It’s a question I was asked earlier today; for the record I’m not. It’s a bit more complicated than that. What I am is passionately pro-independence. I’m a Scot living in Scotland who believes Scots should run their own affairs.
It’s a fact that doesn’t make me any more ‘anti-British’ than I am ‘anti-European’. I simply see the British state for what it is, an anachronistic irrelevance. I should probably expand on that a bit …
I tend to view things this way. There are four real levels of government in Scotland.
At least one of these is ‘extra’ in my view, you can guess which one if you like!
At a national level the Scottish Government is responsible for almost every aspect of Scotland’s public services, and can even control some areas that are supposedly reserved, e.g. power generation. When Westminster wished to build nuclear power stations in Scotland Holyrood was able to block the move as it controls planning in Scotland and consent would not be granted.
In most instances the Scottish Government does a very effective job whether under the SNP now or indeed under the Labour-Liberal coalition that went before. I wouldn’t say I agree with all the actions of any of the parties who have controlled power at Holyrood but it would be churlish of me not to accept that the steps they took and policies they have pursued have certainly appeared to reflect the broader attitudes and concerns of the electorate at large.
They have achieved that in ways that Westminster simply never has, certainly not in my lifetime. Furthermore they have implemented policies that have tangibly improved the lives of many Scots. Westminster meanwhile has presided over and continues to preside over a toxic mix of aggressive foreign policy, regressive taxation, and a welfare policy that is widely regarded as not only immoral but has been found legally questionable and ill-founded. The whole establishment has also shown itself to be by-and-large corrupt, not least of all in the wake of the expenses scandal, but in every other scandal that rears it’s head.
Whilst it’s approach may well represent the policy preferences of the broader British electorate (I have my doubts), it singularly fails to represent the core values of a majority of Scots. That Scotland only has a single Conservative MP speaks volumes in that matter, and whilst there are those who will argue, quite rightly, that it is a Conservative – Liberal coalition it is beyond plausible deniability that in policy and agenda the UK Government is de facto Conservative. Never in the history of British politics has a political party so hastily and blatantly abandoned their pre-election pledges and manifesto as did the Liberal Democrats as they grasped for a mere snifter of power.
Alas though, I digress!
At a supra-national level there are various international bodies which govern how nations function and operate. Within this group we have the EU, which whilst being far from perfect, fulfils a role in ensuring European cohesiveness and is far more effective is supporting international relations than the UK has been.
Of course, there is a large segment of the population across the British Isles that are sceptical about the EU generally and may even be inclined to rant about a whole range of things ranging from the cost of being part of it (whilst neatly ignoring the benefits it offers in terms of trade) to all the ‘unnecessary’ directives it passes which are ‘imposed’ upon us. Evil things like, the Working Time Directive, the Equality Directive, the Safety and Health at Work Directive, the Human Rights Directive … they’re so terrible in fact that the current Westminster Government would like to see the UK come out of them.
My core point however is simply that if the EU is driving as much of the new legislation coming through as the euro-sceptics would have us believe and Holyrood is doing a fine job in broadly representing the views of it’s electorate then what of Westminster, what of the British state?
It’s not that I’m anti-British, I just don’t see the point of it. And if it does have a point, then there is a democratic deficit that renders it ridiculously biased towards the SE England that requires addressing, which again leads us back to a drive for independence.