An apology and Scottish independence

I retweeted a tweet earlier that I thought was funny but was criticised for tweeting foul language. I actually regret retweeting that tweet now (and have removed it from my feed), not so much because of the language – I do have a bit of a foul mouth – but because I can see that some might find it offensive. So this is an apology to those who follow my Twitter feed.

I am a bit disappointed by the outcome of the Scottish referendum even though I am not all that surprised by the result. It seems strange to me that a country that predominately votes left of centre, should vote for a ruling government that is right of centre. Why? My feeling is that it is fear of change. However I’m sure there are many economic implications of independence that I do not fully understand and I haven’t really followed the pros and cons of independence all that closely. I read George Monbiot’s recent articles on the topic and he was strongly in favour of yes. Who could possibly disagree with George Monbiot? I suspect it’s also easier for me to accept the idea of independence coming, as I do, from a country that left the UK more than 100 years ago and has done just fine on its own. A country choosing to govern its own affairs doesn’t really seem like a big deal to me. But on the bright side, Australia and New Zealand won’t have to change their flags.

I dreamt the other night that I had an enormous fish tank filled with tropical fish. I had to catch every last one of them and find new homes for them before departing for Scotland. It included things like Coolie Loaches which are almost impossible to catch. It was such a relief to wake up to discover that there’s no such fish tank in our house.

In case anyone missed it, this take on Scottish independence from John Oliver is very funny and well worth watching.


  1. There’s an interesting potential positive to this. In the past the Liberal Democrats would typically split the vote on the left, and so there have been occasions when the Conservatives have won a majority which they would not have won had the Lib Dems not split the left vote. Today, the Liberal Democrats are probably very marginalised and it is much more likely that UKIP will split the vote on the right. With Scotland still in the UK, this means that there is a good chance of a Labour majority in the future and, assuming they’ve learned something from past mistakes, a Westminster government that would be more to Scotland’s liking.

      1. Yes, I think it is and I think that could be a really good thing. I’ve often wondered if that hasn’t actually been the goal. Full independence would have brought with it things that would have brought little immediate benefit to the average person (Scotland’s own military, foreign policy, ..) whereas more devolution means more control over things that actually influence people on a daily basis (education, healthcare, welfare spending, …. – some of which Scotland already has). So, a close No vote might be the best possible outcome; get more control over the things that matter to directly people without having to worry about things that might be important but don’t influence people on a daily basis and which may be better run by the UK than by Scotland alone.

  2. As far as I can tell, it was decided to a large extent by the older generation who were strongly pro-status-quo.

    I had mixed feelings about the whole thing.. as a left-leaning English person I prefer the Scots staying in the union, but from the POV of the Scottish themselves I think they’d be better of leaving. Mind you, I can’t stand the SNP.. the whining beggars belief.

    As far as the next general election goes, we have a choice between right wing (Labour), very right wing (Conservative), insane right wing (UKIP), and completely discredited (Lib Dem). I suppose that as a 41 year old white male with wife, 2 kids and a mortgage in middle England, I can hardly expect to be able to find a mainstream party that has policies anywhere near my views..

    1. Andrew,
      Yes, I agree. There’s an election here this weekend and I’m really not sure who to vote for or even if I should vote given that the outcome won’t affect me.

      The other thing about this whole independence decision is that I can view it from the perspective of an outsider who has not been living the status quo. Imagine if New Zealanders suddenly decided to be ruled by Canberra. They would never tolerate that. It almost seems a bit absurd that one country would decide it best to be governed by a neighbouring country. Is there any other example of this in the world? That’s not to say that I don’t see some benefits such as a shared currency and easy travel across the border…but Europe has these things without one country needing to be governed by another. It’s just so strange.

  3. My friend Jane is from Edinburgh and got really emotional about the whole thing.

    She was sad that the whole thing was so divisively put.  Yes or No.  What about something more collaborative in between?

    When I get home I am going to look for your tweet 🙂



    1. Yes, I gather that people got quite emotional about the whole thing and I can understand that. I’m certainly all for a very close relationship between the two countries, I just find the idea of a separate country being governed by its neighbour very odd.

    1. Yes, I do agree that unity and as Denise put it, collaboration, is a strength. I don’t see why the two countries can’t still be united, yet be governed independently. They are separate countries after all. The analogy would be if New Zealanders were to agree to be ruled by Australia and I can’t ever see New Zealanders accepting this and nor should they (especially with Tony Abbott at the helm…heaven forbid!)

      1. With the further devolution resulting from this vote, there will be increased independence of governance but with an overall unity. And, we are not quite the same as Australia and NZ, inasmuch as we are one island and have been one nation.

      2. There have been discussions between NZ and Australia of relaxing the borders between the two countries and dispensing with the need to have a passport when traveling between the two. There have also been some discussions around adopting the same currency (but I don’t think this will ever happen). But actually being governed by Canberra?? No way.

    2. THe problem is that the government is happy being predatory on the populace and being nice to the predators. A lot of Yes voters were hoping to get away from that sort of thing.

      1. Unfortunately the predators follow the money and find it easier to pick us off when we are divided. However, in the end we must respect the views of the majority people, whatever they are.

      2. However, in the end we must respect the views of the majority people, whatever they are.

        Exactly. And I must admit that a small part of me is glad that I’ll soon be able to say that I live in the United Kingdom:)

  4. A No vote was not a vote for a right of centre government (And these days all three main party’s are right of centre on economic matters and left of centre on cultural ones), that is a very silly thing to say.
    A no vote is a vote to stay engaged with the parliamentary system which at the moment is very slightly dominated by the Tories.
    Yes, fear and worry played a part in it, but also there were enough clear economic reasons not to bother a swell.

  5. Scotland is not one country ruled by another country, it is part of the same country which England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The comparison is not New Zealand and Australia being seperate countries, it is North and South islands of new Zealand becoming seperate countries.The last UK prime minister was scottish but that was not seen as Scoland ruling England.

    Scotland has not decided to be ‘ruled by another country, it has been part of the United Kingdom, by its own choice, since 1707 and shared a head of state with England and Wales since 1606 when James IV of Scotland also became James 1 of England

    An independence referendum is not about approval or otherwise of the present government which in the UK has only another year to run whereas independance woud be permanent

      1. the ‘constitution’ of the UK, such as there is one, is not terribly easy to fathom, even for its own citizens and I think it just became a whole lot more complicated…

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