A decision you, a former NO voter, did not ask for, did not wish for, nor want .
    As i said at beginning, i believe you have made one of the hardest decisions you will make in your lifetime. The decisions that follow will be much easier. Like others , i to welcome you & your contribution to the wider independence movement.

  69. Welcome! Thank you for sharing the stages you went through before your decision to support independence for Scotland. I hope you campaign with us when the rime comes. Your story will help a lot of undecided to make up their minds and hopefully change the minds of those who voted no in 2014. You are all welcome to live in a democratic inclusive fair successful country that Scotland will be when independence happens.

  70. If this piece went through everyletterbox in Scotland, it’d be game over fot the Union I feel. A wonderful expression of the choices before us.

  71. Brilliant article and welcome to. Yes. Scotland is well able to run it’s own affairs and look after it’s own people. Self determination is surely a nation’s right. This has nothing at all to do with isolation or seperateism and everything to do with having the ability to make our own decisions and have our own choices regarding the running of our own country. Hope your article is well read and shared and thankuor!

  72. Saying “I told you so” doesn’t feel great under the circumstances im just glad you’ve seen the light.

    For me independence was always about creating a country where everyone was treated equally and fairly. It’s been obvious for some time that Scotland and the rest of the UK have been traveling in different directions and it is hard to take the accusation that independence supporters just want to destroy the union because we hate the English. It’s not even about that for me.

  73. There are many journeys to Yes – some folk take the scenic route – you’ve got here and the kettle’s on – can’t imagine there will be a single “I told you so”

  74. Excellent article this will help genuine undecided understand some valid points,there is no article for the diehard unionists unfortunately.

  75. Sounds like you had a long hard journey, but sometimes it takes a wander along an unknown path to get to where we are going!

    Welcome to Yes!

  76. A well written, well considered and, it seems, a climactic response to some serious soul-searching on your part.

    You’ve seen through the rhetoric and made your own decision.

    Welcome to the club.

  77. An extremely well written and thoughtful contribution which unlike the one dimensional verbiage regurgitated daily in the media actually contributes to the discourse .
    I can only welcome you to our family, but cannot promise you that your views will be taken seriously, far less respected. To the Unionist establishment in Scotland you are know de jure a vile Cybernat. As someone who has supported Scottish independence for over forty years the most important I can say to you is not I told you so, because I obviously didn’t do it well enough, or I knew better, because frankly I didn’t.
    No the most important thing I can tell you is that I know exactly how you feel and I want to make things better for us and everyone else.

  78. It nice to hear from someone who voted No and now has taken a journey to arrive at Yes!
    I have many friends who will not even discuss politics with me and are determined to vote No, only one friend who like me voted Yes. I want to inform them so desperately of what lies ahead in a Brexit Britain and a Scottish Parliment who’s power’s wil be deminished greatly by Theresa May given the chance, possibly to the point that we may never be given the opportunity to have a referendum again and that worries me.
    However I’m so pleased there are still people out there who are open to reason and arrived at thw conclusion that you have, that only in an Independent Scotland can we flourish and grow into the proud Nation we kniw we can be.
    All I can say to you is Welcome Welcome Welcome. Let’s hope there are many more out there like you.

    • Moureen – You could say to those friends that you’ve just read the most amazing blog. Write down the url, even say it’s about cats, a little bit of deception could work wonders!

  79. Great opinion piece​. Cogent, coherent, creditable, and courageous, because it takes real courage to admit that you’re wrong. More so in writing.

    I’ve been yes for a long time, for many of the same reasons you state. Unfortunately I live abroad, so don’t get to vote. But I am happy that those who have made Scotland their home DO get a vote.

    I am a proud Scot, and a proud European.

    I am grateful to you and almost like you who are helping me to retain that status!


  80. well said Puss, but it’s still a No from me.. No to Brexit, indyref2 or any ref for the next ten years please. Don’t think that the Ice Maiden with the Tin Ear will get her own way. Hubris breeds nemesis. Organise, and remember, the workers united will never be defeated…

    • Unfortunately Liam it matters not what the workers do, want or think. It’ll be Conservative governments in the U.K. for probably the next 10 or 12 years at least. I personally see only see one way out of that conundrum.

      I however wish you the best and hope you get what you seek.

    • Liam. Brexit is already happening

      How will the workers fare in little Britain, desperate for trade deals, any trade deals, at any price?

      How will the workers fare in little Britain that looks to be run by a right wing cabal in Westminster for 20 years at least?

  81. Well, since nobody else will say it, i will, ‘told ye so nah nah nahnah nahhhh!’
    Seriously, welcome aboard Mucker. BTW, are you aware that wingsoverscotland.com is running a top class series of ‘No to Yes’ films by Phantom Power Films? They are a must see and spread, spread the word and the vids. Also, if you haven’t already done so can i ask you to contact Stuart Campbell at WOS, he’s looking to get in touch with you. Oh, and finally, i personally have hundreds of English mongrels in my family, three of them being my much loved grandsons. Welcome! 😉

  82. The workers have been defeated in England. The poor have been castigated. Nuclear weapons are being renewed. Unless you change your ideas. Don’t vote in the referendum. By default you have sided with Farage and the brexiters. Not quite the united stand you wanted? Trump will be pleased though.

  83. No, it’s not about “told you so”. It’s simply that some of us reached the same conclusions as you have but just got there a little earlier, that’s all. But we’re in the same place now, and that’s all that matters.

    So a hearty welcome! Perhaps your insights will help some others make the change too. It’s not easy for everyone, but it’s unavoidable now.

  84. Excellent, well written and really encouraging optimistic outlook. So good in fact I took the liberty of posting the full article onto our group facebook page.
    YES Ross & Sutherland
    Look forward to hearing more excellent blogs from you

  85. No need for “told you so’s” at all.

    Last time you were just a countryman of mine with a different opinion. This time you are a countryman of mine with the same opinion.

    Therefore al I have to say to you is welcome. It’s great to see you.

  86. Great to see so many people changing from no to yes. This time it’s different we are being forced into a nightmare against our will. The Scottish people have woke up and realised that the union is one of unequals we will have our referendum and we will win of that I have no doubt

  87. Lovely piece, thank you for sharing your thoughts so eloquently and welcome to the side of hope over fear 🙂 As many others have said, would be great to see this in the (dreaded!) MSM. Perhaps as one of The Guardian’s ‘Have your say’ pieces? I hope as we go forward your new opinion only grows stronger. Together we can – together we have to. Cheers.

  88. Great piece and I hope thought provoking for other soft No voters or unsure voters on Independence. You made very good points and from someone who was 40 years Labour unionist/head in sand the awakening about Independence and SNP were ups and downs, many things I have found out about Labour that is painful to read, I guess I had them on a pedestal for so many years, long after they deserved to be but revelations of my real grassroots Labour leaders like Wilson and Callaghan, I think Smith is my only hero left. From 2010 after my now ex MP Gordon Brown lost the fight to get back in power, I had the misfortune of meeting and listening to Brown’s replacement for Labour leader, Ed Miliband when activists and local Labour political folk were invited to a quick speech from him. I knew on that day watching and listening to him that if Scots ever hoped for a Labour leader to give a damn about Scotland, Miliband was not the man. I’d been disillusioned with Labour for a long time but had been so “mind-controlled” by the party that it was “better the devil I knew” because #ToriesBad #SNPBad was their year in year out mantra when even I seen how much leftwing grassroots Labour had changed to right-leaning Blairite Labour. I was even more despondent and worried about Scotland even getting a thought from Miliband and when I heard SNP ScotGov were coming to town with their summer tour in 2011 I decided to go have a nosey at the “enemy”. I expected not to like them, after all, Labour told us they were bad, the hall was filled, I listened and seen humans on stage but it was when John Swinney stood and spoke that it was a light went on “that man is someone I could really trust with Scotland’s finances” a real canny man. I also was unaware until John spoke of it that Scottish Gov balanced their books year in year out because they weren’t allowed to borrow. That meant regardless of what WM gave them, John managed to still protect and manage the economy and making sure the money went to the right places. In truth I guess most of us knew that under SNP, things were being run pretty decently, unlike what we were having our heads filled with in the anti SNP papers, Scotland wasn’t falling to bits under SNP. I came out even more confused, I knew that Labour had finally lost its grip on me though and I cancelled my membership, I kept it quiet that I’d left Labour because I was also a local activist and had been on and off for years, my final stint was the 2011 Scottish Election where for first time SNP MSP got in with a small majority but for a constituency that had been Labour for many decades. I found a home in Labour for Indy, was so good to speak to folk who felt same as me and though we started off with only around 9% of support, by 2014 we had 37%. I came out in 2012 and met such a big welcome from many SNP members/supporters, I’d been so used to bitch whine, bitch whine about SNP from Labour folk that this was a positive, fun bunch of folk who I learnt so much from, they encouraged me to read more about our history and to look outwith the British media for information. One thing for sure, the real facts when you find them, Scotland most definitely can stand on its own two feet and be successful with the many resources it has, we always said “oil is a bonus” which was because of all our other great resources we could stand on our own two feet anyway, tourism, food and drink industry plus the excise duties returning to Scotland for the mass exports of our food and drink industry, renewables, gaming to name a few. I have never looked back but where there has been a lot of positivity and respect from the Yes side, I have been deeply sickened from the No side, I do not follow anyone on that side for my sanity, the British news are appalling with their Fake News/AltFacts and from anyone of us brought up with honesty, values and principles, to see how low the Better Together side would crawl makes me sick. We are well armed this time, we will learn from our mistakes in 2014 and above all, we must make certain that there is a much greater protection regards postal votes, that must not be abused this time round but I do believe we will win this time, EU is so very important to us, our neighbours will still be our neighbours and since Brexit vote, many have moved up north, many are intending moving up and we pass on the message to others that if we are Independent in the EU or at least in single market, Scotland will always have our door open. Tonight I spoke on a thread when the video of Jamie Kerr was posted, a recent SNP member who was like majority of us, a loyal, dedicated Labour member/activist though Jamie stayed with party as a Yes supporter. There were many ex Labour members, mostly folk with many decades membership and we all had the same mindset in our transition from Labour to SNP.none of us would ever go back, only forward as SNP. Real Grassroots Labour will never return except in an Independent Scotland, that is fact, Labour in Scotland are such a failure because none of them possess that heartfelt real grassroots compassion, the London Labour are massively divided, Corbyn may be real grassroots but he is weak, maybe he would have succeeded had he not been surrounded by venomous Blairites and dugdale and co are just bitter, twisted and obsessed with hatred for SNP, not because they are somehow a terrible party but its a feeling by these Labour folk that Scottish Parly belongs to them because it was Blair that gave Scotland its Parly, they rarely do any real work other than to attack and distort facts on SNP. Their biggest betrayal is them plotting now behind the backs of constituents to get Labour and Tories in coalition together to stop SNP, imagine Labour slap the Scots in the face by bringing tories intentionally into power which has its downside for many reasons, mostly because they have ideological wants and Labour will have to give in to them, that means austerity cuts somewhere or helping the wealthy in another area. These people in a fake Labour party are Tories, no doubt about it and having a Labour led party propped up by Tories, our constituency is actually far poorer than any other time. They are spiteful, the councillors will veto ANUTHING SNP puts forward even when its good for the constituency, that is how petty they are. Scots must speak to others to warn them of what Labour and Tories intend and think long and hard about who they would prefer, an SNP party which has done great by the people of Scotland and will put in the hard work and dedication to their constituencies as their MPs and MSPs do or chose a coalition of Labour and Tories and risk Tories controlling the councils and our constituencies failing even worse than before. I hope many more find their way to Yes, the last campaign was so positive, fun and peaceful, I am looking forward to this very important campaigning and you make such wonderful friends from many diverse Yes voters of all parties, yes, even some Tories and LibDems are pro Indy and what I hear from Labour for Indy is they are unindated with new members since the Brexit vote. Here are good websites to follow http://www.businessforScotland.co.uk though he gets a bad name usually by the unionists who loathe him because he takes the unionist lies from media and politicians and he is like a super sleuth to find the real facts, backed with proof so what you read, you see how deceitful those spouting the alt facts but also you see what is the actual facts. http://www.wingsoverscotland.com on the website you will see a whole list of websites/blogs to visit in middle of page under “Wee blue link” sorry for such a long comment but welcome aboard. x

  89. Well written, a lot of people feel the same,and are sick of main stream media telling them what to think and vote. Change is needed and not false promises ,Scotland needs its independence to have a better future for our bairns and grandchildren​!

  90. Welcome GCat = )

    A lovely piece that I think would be excellent for handing gently to our unsure and now swithering No’s.

  91. I almost resisted the temptation to say told you so but no I won’t hold back.

    I told you so and the rest of the 45% told you so, we knew the mess that was coming our way, we didn’t believe the Unionist lies and rightly didn’t believe them.

    Anyway now I have that off my chest, welcome on board, what a fabulous article, glad I took the time out to read it

  92. Fantastic article and wonderfully written. I’m sure your words will inspire so many others to move to the team independent. Thank you

  93. This is a very eloquently written piece. Thanks for putting your thoughts together so coherently, even though it’s clearly caused you some pain to do so. The next few years will certainly be very interesting and I say bring it on.

  94. What an uplifting and inspiring piece! Although you say people like me (who’s supported Scottish Independence all my adult life) can say “I told you so!”, l have no desire to at all. It takes courage and not a little self examination to change your mind the way you have and I just want to thank you for writing this.

  95. This is the best blog I have read on case for Scottish Independence. Thank you. I have a lighters step and more fire in my belly today than yesterday (or the day before). And I’m sending the link to all my friends and family too. Many of whom are not convinced that independence is the way forward. Once again – a heartfelt thank you.

  96. I was a Yes voter the first time around, but in 2014 it felt like a knife edge. It was a hard choice, there was a feeling of mourning the loss of something dear. There was fear too as independence was and still is the harder path. I was looking to expedite progress; to do what the Lib Dems failed to do and hard reset enfranchisement; to indulge my moderate conservatism and see government shrink a little; to reclaim the sense of globalism that living abroad for a decade had instilled in me; to escape the draconian anti-immigration laws that kept my spouse and I apart for 7 months of our first year of marriage; to protect the dualist social contract of citizenship see social care stabilise and – dare I say it – grow beyond its origins.I was sure of my choice, but would be a hypocrite to say “I told you so” to anyone – in 2014 my vote was a personal matter and I can’t hold anyone to another standard.

    Thank you for your openness and taking the time to write. You’re welcome here.

  97. Welcome and I hope it might come that you see it as a positive choice rather than a least worst choice.

    I used to worry about an independent Scotland’s economic viability based on government figures and the press. But then I started looking at it from first principles. So here is a country in a safe part of the world that speaks English as a first language. Has a highly educated population and is self-sufficient in energy, water and food. Has a big financial centre in Edinburgh plus a booming tech sector. Not to mention oil and tourism.

    Then looking at near neighbours without half those advantages yet a higher quality of living raises the question, why are they doing better? And the answer I came up with is the union. Scotland’s economy is not in Scottish hands. It might be the wrong answer, but I can’t see any other explanation.

    Then I was reading a history of the USA and came across a quote from a loyalist during the time of the war in independence. The American Colonies actually *cost* the British government money. ‘This is folly’ went the quote, ‘how do they expect to pay the shortfall without causing ruination?’ Well, the USA seem to be doing alright. And it struck me the exact same argument is now used against Scotland.

    • Some very interesting parallels there, Craig, and far more convincing than arguing over a pinhead about statistics that are far from reliable.

      Scotland isn’t uniquely incapable of managing its own affairs, as some continually imply. We have resources that many similar-sized countries would envy.

      Even little Malta “sits at the top table”, and it’s high time Scotland did too.

  98. I have to admit it is always tempting to say I told you so, but I’d rather say well done coming to all the conclusions we’ve championed for yrs ! Actually some of us many decades . I just hope you can convert many more to these truths and maybe ( if u r brave enough) post this in some unionist sites . Welcome.

  99. Spot on.

    The article more than adequately sums up the gaping emptiness that I feel post-Brexit ref. I was arms still am a Yes voter for the type of country I want to live in. I’d even have settled for status quo to remain. But the rattling of Jackboots coming from the right wing in Westminster makes me realise that this Indyref 2 has to be won or we’re so fucked

  100. Can’t disagree with anything-fav piece. I’m not a proIndy fan for the sake of it and do question myself constantly as this is so huge. I always come back to Scots being able to make decisions themselves-I do see huge potential with the great people living in Scotland who sometimes undermine their contributions. Many still think we watch Braveheart and that brainwashes us. Many claim we are AntiEnglish which is wrong. Many English friends live in Scotland and join the Yes family-it is open to all. Brexit has been terrible and things in Downing Street are getting worse. I also fear Holyrood parliament’s existence is at stake now. Thanks for all your points and I hope many more read this and come to the same conclusion. Now is the time. 😉

  101. What a fantastically well written piece. It is well balanced and packed with honesty and really demonstrates the soul searching you have done.
    As others have said, you are welcome, welcome and even more welcome. You should not be surprised about the reaction you have received to your writing. It is personal and moving and no doubt strikes a resonance with many.

  102. This article echos a lot of my own thoughts and feelings.
    I voted NO in 2014. It was because of feeling British but also fear. Further research after my vote begun to strongly change my mind.
    I am British but Britain has let us down (in more ways than one) and the fear is well and truly gone. Brexit in the nail on the head.

    I am elated that we will be getting another chance to make this decision. I am under no illusion that this will be easy – but I will definitely be voting YES next time round.

    • Anthony,
      Welcome aboard! Better late than never my friend. Not sure if you’re aware or not but there are a multitude of pro Indy sites out there that will help to reinforce your decision, backed up by cold hard factual evidence. Most of those sites can be accessed through the mother of them all – Wings Over Scotland. Enjoy! 🙂

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