Posted by: rosa alba | August 6, 2014

Do not pass go(ld).


Although I do not have a tv I managed to find a livestream of the debate. I watched it in spurts combined with shepherding a child with ADHD whose medications were wearing off and whose bedtime sat in the middle of the debate.

It was a damp squib with rockets falling short, as I think even the full exposure would have been: perhaps my son dancing round the room with a recorder and emby crisp packets as armbands was the highlight of the evening and did not effect a detour round the best of viewing pleasure.

The debate was unhelpful and ineffectual.

Mr Salmond undoubtedly  missed the boat  by not listing the available options with their pros and cons, before focusing on and singling in on the preferred – best for both worlds –  option of a currency union, (formal or informal), at first before an eventual new currency of our own, and citing other countries using the pound in a pegged format; he did hold fast to his guns on that, but it came across as petulent – but how could it have done otherwise:  what the debate mainly showed was the ineffectual format of oppositional and adversarial debate, where the game is to best your neighbour not share information or work together.

It became a head to head of two near pensioners shouting at each other.  A rammy, stairheid or otherwise, and there were insults traded. I am not interested in their insults: for me, and more so for the undecideds (for whose decision-making the debate was scheduled), it should have been an information gathering opportunity.  It was not.

It was they who lost out – the  undecideds who never had questions answered thoroughly (how could they five or six, biased or completely unfiltred questions thrown at once into the arena, but swept away before answers could be formulated far less deliverd; all that was offered to the Scottish people subject to more of the name-calling, boorish political dialectic of Westminster.

This was not Mr Salmond at his oxymoronic effervescent and measured best. This was neither passion nor lucid talking through of policy.

Of course, for the undecided the main dialect of the debate was always going to be matters fiscal – and to an extent that means same old. But, there is information out there for people who wish to look, and we should all be self-motivated enough to inform ourselves. To many of the middle missing million have become drowsy on the opiates of not so much nanny state, but subjects of Empire, where the Empire was the individualist accruement of wealth of post-Thatcherism, that even the high heidyins of the Labour Party  – the political elite – have adopted as a mantra fitting them as well as the ermine capes on which they have a wee eye cast.   Disempowered for so very long, we have internalised the message of “too wee, too poor, too genetically programmed for backwater” where the highlight of empowerment and egnagement is the Community Council and the polemics of the tombola at the Highland Games.

The great-grandchildren of the Enlightenment,  in the course of 300 years “partnership” have reverted feudal parishoners.

We can be more that that: I am so loathe to reference a quote that seems to relate to the US Army, but we Scots need to “be all we can be”. And all we can be, is so much: from  Hume to Burns to Watt to the Stevensons to Logie Baird and Fleming, to name but half a dozen from a list of scores. This is what we can be: the invenstive people who as factors and regents,  actually ran the Empire for their masters, and we  can surely go one step further and marry administrative and fiscal ability with egalitarian enlightenment and run their own country in a humane way.

For me, however, my rationale in choosing yes is CHANGE – a different way of doing things, driven by the concept of real representation of the people by real people, not Private Schoolboys or Oxbridge graduates, whichever party they belong to: the boy from Fettes is proof that politics is about priviledge and position, not power for the people; it is proven by his success in making millions rather than mediating Middle Eastern peace.  

Rather than watching documentaries about the Great War, we could all do with watching re-runs of Citizen Smith (or perhaps read our Scottish Citizen Smart – google him, and watch his Youtu.bes).
Now IS the hour for all good men to come to the aidof their countrymen.  We the people have the right to vote (brought not vainly but with blood) for real representation, but with that right comes the responsibility for self-informing of the choices, more so than ever in this age of Internet and mulitfarious media.

The debate served to underline the tokenistic of existing political engagement (as did the lack of MP turnout at several recent votes fundamental to the wellbeing of the most dispossessed, or to civil rights of all citizens).

We need to move to a colloquium where each person is given time to speak, uninterrupted and without jeers and boors (we are neither in a pub in Torry, nor in a Gentleman’s Club in London) and where engaging media – videos, powerpoint, whatever – are used to reinforce or exemplify a point.  This is the current standard expectation. 
In public meetings we need to move to a scenario where questions are chosen that have variation of theme and topic, and where these questions are answered, coherently – as part of that engagement, the questioner needs to participate in active listening – two-way, three-way or more-way process – not posing questions for the sake of shoutdown or showdown.  The questions asked last night, in the Salmond-Darling Debate, were either unfiltred, which is unhelpful in theforum of a televised debate (currency got boring for even the most politically engaged), or chosen with a purpose of .. well I am not sure what practical outcome having all the questions on currency was designed to achieve other than hyperaim on what many consider to be the weak underbelly of independence.

I believe politics  in the Scottish Parliament have moved from the adversarial to some degree – this is one of the benefits of Proportional Representation, but also due to  the physical layout of a semi-circle.
We need more of this – solution – focused working together: collloquium of Representatives of the People: not Members of Parliament which holds us in the metaphor of a Gentlreman’s Club with cushy Chesterfield chairs, and the purpose of whiling away an afternoon, not managing the resources of a country for the benefits of all those who live there, however temporarily.

This – the chance for change, the chance for community and communities to identify and resolve issues,  the chance for people to speak and be answered, the chance for needs to be heard and addressed, the chance for all of us to serve and be served, is the motivation; the chance as a Chistian, to live our obligation to be responsible, respectful stewards of God’s very plentiful  resources for the whole community, to shepherd ourselves and be gentle – Samaritan – shepherds of those who cannot yet shepherd themselves: this is why, as a Catholic, especially striving to live by the Gospel, I feel the only moral  option is to chose to vote Yes.

I was never so proud of my Scotland as when I heard the stance the Scottish Government took on offering immediate aid, specialist NHS Scotland Medical resources, and places of asylum to the people of Gaza. Not about blame but about reponsibility to one’s fellow man.  

Voting Yes is not a matter of self-gain or self-interest: it is emphatically not that, it is conscience and moral responsibility.

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