Due to a technicality, I will not get to vote in the referendum on Scottish Independence. OK, not being Scottish and not living in Scotland means it is, on balance, probably right that I don't get a say. I am well used to that- not getting a say; I currently reside in England, in the constituency of Witney, where the current local MP- of whom you may be aware, has a majority of something approaching a million ( I may have exaggerated there, but it is quite a few). Therefore, people like me who regularly troop down to a polling station, are handed a ballot paper by a middle- aged man in beige crimplene trousers, to cast our vote, are wasting our time, because the result is a foregone conclusion.
In the interest of balance of course, this is also true in constituencies with a huge Labour majority."Yawn, its another whine on about electoral reform", I can almost hear you say. With our existing system, every General Election results in someone, for whom the vast majority of the electorate has not voted, standing up and claiming that they have a mandate from the British people. Last time, that "mandate" was 24% of the total electorate, or 36% of those who, like me, actually bothered to vote. So, as we continue to expound the wonderful virtues of democracy around the world, despising dictators and corrupt regimes as we do, we all seem content to allow someone who was not supported by three quarters of the eligible population to lead us.
No, none of that scrupulous, every vote counts nonsense for us. We are just about, it seems, getting over our eternal gratitude for being allowed to express an opinion at all by our Lords and Masters, to quibble about small things like democracy.
What does this have to do with Scotland? Well, in 2010, a resounding majority of Scottish voters, 90%, did not support a Conservative government- even more than the supine and downtrodden English. The big difference is that, on 18th September, they get a chance to right these ridiculous and undemocratic wrongs. You would think it is a bit of a no-brainer wouldn't you? The chance to tell a Government that only 10% of you want, what they can do with their social inequality, their single-minded kow-towing to corporate greed and unregulated markets, and to get the chance to govern yourselves? You would think so, but the signs are that most (and, on this occasion only, it will be a truly democratic decision), it looks like Scotland will vote to keep the Status Quo. We all know where Status Quo takes us don't we....Down, Down, deeper 'n' down.....endlessly and with mind-numbing repetition.
Apparently, this has less to do with wanting to continue to share the love with Dave and his Eton Trifles, but because research has shown that Scots might be £500 a year worse off under independence. That's 500 Scottish Pounds to you Alex. Now, 500 quid is not to be sneezed at- wealthy Investment Banker types are regularly doing that very thing after snorting a Monkey's worth (so I am told of course). It can make the difference between Micawber-esque happiness or misery for many; but surely it is a price worth paying to have your own say, to make your own mistakes- to actually have the opportunity for your vote to count? I know that I am contrary enough, and perennially pissed off enough with the mustn't grumble-ness of the English electorate to advocate a radical decision. Yes, you smug 24% who actually voted for this mean-spirited, greed-driven axis of privilege we are saddled with- and are increasingly likely to be so again in 2015.
I have always thought the Scots to be more radical, and certainly more non- conformist than their English counterparts. They also know money; Scotland is the true financial centre of the UK; a place where, historically, insurance companies grew organically by helping ordinary people plan their futures- all a direct contrast to the self- serving and increasingly irrelevant to the rest of us, money island that the City of London has become. Time then, to show that radical side, rather than the financial probity for which you became known.
We would miss Scotland, the poor and underprivileged of England would miss them particularly, for the nightmare vision of a reduced UK would be perma-Tory rule, at least until we reach a point where the have nots outnumber the selfishly must keeps. It would also dramatically increase the chances of a vote to leave the EU in 2017. Imperfect though the EU is, it remains the best buffer to the removal of basic human rights and fairness for many. The Scots, as I understand, would prefer to stay in the EU, so why risk that too?
Parting therefore, would indeed be sweet sorrow for us south of the border; but please grab this chance to rid yourselves of a shameful and spiteful system. Surely, that has to be worth 500 Scottish currency units?