Thursday, 18 September 2014

A Welsh opinion on today's vote on Scottish independence.

I was born in England next to the border with Wales, have ancestry from both Scotland, England & Wales but for me personally I have lived longer in Wales,, love Wales and consider myself Welsh first & British second.

I’ve been following the debate I have seen both the English & Scottish point of view, the views portrayed by the media and the views of my friends on both sides of the border.

Unsurprisingly the Better Together campaign has seemed at the very least patronising at times often resorting to fear mongering about issues that shouldn’t even be issues. Issues that have been made out to be impossible to work around when plenty of new countries have found solutions to these problems with relatively little fuss. This wasn't helped by Westminster refusing to confirm their position on a yes vote, bringing uncertainty that isn’t needed. And now in the later stages we have bribery, more funding promised instead of giving people guaranteed policy change if there was a no vote. It also doesn’t help prove that you will follow through with your promises when in the next breath your backbenchers swear to reject it.

The thing is England still thinks along similar tones as it once did in the days of Empire & often doesn't realise how things said can come across badly & how often the Welsh & Scottish people can be treated like second class citizens.

We get our money given to us like an allowance & when we have different priorities like free prescriptions & free or subsidized education you moan. that its not fair. Its not fair that England has to pay what it does, we agree but thats why we have prioritised money for these, we don’t get any extra money for this, we just spend it differently.

Also people may feel differently if Scotland was represented better in Westminster but how can they? They did not vote for this government that has imposed some of the harshest cuts in recent times & it doesn’t represent the majority of Wales either with only eight Welsh Conservative MPs sitting in parliament.

Wales achieved full devolution in 2011. I know that there were many in Wales who as well as voting for devolution to have more control over policy, also voted for devolution for a degree of protection from Westminster. The ability to lessen the impact of the cuts just a little.

Also devolution makes sense. For example planned changes in NHS England to make up to half of NHS A&E departments specialist units wouldn’t necessarily work for Scotland & Wales with countries that have fewer hospital’s & more space in between them. With small community hospitals that are sometimes the only provision for 2hrs + in any direction, they become a jack of all trades to serve the community. Although Scotland & Wales have lost some of these hospitals it would have even made less sense for a minister in London to make the decision when he or she can get to a hospital within mere minutes.

Furthermore when Scotland's Parliament (PĂ rlamaid na h-Alb) asked for Westminster ministers that included Ian Duncan Smith, Ester Mcvey & Lord Freud to come to the Scottish Parliament to answer questions at the Scotlands Welfare Reform Committee the ministers seemed to refuse. This included Ester Mcvey agreeing to meet ministers “informally” but not appear in front of the committee in the same way that she can be summoned to Work and Pensions Select Committee at Westminister. This just screams of a lack of respect, no MP wants to be dragged in front of a committee to answer questions on what their department has done but if you want Scotland to feel that Westminster thinks about & cares about what the people think & that you treat them as equals, you should treat their committee in the exact same way as its Westminster cousin.

For me personally I don't want the United Kingdom split up but we can’t stay with the current model of the union which was made in days before & during the empire. It is modelled on a system that fundamentally doesn’t treat people equally as it comes from the days of the conqueror and the conquered. The only way to keep the union in the long term would be to change together as equals & that involves compromise which I don’t think Westminster still really wants to do. The union could continue but not in its current format, countries like the USA & Switzerland show there is more than one way to do it but things would need to change.

You can see that regardless of the outcome of today's vote that people want their own voice. Many in Cornwall want there own parliament as Scotland & Wales has & the Cornish people have only recently been officially recognised as a minority people too.. There have also been calls for Yorkshire to have their own parliament as well.

I don't want to see Scotland leave but they deserve the right to self determination. I know there are risks for them leaving but there a risks for them staying. For us I think that if Scotland leaves there is the possibility that we will see harsher times as the Government clamps down further with knee jerk decisions & ill thought out plans in response to independence. (which I hope wouldn’t be the case). I also think that the Welsh independence movement will grow (it already has with the Scottish vote) but our Assembly is younger, we need stronger industry & we still have a way to go.

For Wales & Scotland we are Celtic siblings along with Cornwall, Ireland & the Isle of Man, as well as Celts on other continents. The Celtic link will never be broken whatever happens & we have a strong identity & a strong culture of our own. But people suggesting that if Scotland votes yes for independence that they will lose their shared history with the rest of the British Isles including England is nonsensical. That history will be there for better & for worse Scotland is just deciding today on what the next chapter will be.

No comments:

Post a Comment