I cannot feel disappointed by the referendum result, because at the moment all I feel is anger that
– the Unionists won with a campaign based on threats, smears and downright lies, and so many people must have let themselves be fooled by these;
– British nationalism has triumphed while its proponents said all nationalism is evil;
– the BBC showed such disregard for the idea of impartiality;
– Scotland will remain under the control of the Westminster Parliament which is both corrupt (with politicians voting on issues where they have a substantial financial interest, something which local councillors are, rightly, not allowed to do) and nowhere near as democratic as it pretends to be;
– that Scotland will continue to be denied a proper codified constitution to assert the rights of its citizens.
One scandal is that the Unionist leaders came out with a last minute promise of more powers for the Scottish Parliament, widely but misleadingly reported as something like devo-max, although neither government was supposed to announce any new policies which might influence the referendum result within the ‘purdah’ period. I have seen it said that this is acceptable because Cameron was speaking as leader of the Tory party, rather than as the Prime Minister. Would Alex Salmond have been allowed to get away with this kind of trick? However, the Electoral Commission has already shown that it is merely a tool of the British Establishment in its dealings with the CBI.
I will never forgive the leaders of such a dishonest campaign – may they rot in hell. As for those of them who are, or claim to be, Scottish, I see them as renegades and traitors. Given that so much of the No campaign’s funding came from outside Scotland, yet again, as Robert Burns wrote, “We’re bought and sold for English gold – Such a parcel of rogues in a nation!”
I will never forgive the BBC for acting as a propaganda mouthpiece for the British government. I urge anyone reading this not to support them by buying a TV licence, as the internet provides alternative sources of both information and entertainment.
I will find it very hard to forgive those who voted No because they were afraid that independence might cost them a few pounds, or incomers who voted No because they see Scotland as an English colony. I will not forgive anyone who voted No because they want WMD to continue to be based 25 miles from the centre of Glasgow. I do not think much of people who based their No votes on uncritical acceptance of what they read in newspapers or saw on television, or of people who were too timid to grasp an opportunity to have a better, more democratic country. I despise people who voted No because they do not like Alex Salmond, because they are fools who could not understand that the referendum was not about one politician.
I am deeply suspicious of this result. Before the referendum, I occasionally saw suggestions that the British Establishment would rig the result, and I fear that is just what has happened. There were good reasons to believe that the polls were, if anything, underestimating the Yes vote. Could the Western Isles, an SNP stronghold, really have voted No? Is the significantly lower than average turnout in Glasgow plausible? Of course, many people assume that vote rigging is something that only happens in other countries, but when one looks at how corrupt the British Establishment is, it is easy to believe that they will resort to such tactics if they feel that their interests are being threatened. It would be, in my opinion, naive to believe that they could not rig a vote if they decided to do so. I saw a report that one bookmaker started paying out on bets on a No win even before the referendum; did they have inside information?
The fight must not end here. If the dream of independence is allowed to fade, Westminster will trample all over Scotland; the Scottish Parliament will lose powers, not gain them, the Scottish budget will be cut, and the number and status of Scottish MPs reduced. It has become all too clear that there is a considerable amount of anti-Scottish feeling in England, which has been encouraged by certain newspapers. This is likely to be exploited by UKIP which has always been hostile to devolution, and the other parties will counter this by attempting to appease potential UKIP voters. Only the possibility of independence can protect Scotland, and there is only one effective way now to maintain that possibility, and that is to keep the SNP strong.
I would urge everyone in Scotland who supports independence, or even just devolution, to vote for the SNP next year, and again in 2016, even if you do not agree with all their policies, and even if you do not like Alex Salmond. You might feel more in agreement with the Greens or the SSP, but while there is much to be said in their favour, they simply do not have enough support to be effective. You might feel loyalty to the Labour party, and have supported LfI, but UK Labour is a profoundly Unionist party which has been completely assimilated into the British Establishment, and Scottish Labour do the bidding of the UK party. Labour would probably be happy to see Scotland assimilated into Greater England, unless they can regain control of the Scottish Parliament and reduce it to subservience to London. You might even like the LibDems and their talk of a federal system, but they have been talking about it for a long time and have never come close to being able to deliver it. Even as part of the UK Government they could not deliver reform of the voting system or the Lords.
We should be willing to wait another 15 or 20 years for another referendum only if the Scottish Parliament is given substantial, useable additional powers in the very near future. If, as seems likely, the Unionist parties are either unwilling or unable to deliver these powers, another referendum is much more likely to deliver a Yes vote once some of the people who voted No this time realise that they have been conned.
After the infamous 1979 referendum, when Scotland was denied the devolution it had voted for, demoralisation set in; the number of SNP MPs dropped and Thatcherism wreaked havoc on Scotland. Probably, having a few more SNP MPs would have made little difference, but what if Scotland had returned a majority of SNP MPs? This time, we have the Scottish Parliament to provide some protection, and we have the possibility next May of another hung parliament where a good number of SNP MPs might be in a position to force concessions, perhaps even another referendum. Certainly, a majority SNP Government at Holyrood and an SNP majority amongst Scottish MPs could raise the possibility of a unilateral declaration of independence as a last resort.