Today I have the pleasure of handing over Auld Acquaintance to a very good acquaintance of mine, Murray Calder.
Murray has very kindly given me permission to reproduce here something he wrote recently.
Given all the activity on Twitter over National Collectives #YesBecause, where people have been galvanised into giving their reasons why they are voting YES, Murray actually wrote this himself before all that took off, and is very worth while reading. So with that said…over to Murray
I’ve been lucky. I was born, grew up, was educated and have spent the last 25 years working in Scotland, a country I love in all its parts from the wild, wild Highlands to wild nights out in Glasgow basements.
I’ve been lucky. I’ve had a successful and rewarding career which has taken me around the world while living and working in Scotland.
I’ve been lucky. I met and married a wonderful woman with whom I have an amazing daughter who I want to have the same opportunities I did, and more.
I’ve been lucky.
Lots of people across the country have not been so lucky. Through no fault of their own, they have not had the benefit of a free higher education, they have been unable to find work, they have fallen ill, been born or through some accident become disabled, have brought up children on their own, have had to deal with prejudice and abuse, have entered old age alone and in poverty.
I don’t want to live in a country where my daughter, or anyone else’s, happiness and contribution to society is dependent on how lucky she is. I want to live in a country where all children, regardless of their background and upbringing have the help and support they need to become happy and productive members of a socially just society. I want to live in a country which looks after the most vulnerable and helps the poorest out of poverty.
I have come to believe the only way to secure this future is to vote Yes on September 18th.
In the last few weeks, I’ve watched the No campaign and the Westminster government lie with impunity on an almost daily basis and have those lies reported without critique in newspapers and on television. Lies designed to make us afraid of change, to make us fear the future, to make us distrust our own thoughts and feelings, to make us believe we are incapable of governing ourselves.
I watched a former Prime Minister lie to pensioners that their pensions wouldn’t be safe in the event of Independence. The DWP confirmed that pensions would continue to be paid as they are presently, even if those are amongst the lowest state pensions in Europe.
I watched the same former Prime Minister lie that sick children wouldn’t have access to specialist care in English hospitals. Great Ormond Street confirmed that these services would continue to be available to Scots as they are to people across Europe through the reciprocal arrangements that are already in place.
I watched Labour politicians lie that the SNP were scaremongering over threats to the funding of the Scottish NHS in the event of a No vote. I also watched Labour politicians tell us that the NHS was in grave danger in England. The Barnett formula means reduced funding in Scotland as English welfare state budgets are reduced.
I watched as statements from EU and NATO officials were taken out of context and spun to create the impression that we would be excluded from both. And I watched as those EU and NATO officials refuted the spin that was put upon their comments.
I watched as a Cabinet re-shuffle populated our current government with even more reactionary, anti-EU, anti-Gay Marriage, anti-Barnett Formula politicians, 75% of them male and 75% privately educated with some calling for the repeal of Devolution and massive cuts to the Scottish budget. You’ll see in today’s press how this prevailing attitude in government has translated into the ongoing fallacy amongst English voters that Scots are net recipients, rather than net contributors to the UK treasury.
I watched as the prospect of a UKIP/Tory coalition at the 2016 general election became more likely as Labour still seem incapable of forging a socially just path to more votes in the rest of the UK. And I see no evidence of a grassroots desire for radical change in the rest of the UK and too many vested interests in the current system to make change at Westminster likely in my lifetime.
I watched as DRIP legislation was rushed through parliament to enable even further erosion of our civil liberties with the promise that a future Tory government would withdraw the UK from the European Convention on Human Rights and repeal our own Human Rights Act.
I watched as the establishment closed ranks to cover up of institutionalised child abuse at the highest levels and granted the Royal Family the right to absolute secrecy.
And I watched as millionaire celebrities entreated us to stay in a Union that is broken, that does the exact opposite of what David Cameron promised in his 2010 election campaign, that does not look after the weakest and most vulnerable but demonises them and blames them for the ills brought upon us by the richest and most privileged.
I will not take lectures on pensions from the people who stole the pension pot. I will not take lectures on the future of our oil and shipbuilding industries from the people who de-industrialised Scotland and lied to us about our reserves. I will not take lectures on the economy from the people who presided over the worst banking crash since the 1920’s. I will not take lectures on austerity from those who have doubled the national debt in 4 years to finance their assault on the poor and to enrich their donors. I will not take lectures on security from the people whose foreign policy brought terror to our shores. I will not take lectures on the NHS from those who would see it privatised. I will not take lectures on care for the elderly and disabled by the first government to be inspected by the UN on disability rights violations. I will not take lectures on nuclear weapons from those who don’t live with them in their back yard.
I will NOT be scared into voting No and neither should you.
I will vote Yes.
I will vote Yes for the opportunity it will give my and all of our children. I will vote Yes for the opportunity to create a progressive and socially just country. I will vote Yes for the opportunity to make a positive difference to the community, society, country and world we live in.
I will vote Yes.