Carol Craig – On Selfishness and the Scottish Independence Referendum

A few days ago a woman I know told me that she was no longer going to accompany me to a meeting. The clear implication of her email was that she had made this decision because I had come out as a No voter. Indeed at one point she wrote about her annoyance at my ‘stance on the campaign for a better, fairer Scotland’. What I find astonishing is that this person knows that for over ten years I’ve written or commissioned books, organised events, and given talks, all with the aim of bringing about a better Scotland. But clearly none of this matters, now I’ve voted No.

What is more evident by the day is that many Yes voters (not all of them) firmly believe that No voters are morally inferior. When I’ve made my voting intention clear to some Yes voters I’ve watched them curl their lip and move back slightly, presumably to avoid contamination. I’ve heard, from someone who works there, that there’s a nursery in the west end of Glasgow where a mother is threatening to withdraw her child, and encourage others to do likewise, simply because the head voted No.

Many Yes campaigners seem to believe that No voters are morally questionable because they are SELFISH. By not supporting Yes they have let their fellow Scots down and condemned the poor to a life of misery. In short, they have put their pensions, personal comfort, wealth, and security first.

However, the great irony in this view is that it’s completely blind to the core reality of the official Yes campaign – its appeal to selfishness.

I concentrate here on how the Yes campaign encouraged voters to think about their own self-interest. I could, however, write another complete article on how their whole approach was to concentrate on Scotland’s people, Scotland’s needs, and Scotland’s wealth, in the process urging us not to give a damn about anybody else, including expatriate Scots, outside our borders. I’ve shuddered every time I heard folk talking about how indebted the UK is, how much better off we would be if we left the Union, and how we should just leave them all to pick up the pieces.

Why vote Yes?

The most obvious reason for people to support independence is because they have an a priori belief that Scotland should be a sovereign, independent country. People of this persuasion are more likely to believe that, since 1707, Scots have been a colonized and oppressed people. For them independence is a ‘liberation struggle’. It’s a struggle worth pursuing even if many Scots, themselves included, would be worse off.

I don’t agree with these sentiments but I can respect their integrity. The problem for the SNP is that there are not enough people of this view in Scotland to win any referendum. Estimates vary. But few believe that more than a third of Scots uphold this nationalist perspective. Apparently Claire Howell, the Yes campaign’s positivity guru, even advised the leadership to avoid talking about ‘independence’ as it wasn’t playing well in focus groups.

So to win a referendum the SNP had to come up with other reasons to persuade enough people to vote Yes. The one they pursued with greatest fervor throughout the campaign was the idea that voters would be better off. In short, they appealed largely to voters’ individual, material self-interest. From time to time Alex Salmond tried to encourage a sense of grievance against England – it’s our pound too, they are bluffing on the currency union and we’ll not pay our share of the debt – but there was hardly any appeal to Scots to vote Yes to protect Scottish identity or culture or even out of love for the country. Essentially the official Yes campaign was not about heart, but pocket.

Indeed in Spring 2014 it became evident that money was the tail wagging the independence dog. Huge posters proclaimed the country’s wealth and prosperous future. Every Yes leaflet read like a list of prizes redeemable in the event of a Yes vote. ‘Indy bonuses’ of varying sizes. Free childcare. Cheaper holidays. Lower energy bills. Higher pensions. All on top of better public services and greener policies.

When we now look at what was on offer, it is hard to avoid using that annoying but fashionable phrase – ‘what’s not to like?’ Indeed couched in these terms it is amazing that only 45% of those voting actually supported independence.

Another plank in the SNP’s campaign to secure Yes votes was the idea of ‘continuation’: basically if we voted for independence nothing would change too much as we would keep the Queen. The pound. Access to BBC programmes. And anything else Scots seemed to value about the existing Union.

In the Spring of 2014, however, when the campaign to persuade Scots that they would be better off was at its height, Yes essentially stalled in the polls. The pitch wasn’t working. The Yes campaign then pushed two things to the fore, The supposed risks the status quo posed to the NHS. And social justice. All of a sudden the Yes campaign seemed to be about the bedroom tax, cuts to disability benefit and food banks. Prominent nationalists who had shown little interest in inequality now started to make this their burning issue. For example, Sean Connery told the press that his number one reason for voting Yes was for ‘social justice’. Aye right. Where were the policies to achieve that? What track record did the SNP have in redistributing to the poor as opposed to the middle classes? In the closing months of the campaign, it became all too evident that social justice, at least for the official Yes campaign, was little more than an election strategy. However, this was not true for many Yes campaigners who, in the closing weeks of the campaign, managed to convince some voters that independence was an opportunity for a fairer Scotland.* This, coupled with a Tory Westminster regime which had become increasingly nasty, certainly led some people to vote Yes.

Nonetheless the official Yes campaign’s message, as communicated in posters, leaflets and in the media, was not an appeal to voters’ Scottishness, high ideals or a radically different future but essentially an attempt to get them to vote Yes as they would be personally better off. We know from post-referendum surveys that those who were most likely to vote Yes were those living in deprived areas and folk who were unemployed. In short, people who had very little to lose and every reason to believe their future might be better were likely to vote yes for understandable reasons. Many nationalists didn’t like the way the Yes campaign played down self-determination and overemphasized money but nonetheless they were still likely to vote for independence. But over half the electorate simply did not buy the Yes campaign’s message.

The academic who can help us see why is Professor Daniel Kahneman – a psychologist who won the Nobel prize for economics in part for his research on ‘loss aversion’. Kahneman’s work shows that people are much more motivated, and affected, by losses than gains. So losing £100 has much more emotional impact on a person than winning the same amount. This helps explains what is often termed ‘the endowment effect’ whereby people put a higher value on what they currently own than don’t own. All this means that people aren’t likely to risk what they currently have for some uncertain gain in the future. Studies show that women are significantly more loss averse than men which may account for the fact that the Yougov poll after the referendum reports that 51% of men but only 42% of women voted Yes.

Lord Ashcroft’s post-referendum poll suggested that 62% of No voters were always going to vote that way and that 72% made up their mind at least a year before. Attachment to the Union would have been an issue for some but it is much more likely that their firm stance was due to ‘loss aversion’ – why risk losing what they had for uncertain gains? If you think this a horrible economic calculation then please remember that this was the whole tenor of the official Yes campaign to which most people were exposed.

Selfishness

It is estimated that around 56% of ABC1s – the professional and middle classes –voted No. Did they do so essentially out of selfishness? Of course, that’s what many on the Yes side believe and it certainly goes with the grain of ‘holier than thou’ Scotland.

Inevitably it is much more complicated than that. We were all urged to vote to be better off – to think primarily of our own self-interest – but quite simply the majority of ABC1s did not believe it: the problem wasn’t simply loss aversion but the credibility of the Yes campaign. The Yes proposition was that if we supported independence we’ll all be more prosperous. There would be no difficult transition. No period of economic instability. People wouldn’t lose their jobs. Prices wouldn’t rise. Set up costs would be minimal. And others, particularly the EU, member states and Westminster, would just agree to what Scotland wanted. Of all the groups, ABC1s were the most likely to be sceptical of this prospectus: their occupational roles and professional training mean that they are even more likely than your average person to have a particular respect for legality, processes, principles, facts and objective reality. The SNP’s independence case didn’t stand scrutiny as the idea of a painless, seamless transition to a better tomorrow evaporated as soon as anyone started to ask searching questions.

Indeed on the eve of the referendum 55 of the UK’s lead academic economists wrote to the Financial Times, independently of the No campaign, to say that independence was ‘ a gamble with very poor odds’. Given the volatility of oil, the difficulties with currency, and Scotland’s aging population they argued that if Scots voted for independence the ‘downside risks for current and future generations are huge.’

Given this assessment why then did 40 per cent plus of the ABC1 group actually vote Yes? A sizeable number of them would have been nationalists, predisposed to vote Yes irrespective of any risks. Many of the others may well have thought that it was in their economic interest to vote for independence. In the words of the proverb, ‘It’s an ill wind that blows nobody any good.’ Even if Scotland had gone through a painful restructuring process with job losses, volatile tax receipts and large cuts to the public sector some professional Scots would have benefited from independence. For example. there would have been wonderful opportunities for civil servants and would-be civil servants as some jobs were relocated from London to Scotland. A favoured few would have been given postings as ambassadors to exotic places. Consultants, lawyers, negotiators, and those in commercial property were likely to see opportunities for their services. There may have been an exciting role for some broadcasters and journalists with the new arrangements for Scottish broadcasting. Those in tourism may have seen increased visitor numbers to Scotland and would have benefited. Entrepreneurs may have managed to cash in as Scotland broke from the past and moved towards a different future. At the risk of being cynical it was always evident that there was a group of businessmen and right wing policy types who saw an independent Scotland as a wonderful opportunity to make money.

In short, there would have been a tartan gravy train steaming behind an independence vote. But nonetheless there were bound to be losers – most notably some of those working in the 962,000 jobs identified by Professor Brian Ashcroft as being dependent on the Union as some of them may have lost their jobs, and there could have been job considerable casualties from the additional public sector cuts.

And what of the cultural figures who played such an important part in the campaign? Many of them thought they would benefit from independence – not necessarily financially but because the prevailing atmosphere would be better for their work. They loved the buzz and excitement in the run up to the referendum. Indeed some were tweeting after the vote about how much they missed the attention that Scotland had attracted round the globe.

The pose struck by many cultural figures while not outright selfishness often appeared to me as self-indulgent. They may thrive in conditions of uncertainty but this isn’t how most ordinary folk would wish to live their lives. Indeed I felt squeamish at the sight of extremely wealthy Scottish actors and writers, who don’t live here anymore and who are filled by the romantic longings of migrants, urging ordinary Scots to embrace the vision and leap off a cliff to a decidedly uncertain future. If it went wrong these wealthy ex-pat Scots had nothing to lose.

I felt the same about folk like Tariq Ali, Billy Bragg, George Monbiot and Natalie Bennett who were happily cheering Scots on to take a giant leap which would give them, as thinkers, endless opportunities for interest and analysis but wouldn’t risk the future for their sons, daughters, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, neighbours, or fellow citizens.

But it was older people – the 65+ age group who have been particularly lambasted for selfishness. These are people who were born in the 1940s or earlier. They are the Scots in our midst who are more likely to have memories of the war, the setting up of the Welfare State, and a strong emotional attachment to the Union. This may well have predisposed many of them not to vote with their pocket but their hearts as it didn’t simply boil down to whether they were going to be more prosperous. Nowadays many pensioners are quite well off – better off than many in work. They are at that period in life when they are less interested in acquiring than in giving away. Many of the older voters I know were not so much worried about what a Yes vote meant for them, as for what it might mean for their children and grandchildren. It stands to reason that these are the people with considerable life experience. Many found it particularly hard to accept the rosy picture of independence painted by the Yes campaign.

For me one of the great ironies of the official Yes campaign is that it turned the referendum into a vote essentially about money and self-interest. Yet for all the emphasis on money during the campaign many on the Yes side had a cavalier disdain for ordinary folk’s economic well-being: they simply didn’t take seriously enough the currency issue or how independence could affect jobs, the economy or public services.

Undoubtedly the failure of the Yes campaign to provide a convincing economic case for independence encouraged considerable numbers of people to vote No. Where one person sees selfishness in a No vote another can just as easily see prudence and a concern for the nation’s well-being. Where one person sees a Yes vote as a sign of confidence and a belief in the future, another can see it as self-interest or self-indulgence or a casual disregard for the welfare of others.

I don’t, however, commend this line of argument. Calling folk ‘selfish’ is pejorative and little good can come of it. For Scotland’s sake we should all stop judging each other morally on the basis of how we voted. Surely it is best if we accept that voters on both sides had their own reasons. What matters now is that we look for ways we can all work together to create a better and fairer Scotland.

Before the referendum Carol Craig set out her reasons for voting No in Scottish Review.

*Note

This is the conclusion Professor Ailsa Henderson has reached as a result of her research. But the million dollar question still remains – how would the SNP, realistically the party likely to lead an independent Scotland, create a socially just Scotland? Not only had they ruled out most of the tools that might have made a difference to inequality – higher tax bands and restrictions on bonus payments, for example – and failed to support a living wage for public sector workers, they had committed to lowering corporation tax. What’s more, the SNP’s main approach to a fairer Scotland is to increase growth. But you just have to look at New Labour’s administrations in the UK and the American experience to see that economic growth does not help reduce inequality as it is the rich who benefit disproportionately.

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81 comments

  1. None of this tells me why you believe it was somehow impossible for Scotland to have become another Norway, another Denmark or indeed another New Zealand.

    Fact of the matter is that most NO voters had little knowledge or experience of smaller but much successful countries than the UK and simply assumed it wouldn’t have been possible for Scotland to have survived economically let alone thrived.

    Selfishness may have had something to do with it but ignorance and fear were mainly to blame.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I’m an Irish Scot who grew up in another small country. I voted No because I dislike nationalism – even ‘civic nationalism’ breeds division and distrust of ‘the other’ which I think is an influential factor on the continuing hurt and anger between both sides of the campaign – but I was also not convinced Scotland would be any better (culturally, socially, ethically or economically) as an independent country.

      Comparisons with other nations tend to be misleading but New Zealand is enjoying an economic boom – fuelled by its financial sector not agriculture – which economists say is about to burst.

      Denmark has an enviable quality of life and the highest tax rate in the world – 61.03% income tax, 25% VAT – but OECD says it needs to stimulate the economy to maintain that way of life.

      Norway, another famously high tax country (hands up those of us who have fainted after buying a beer in Oslo!), is facing changes under a new government. According to the Wall Street Journal on 8 October: ” Norway’s right-wing minority government on Wednesday proposed cutting taxes and spending more “oil cash” from the country’s sovereign-wealth fund to counter a slowdown in economic growth.”

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Well Paddy at least they have an oil fund to dip into all we have is the bankers debt to never ever pay off .I didn’t vote yes to be better off I voted so that the people in Scotland all of us could vote and have the government we wanted .

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    2. Actually Dick as a No voter I can assure you I have plenty of knowledge of smaller countries I.e. Norway as that is where my husband worked for several years £27 for 3 stops on the train £10 for a pint and £27,000 for a vauxhall corsa how bearing I mind I have not had a pay rise for the last 4 years and have just been offered a 1 percent rise how are people saying it’s all relevant when we would get the high cost of living withouth the living wage. As for the oil it is at present going down my husband has saw it go down as low as 9dollars a barrel a time when he could not get work as no one is drilling when it gets low a time when I could barely afford to live as I could lose my home so I was not taking any chances puting all my eggs on in the oil basket. Ignorance and fear yes that was me fear of the ignorance and rubbish Yes voters came out with to quote one student I spoke to when I asked her why she was voting yes just out of interest her reply was “there’s gonna be a big party in George square awe fireworks and everythin it will be great” oh yeah I am def voting yes now (not) I could not find a decent answer from any yes voters about what would happen to my pension my job my mortgage interest rate the pound. The yes voters need to move on and accept what it is

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      1. I understand your concerns regarding oil it is a commodity which is open to fluctuation. However oil us only a part of Scotlands economy and I would argue that we have continued growth in various sectors which would have benefited under independence. After all we are a net exporter of goods.

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    3. Most No voters I know were, like myself, small business owners. As wealth creators, most of us have travelled widely and are in the whole, intelligent and resourceful and very streetwise.
      It’s incredible that you claim it as “Fact” that most of us had little knowledge or experience of more successful countries than the UK. We have a lot more nous than the average wooly minded socialist and simply found it impossible to vote YES given the complete lack of due dilligence carried out by the SNP, and the unwillingness to address any questions levelled at them.
      The YES campaigners were led along like fools, (most of them were), by a parcel of rogues.

      Ignorance by the YES voters and good sense by the NO voters saved the day.
      It had nothing to do with fear.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. Tommy. As a “wealth creator” are your customers educated & kept healthy by other small businesses? Is your property protected and the rule of law provided by other small businesses? Or perhaps the state has a small role in providing the infrastructure which makes your business possible? Grow up man, we are all dependant on each other.

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    4. That’s totally false and condescending! How dare you insult the intelligence and capabilities of the 55.7% of people who voted no. We weren’t afraid. We weren’t tricked by Westminster. We weren’t persuaded by the media. We ( I can’t speak for all but those I know) voted no because Alex salmonds dream had little substance and because, as pointed out in this article, the actions of the snp so far have done nothing to help the poorest or most vulnerable in Scotland. Furthermore they had no plans in the white paper to successfully address these issues. They failed to sell the dream. In the run up to the referendum I studied Norway and many of these other nations you mention. I found Norway has food banks. It has poverty. It has an extremely high cost of living. It is not utopia. Sometimes the biggest hindrance to happiness is lack of contentment with what we have. I think we’re particularly guilty of this in the uk. Some of the happiest nations in the world are the ones we’d consider poverty stricken. Whatever the reasons the snp promise was to respect the sovereign will of the people. I guess they only meant if they got what they wanted!

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      1. FFS! How many times do you folk need to be told. You were not asked if you liked or trusted Salmond! You were asked if you had the guts and wisdom to run your own affairs. We have the second lowest wage economy in Europe, we have the lowest pensions in Europe, we have the 2nd poorest industrial relations (Lithuania is bottom), we have the most expensive public transport. Our country’s wealth (UK wide) is being stolen wholesale from under our noses and you can’t see it. You are blind. You say that “the happiest nations in the world are “poverty stricken” You have just stated that you value cash over happiness. Yes, you are unintelligent.

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      2. Firstly it is worth stating that the Uk is the most unequal country in the western world, this is the United Nations view. I would argue that the SNP have done far more to create an inclusive society than the UK government, free school meals, free prescriptions, Free higher education, An increase in child care, the lowest waiting times at hospitals in the UK….etc. I think it is naive to state that “some of the happiest nations in the world are the ones we would consider poverty stricken” where is your evidence for this? I would also go on to say that the YES movement crossed all levels of society and my personal reason for voting yes was to make our politicians answerable to the electorate, which I feel has been lost on our two party state (UK). No one was under any elution that we would have been living in a utopian dream land however when 1% of the population have 50% of the wealth there is something far wrong with society. I would like to have seen a political system evolve that serves the electorate and not the corporate 1%.

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    5. How about because most NO voters simply did not want independence. Is that really so hard to fathom? Consider that the majority of Scotland has voted to show that they are content being British, content remaining with their fellow countryment rather than pulling away. Of course Scotland could survive independently. So could an independent Cornwall, an independent Yorkshire, an independent Orkney and Shetland. But why? What is the point? Indeed, the majority thought the same things: why bother?

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      1. The point is that many of our “fellow countrymen” are being deprived of the chance of a decent, prosperous life. The point is that most of my fellow Scots live in places that are a shi*hole. The point is that things are deliberately kept that way by rulers who hoard power and wealth. The point is we could change that if we had independence. It is your “Britishness” that is a self-deluding dream. Take a walk along Saracen Street in Glasgow’s Possilpark, late on a Saturday night and then ask yourself “why bother”?

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    6. Scotland’s economy isn’t anything like Norway or Denmark. The only country that Scotland is somewhat similar to in terms of their economy is New Zealand however, New Zealand’s economy is roughly more capitalistic than anything the SNP would ever dream up of.

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    7. Typically blinkered of the Yes side to assume that those voting No haven’t thought about the possibilities that Scotland could be another Norway or Denmark. Do you really think that all those well-educated, well-travelled & well-informed No voters don’t know about New Zealand ? They looked at the facts and determined that Scotland would be better off within the union. If you want specific details then there is the issue of Scotland’s aging population (a demographic fact that isn’t going to markedly change in the next 30 years) and the twin pillars of Scotland’s economy, oil & financial services, that would be necessary to provide the jobs & taxes. Financial services would largely leave Scotland and have you seen the oil price recently ?

      And no one simply assumed Scotland wouldn’t have been able to survive economically. Of course it could survive economicaly. Many however, looking at the facts, decided that Scotland would be worse off than it is currently.

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    8. Greece, Italy, Spain, Ireland. Small countries without their own currencies who are going through economic hell perusing the insane policies of the SNP. Funny how these examples just across the sea from us were completely ignored by Yes voters. Might I suggest you read an economics text-book especially the chapters about monetary policy because accusing other people of lacking knowledge. My challenge to you Mr Winchester is to give me one fact that proved that Deutsche Bank’s analysis was wrong. I have asked several voters to provide just one fact and none can. Incidentally based on my UNIVERSITY level education in economics I came to the same conclusions long before Deutsche Bank. And I have to say I disagree with the “nasty Tories” jibe in this article: 6% unemployment does more for “social justice” than bankrupting a country. Are they achieving social justice in Greece, Spain and Italy with their 20% unemployment and their 50% youth unemployment?

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      1. Just a small point Spain population 46.6 million, Italy population 60.6 million, population of Greece 10.8 million and Ireland population 4.58. I am not sure why you describe the first two countries as small? I also think it’s worth mentioning that Ireland

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    9. One of the things that distinguished Scottish nationalism from the usual definition of that state is that for many the arguments were nothing to do with national identity but an opportunity to regain the right to build a nation on a commitment to shared social values only possible through total control of the levers of government.

      The biggest issue she appears to have is that people were asked to vote for selfish reasons but is unwilling to accept that this was an argument coming from both sides of the debate and so she gets herself into a pissing contest over how wealthy people in Scotland might be if

      a) they lived in an independent Scotland
      b) lived in the UK

      The Unionists main argument was that Scotland and the Scots could not afford to become independent – didn’t the banks and a whole series of large companies go out of their way to threaten Scots they would lose their jobs, pay higher prices etc ?

      She complains that Alex Salmond, to be expected for wasn’t the whole referendum about him? So she moans about him not going for a vote based on peoples’ love of Scotland. Had he done so she would be carping that No voters love their country too.

      She criticises the Yes campaign for suggesting people would be better off, hence the higher vote among Scotland’s poor while questioning the reason behind the trend of the wealthy to vote No. Was that out of selfish reasons?

      You might conclude it was for Craig tells us the ABC1s did not believe they would be better off so they voted No. Let’s get this straight – the poor did believe they would be better off and voted Yes. And the wealthy believed they would be better off staying in the Union but they weren’t being selfish. But lest we imagine Craig’s opinions are all over the place she notes that some wealthy did vote for selfish reasons but obviously they were all rightwing types. So there we have it.

      She is nothing if not myopic. Criticising in one breath actors and writers who tried to persuade Scots to vote yes but not a murmur about the ‘200’ and assorted celebs who urged Scots to remain in the Union.

      It would be helpful if she could retain her argument in her head between the first and last sentences instead of linking a series of illogical and cheap barbs that amount to nothing of consequence.

      She concludes by urging us not to judge people on how they voted – which is what she spent her time doing in this jumble of bile.

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  2. So ABC1’s are much more likely to have ‘respect for legality, facts and objective reality.’
    Everyone else just stupid mad criminals then?

    This is pretty disgusting stuff from Ms Craig. She would do well to educate herself on how privilege operates in society and recognise her own.

    Perhaps then she would hesitate to be so dismissive and insulting to those non ABC1’s, many of whom obviously, will be considerably more talented and intelligent than herself.

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  3. I have dreaded writing this reply because as someone who has two of Carol’s books I was extremely sympathetic to her account of how our country and its people have been damaged by the forces of economics and history, and yet on this matter I believe she has not only spectacularly mis-judged the opportunity for national advancement that was on offer, but she has besmirched a movement, which had at its heart social justice, not selfishness, as she posits.

    Like every independence movement that has gone before it, and there have been over 100 since 1945, the over-riding question on offer is this. Do citizens of a nation prefer to govern themselves or would they prefer to be governed by another country? Contrary to what Carol would like us to believe, independence as a route to self-enrichment, was never dangled in front of the populace as some kind of “get rich quick scheme”. Yes, of course, people wanted to know if they were likely to be better or worse off, than being ruled from Westminster, and I am sure the Czechs and Slovaks, Estonians, Lithuanians and all the rest of those middle-European nations who became independent in recent time had to inform their citizenry on the economic viability of becoming self-governing, but it wasn’t the main issue.

    So when Carol says that the ” core reality of the official Yes campaign – its appeal to selfishness.” or “Essentially the official Yes campaign was not about heart, but pocket” .I just think what campaign have you just witnessed? It wasn’t the one I saw as I chapped doors. No-one was ever told by me or anyone I was out with to tell people that the good time were on their way post-referendum. Yes, I told many a person not to believe the doom and gloom from those who would wish us to believe that financial doom was awaiting us on the other side of a Yes vote, but I believe that to be the case. Sorry Carol, but if you are basing your argument for a No vote on the basis that the other side were trying to bribe the electorate with lucre then you are dreaming.

    In my opinion, and this isn’t a leap of political imagination, just a recognition that Noam Chomsky and George Orwell have told us how this goes in class-riven societies, a large part of the population were cowed by the arguments that there is not alternative to the status quo of neo-liberal British mantras. Scotland will be punished by the markets, the man in the big hoose will take his favours elsewhere, your mortgage will sky-rocket, Asda will bump-up your bills for the hell of it and lets be frank, we are all not really cut-out to make a go of things. We’ll just get it wrong!

    Readers of Carol’s will know that the fear of “getting it wrong, and being “found out” are huge impediments to risk-taking and self-expression that many Scots feel based on the hand that history and economic forces have dealt them. It is ironic, but more importantly, deeply saddening that she has based a lot of her justification for supporting the No campaign on the proviso that the market-makers, spivs and masters of the universe of the City are going to punish Scotland for wanting to build a nation state that espouses social justice at its core.

    And on those ” 55 of the UK’s lead academic economists wrote to the Financial Times independently of the No campaign, to say that independence was ‘ a gamble with very poor odds’. Which of those geniuses predicted 2008’s cataclysm? None of them and their benevolent wishes for a nation wishing to remove itself from the City of London’s vice-like grip, are conspicuous by their absence.

    I will still recommend Carol’s books for those who would like to know why many of the their Scottish grandparents, parents, friends and relatives, feel unable to express themselves as fully autonomous individuals and why society abuses or ignores them for this lack of confidence. However her denigration of the Yes campaign as one based on selfishness and bribes, suggests to me that she has given-up on any possibilities for social advancement for Scotland’s working classes that does not involve kow-towing to financial capitalism’s big sticks.

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    1. A fair number of economists were ringing alarm bells way before 2008. Including people at the IMF and some of the people on that list. Gordon Brown dismissed them all. He had put an end to “Bomb and Bust” which is sadly impossible as “Boom and Bust” are driven by psychology as much as economics and human psychology hasn’t changed. So of us heeded and moved our money out of the markets in good time. Others believed Gordon and Tony’s ego.

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    2. You are aware that the “City of Edinburgh” is a far larger part of the Scottish economy than the “City of London” is of the UK as a whole.

      Financial services are Scotland’s largest employer, largest tax payer and largest source of export earnings.

      So all your (in my view largely ignorant) views about the vice-like grip of finance, its spivs & masters of the universe are far more of a Scottish problem than a British one.

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    3. This was a very well put reply and summed up what I thought. What a sad article this was. Full of sweeping generalisations and negativity. Yes, there are angry people out there who want to change who they socialise and mix with. They’re doing this because they believed passionately about Scotland being an independence country. So a few social relationships sever? People have fallen out for less.

      But to then ‘blame’ a whole raft of voters for individuals’ actions, and calling us selfish. My job was less secure with a Yes vote. I still voted Yes. I would vote Yes again.

      I’m afraid I won’t be perusing Carol’s work or her books, it’s a competitive market out there with many good confidence gurus. And not because she voted No, because she wrote this.

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    4. Plenty of economists predicted the financial crash. For example, a The Economist had articles warning about the sub-prime mortgages issue two years before the crash hit. It was hubristic politicians like Gordon Brown who ignored them. He claimed to have ended “boom and bust” but in the process left the country poorly equipped to deal with the downturn.

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    5. Very well said, Everything I found that was wrong about this report you have covered with intelligence and eloquence….thank you

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  4. This reeks of the debating club. If , Ms Craig, you wish to bud a better fairer society….so much fkn BLAH…. how , exactly , do you intend to do this within the toxic British state. While we are here, is there any country on earth which has done more , worldwide, to destroy such ambitions??

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  5. I have to say this is as impressive an analysis of the referendum that I have read. I also think that your piece points to the divisions that SNP and its followers chasing this fantasy of independence have created in Scotland. Clearly there was no complete view on what independence meant or what it was, let alone what it could deliver and why it was worth breaking up a successful union for it.

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    1. grod, you speak as one from London or the South East, or maybe as one who has fallen for the ‘maybe’ that you too can achieve what ‘they’ have. To call independence a ‘fantasy’ clearly tells me that you live in fairyland. It is self evident that those living north of Watford are the source of fodder for the kings of the jungle living to the south and east of Watford.

      I am a respecter of everyones’ right to hold and express their opinion, but I dislike manipulative deviousness in the use of language, as I see here and in the piece above. The above piece is competently written, although not getting an ‘A’ from me. It is, however, flawed in argument as many will indeed point out. Hopefully without insult.

      A great error of judgement was made when setting up parliaments for regions (countries) of the UK and failing to provide one for England based somewhere other than London and having a completely different set of MPs from the Westmister ones.

      Westminster could have served everyone as the international face of the UK, whilst not preventing any and all of the countries having voices, which could vary from the central line. I could pusue this argument a great deal deeper, but as it is not in existence to examine, I would merely invite ill-informed attacks from those with other axes to grind.

      Suffice it to say, I found the article to be one interpretation, although failing to provide a complete and balanced interpretation. As for the bit about Academia writing to the Times, well I laughed and was reminded of ‘Annoyed from Basingstoke’.

      Both sides of the referendum debate had arguments which were well thought out and equally valid so to single out one set of Scots as greedy or following dreams, is simply to show that she has runout of arguments. The story of this is far from over and I hope to be around to view a happy conclusion.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sorry to disappoint you, David, but I was born in Glasgow, Govan actually, and was raised in, worked in and still live in its environs. So I know a bit about hard work to “get on”. I also know a bit about state support when it genuinely helps. Equally, I am concerned about an overweening state which wants more control of our lives.
        On your point about use of language, I note your comments and see you practise what you preach by accusing me of living in “fairyland.” All I will say is that anyone who sells a vision of a world based on insubstantial promises and accuses anyone who asks questions about this world of scaremongering, and worse, is creating a fantasy. It’s a lot more real then “fairyland.” Look it up. Cheers.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. For grrod:
        “All I will say is that anyone who sells a vision of a world based on insubstantial promises and accuses anyone who asks questions about this world of scaremongering, and worse, is creating a fantasy.”

        Isn’t that actually what we were sold? Isn’t that exactly what is happening to any of the YESSERS who asking questions now? Maybe not being accused of scaremongering, but definitely worse…

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    2. Can you please list those success’s? If you look at nearly every table or graph depicting the social wealth of a country you will find that the UK languishes at the bottom. Success? You must be blind man.

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  6. “For Scotland’s sake we should all stop judging each other morally on the basis of how we voted.”

    You sound like someone pleading not to be judged for voting Tory (which isn’t too far off the mark, really…)

    This desire from some No voters that we all put the referendum behind us and carry on as if nothing happened is rather telling. It suggests a guilty conscience, as if those making the plea have a little voice in their head telling them what they did was wrong, but they don’t wish to bear the consequences of doing so. The fact you bring up morality adds a bit of weight to this, and the article as a whole reads like someone trying to deflect blame by pointing to someone else going “but what about them?” Or to put it more simply, the lady dost protest too much, methinks.

    Now that’s not to say you’re right to have a guilty conscience – whether I think so is neither here nor there – but that’s certainly what this piece exudes, so before pointing the finger at Yes voters and saying “no, they wuz the selfish ones, guv”, perhaps you might want to carry out a bit of introspection to figure out why this internal conflict has arisen. Maybe subconsciously you’re dissatisfied with your reasons for voting No as they clash with your inherent principles; or perhaps you found it a bit too easy to vote No, and it’s telling you something about yourself that you’ve tried to ignore for years – it certainly wouldn’t be the first time someone who thinks of themselves as being on one end of the political spectrum realises that, deep down, they’re actually at the other end.

    Or perhaps it’s none of these things – it’s for you to figure out yourself. I would suggest doing so before trying to cast aspersions on those of us who voted Yes for reasons of democracy, social justice or simply a desire to see change in communities which have been left to rot by successive Westminster governments.

    I know one thing for sure – my conscience is clear, which is why I’ve never felt a need to defend my choice of which box to put that cross in.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Carol provides a very clear and honest analysis of the complexities of the referendum result. Reading comments here it seems likely that hurt and anger continue to divide people who otherwise share many of the same hopes and ideals. That is very sad.

      I voted No for several reasons but one of them was the tone of the Yes campaign. I neither liked nor recognised the self-satisfied, self-righteous Scotland it portrayed. Paradoxically, despite talk of fair mindedness, tolerance and human compassion, the campaign seemed to steer supporters in the opposite direction. In the last few months of the campaign it seemed increasingly inevitable that division and distrust would be a lasting legacy of the referendum whatever Scotland decided.

      I would love to be proved wrong. Scotland has many real qualities and strengths. In fact I would love to leave the referendum far behind now and get on with real-life working among good people in a good country – we could achieve a great deal if we work together in the best interests of both Scotland and the rest of the UK. And we have so much work to do!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. “In fact I would love to leave the referendum far behind now and get on with real-life working among good people in a good country”

        Do you realise that this sort of patronising attitude towards the referendum is exactly what annoys many people? Labour – Lamont in particular – often talked about the referendum as if it was some silly little thing to get out of the way so we can get back to “proper” politics.

        Self-governance is very much about real-life. It defines where power and responsibility lies, which is pretty fundamental to how you make decisions to solve the nation’s problems. We need look no further than last week, with people complaining about the ScotRail decision, despite the Scottish Government’s hands being tied by the franchise system, which is a reserved matter. The very party which spent three years complaining about Scotland being “on pause” was left arguing for things to be delayed until such a time as that power might – or might not – have been devolved.

        And this nonsense that No voters keep coming out with about the referendum causing “division” – there has always been division in politics, and Scottish politics is no exception. It’s a sign of people being free to disagree in a mature manner. What you’re actually complaining about is that it’s no longer possible to claim that independence is some minority pursuit, because it’s now been demonstrated quite emphatically that almost half the country thinks it is a good idea. It was pretty obvious unionists thought the referendum would shut us up for good – hence the wish for a swift referendum, talk of getting it “out of the way” etc – and you don’t like that this has ended up not being the case. Well sorry, but this is the reality you have to deal with now.

        Liked by 5 people

      2. ‘ I neither liked nor recognised the self-satisfied, self-righteous Scotland’ well boo hoo. personally I think that is one of the stupidest reasons I’ve heard for voting no.

        You seem to have spectacularly missed the point. It was about the right to get the government we vote for.
        If you didnt like the view above then work to change it.

        45% voted yes, 14% voted No because they believed the powers that GB and the 3 leaders expressed in their vow,http://lordashcroftpolls.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Lord-Ashcroft-Polls-Referendum-day-poll-summary-1409191.pdf, 26% voted no because they were worried about currency, just a shame that the BoE released this statement post 18th, https://archive.today/aKqCl,

        We are now in the position of having the ‘vow’ retreating as we speak, UKIP wanting to dissolve the SG, trident replacement. NHS under threat, new war in Iraq, foodbanks etc etc.

        Liked by 4 people

    2. Doug, you mention democracy! What do some of the yes voters not understand about this word and what actually happened? The democratic process happened, and the no vote prevailed! Unfortunately some people refuse to acknowledge democracy, and by the sound of it, you are one of them. I have absolutely no problem with people voting whichever way they see fit, and I respect their right, but when some people will not acknowledge the democratic will of the majority of Scotland, then we descend into something I want no part in, and neither should any self respecting adult. By the way, I have no guilty conscience for voting no, indeed I would do it again anytime, because I believe we are all better within the United Kingdom as Britains. I do believe that there are things that need “fixed” in the UK, but only a fool would think that an independent Scotland would be a “utopia”. What I do believe is that we should all work together to make the United Kingdom a better place for us all, but that means everyone pulling their weight. John F Kennedy summed it up when he said, “ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country”. That’s something we should all aspire to!

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  7. Well having read the article I feel I must ask this question.

    Is it selfish to want to create a fairer more equal and more just society for all your fellow citizens?

    If you vote knowing that one direction takes us down a path where your fellow citizens are worse off financially, economically, and in terms of the society and you choose that path, is that unselfish?

    Liked by 4 people

  8. Could it be that 45% of voting Scots chose Yes because they had confidence in themselves and in their country’s ability to run itself? Given her previous work, why does Carol Craig not address this point?

    Liked by 3 people

  9. So Carol, you don’t want to call people selfish – after writing a piece that does nothing else. (By the way I and most of the other Yes voters I know accepted that there might be some personal discomfort, but believed that ultimately independence would benefit all. Many of the No voters I spoke to were only interested in the pound in their own pocket). Which is of course a sweeping statement, exactly as the assertions you make above are.

    However why waste energy on a piece that is so critical, why not write a piece on where we go now, and how we can all pull together to get a better deal for Scotland. For those of us who had never heard of you before the referendum, tell us your vision and what you have said in your submission to the Smith commission. Tell us how much you have done to lobby and raise awareness of the local food banks in your area. Tell us what political party you will support to ensure that Scotland gets a fairer deal. Tell us your views on fracking in the Central belt.

    Plenty to be said so make it worthwhile.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Both sides were are massively to blame for putting us through a more morally devastating racist crisis than all voters who had not done their own digging were aware of. In the Europe-wide racist crisis, the No side and media did not chose to expose the Yes side’s plan to make citizenship actually refusable, actually not a right, for the Scottish people born outside Scotland to our emigrants. Those of them who would not chance to be resident here on independence day. To temporary or economically reluctant expats, whose emigration was actually supposed to be a yes argument, never foresaw such a threat to their offspring – and it actually came from the nat side. Jim Sillars told George Galloway his son born in England might not get citizenship, and openly told a Yes audience at Liberton on May 7 “We must not be afraid of this” that he wanted to make exile-born returners subject to filtering for skills the same as migrants from anywhere with no roots here. Colin Fox sitting beside him did not denounce this or stop touring with Sillars and calling him a friend. A Radical Indy stallholder told me it was good socialism to do this and racist to make any provision for family ties.

    This would have been a new clearances, Scots against Scots, an atrocity of purging the nation rejecting some of its own. Its division of families, preventing them coming together in times of economic or medical need, is against article 8 of ECHR on family life, I lodged a petition so to the EU, number 1448/2014, asking the EU not to accept a Scottish state’s mandate to exist, let alone to carry out this plan, if voters had been unaware of it. Another leader of Yes told me he would be first to say this is wrong to any further provision for the diaspora, and islands MSP Angus Macneil denied that anyone who has never lived in Scotland can be Scottish. “Civic nationalism” was a device for betraying the diaspora, its utterly xenophobically selfish core idea was that the whole indy plan was only for the folks already living here. It appealed to, and helped as never before to expose and warn us of, a core nat vote based on a nasty closed community emotion hating all outsiders even when they are Scottish. In Edinburgh’s democracy reform group, a member who had been an ordinary colleague in AV days with no sign of anything bad, tried to block a voter campaign action on citizenship with spurious delays, and when stood up to he revealed his own racist view that emigrants’ kids should not be automatic citizens, and left the group in a huff without offering any more grounds for his bigotry than “I want our country to look forwards not backwards”! That is how ugly this time has been, for the exile-born this referendum was like living through the election that began apartheid in SA. Yet they also dropped a former SNP pledge of citizenship for everyone born in Scotland, and now in the devo consultations at both levels I am continuing to pursue the case of someone in America, born in Glasgow to parents only here on student permissions just after a rule change in 1983, who unfairly can’t get British citizenship and who the nats gave me no answer for.

    Then, once out of the bag, the racism proceeded also to threaten EU citizens with loss of residency, mass deportation, if we got any trouble rejoining, and wee Blue Book p61 threatened mass deportations to rUK of folks perceived as belonging there if it gave us any diplomatic trouble in our setting-up. That we have averted at the brink united Britain’s destruction by a racist force openly dreaming of population movements deportations and cruel splitting of families has a parallel with 1940.

    All this morally trumps any economic arguments, and of course, Scots betrayed to live in rUK would have imposed on them everything that Yes said was bad there, with governments more likely to be Tory because of our departure. But the fact is we No voters have not voted for poverty and Toryism, the Yessers did, but shouting us down means they never hear it. Fearing the austerity cost of setting up currency and/or reserves and financial credit, Yes was instead going to keep our spending and fiscal policy under Bank of England authority, no central bank or own interest rates for us and using rUK’s currency. So all our economic policy to be still dictated by British govts we could not longer vote for, and for that reason more likely to be Tory.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What a complete ignorant pile of nonsense what planet where you on when the referendum was taking place? And just for the record the better together movement where specifically targeting European citizens to let them know in an independent Scotland they would be deported due to Scotland being out of Europe. Ridiculous bile you espouse.

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  11. it might be selfish. there has been regretable sentiment expressed on both sentiment from ordinary folk. But I think it’s true that for the most part yessers have been dragge dinto making the argument on economic grounds. Darling forced the contemplation of plan B and scots coldn’t really discuss the economics because the stats do show that we don’t put more in than we get out. They have largely been making a cultural argument. I don’t think it’s right that no supporters can’t cry for pragmatic arguments of scotland’s economic viability and then complain that Yes is being mean to their english friends. For one, a lot of the argument has focussed on how wrestling powers from Westminster enorvate the regions of england outside London/ SE.

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  12. Carol Craig, come on.

    You know perfectly well that there are eedjits on both sides of the campaign. Always will be. Most YES voters know NO voters too, most of them/us can deal with it, people have been very reasonable in general.

    Would I ever tar my NO voting friends with the morons who tried to start a fight in George Square? No I would not. They are not representative of most No voters in Scotland. Likewise, to pluck a couple of anecdotes out of thin air doesn’t sound to me like a robust premise for this article. “I met this guy down the pub….” That’s the way jokes tend to start…

    If you feel vilified, maybe it’s in part because The Guardian newspaper did a complete hack job of your article. That was a dreadful representation of your argument, which, in the full version, was at least coherent.

    You are obviously hurting for being a NO voter. Yes, I think some NO voters feel conflicted, especially the social-democratic ones. On the other hand, there are plenty of YES voters who seem to think they inhabit a moral high ground – but they always did before 18S. Leave them to it. To doubt is to think, said the Spanish philosopher Unamuno.

    I wouldn’t pay too much attention. Focus on the positive. We had a democratic referendum. Nobody was beaten up or threatened or injured. There were no deaths. The result was legal and binding. We had a huge turnout. I would say that it was a success.

    I would add, it’s time to move on. But that includes NO voters. How many times did people look at me like I was mad because I was a YES voter? At least half a dozen. I have been called a Nazi online and worse still. But most NO voters would never have accused me such a thing, because most No voters are reasonable people, just like most YES voters are.

    Most people in Scotland have no interest in a never ending quarrel…

    Time to move on is my view…life is too short and the whole referendum thing is, in my view, boring by now. Stale. It’s all been said,

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  13. And yes, the SNP did make a pitch which was based largely on self-interest, much to my regret.

    What you don’t say, is that this is the case of all the main parties since Thatcher.We are facing an ethical crisis in Britain today, and the West in general. Religion, for all its faults, always at least provided a check on rampant greed and self-interest which are just as common in Scotland as England.

    But most of the YES voters I know are social democratic Republicans who want to live in a modern secular republic with a democratic second chamber and no WMD and an ethical foreign policy. I can’t see how any rational person familiar with world politics would think there was ever anything strange about that. It’s the norm in most European countries.

    We never claimed to be right behind the SNP on every point, Carol.

    But, in one sense you are right. If your pitch for independence is based on money and self-interest, well, that is no premise on which to set up a new nation state. And you gets what you pays for. The Scottish middle class are happy with their Burns suppers, with “Scotland” stickers on their cars when they travel abroad, and yes, boring the living daylights out of foreigners about all the things the Scots invented…but it’s all just hot air and, yes, petty nationalism. I’m talking about No voters too.

    If I could apply for a passport as “citizen of the world” I would do so tomorrow. But there is no such passport.

    ALL countries are nationalist, and the SNP are no better or worse than most other countries in that sense…

    …you prefer British nationalism to Scottish nationalism. Fair enough.

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  14. Look at the status of European citizens in Scotland.

    I lived in Europe for 20 years, in two countries. I expected to get a vote at the last General Election in Spain. I was incredibly upset when I realized I couldn’t vote there, having paid my taxes in Spain for 15 years. I was furious, beside myself!!

    I had never thought it would upset me so much. I had to become a Spanish citizen to get a vote. What? In 2012?!!! Complete madness.

    I even went to the polling station, in case there had been a mistake. I felt totally rejected and sad and foreign. I left Spain not long after that. I got incredibly down about it.

    Which is exactly how all of the Europeans living in Scotland must feel. They get no vote in the British General Elections. Then, the SNP publish a draft Constitution which bars them from voting in an indie Scottish general elections.

    It’s appalling, it is obscene. And so nobody in the SNP should be scratching their head as to why the Europeans didn;t vote yes. What do they care? Damned if they vote YES or NO. Treated a as suspect or dodgy and in any case, second class citizens.

    Nationalism is everywhere Carol, in every single country in Europe without exception. Your false dichotomy between “nationalist” Scotland and non nationalist UK is where I disagree with you,

    The UK is a hotbed of nationalism. Ask Gordon Brown “British jobs for British workers”. Ask the Europeans who live here and who have transformed out culture for the better and who don’t get a vote. The risk takers, the gamblers, the ones who believe in the idea of Europe.

    Nationalism is a plague. So, you know, everybody to their poison of choice…

    As for the referendum, I want to forget about it and get back to work.

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  15. What did the people of Europe invent?

    A) Great poetry
    B) Mass slaughter
    C) Great music
    D) Nationalism.
    E) The modern world.

    Are these things connected? Yes, unquestionably.

    It was the Europeans who invented nationalism. There is no other continent in the world as nationalistic as Europe. It is both our richness and our diversity and our curse.

    Look at the foundational texts of European culture. They are all nationalist texts, almost without exception. The Iliad. The Aeneid. Shakespeare’s Henry IV and V and “Agincourt”. Odysseus coming home to Ithaca and killing the suitors. Or the biggest revenge drama of them all: The Old Testament. Starring the Children of Israel and all of those Egyptians put to the sword – and the Jews may be Semites, but the history of Europe is inconceivable without them..

    Stories in all of the languages of Europe about how this European tribe got going and this other one was put to the sword.

    The answer is a better Europe, a truly representative European democracy. With massive devolution of powers. Or maybe not, what do I know…

    But I have no hope in it at all. To cease to be a nationalist – and I’m not talking in a party political sense; there are just as many nationalists who voted No as Yes – you have to live in a foreign country. You have to get a perspective.

    Anybody who has done so knows what I mean.

    The rest is just two kinds of nationalism dancing or fighting together, depending on the company you keep…

    …and of course, always a loadestone for idiots, but equally so, on both sides.

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  16. After reading your views, i’m surprised there was even a need for a referendum, obviously the political system works across the whole of the UK for the benefit of the four nations in your opinion. The fact that 45% of the electorate voted for total independence for whatever reason suggests to me the natives are not happy with the current political and social imbalances. Sure i agree with you on the nationalist aspect, but being an active campaigner i never found that a strong Scottish nationalistic force was a driving factor behind the yes movement, the simple truth of the matter is Scotland and her people have awoken from their political slumber and the people on all three sides of the political divide, ( total independence, unionists and devolution supporters) will now debate and argue their case, and this country will move forward, evolve politically and emerge at the other side a stronger more empowered nation and this will be because of the will of the people not the politicians of the day, THE GENIE IS OUT OF THE BOTTLE and it is not going back in….

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  17. Rather a lot of self justification here I am one of the 45% and believe as I have always done that it is right Scotland be Independent ,all other considerations would come later.I believe we have a better chance at social justice than we do at this time ,and anytime in my life ,also to have our votes counted ,which NO ONE can say is evident now ,quite simply excuse of the population in the south,which of course is no ones fault ,and yes your friend is correct in saying selfishness knew no bounds with a lot of no voters,as did religion which should have had no place in this and of course Labour scaring the bejesus out of pensioners ,NO ONE CAN SAY THIS WAS WON FAIRLY and try to stop feeling hard done to dear ,your vote was NOT for this country but fr the south

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  18. The very fact it is SNP policies that have held back our youth is lost on people as they preside over the highest rate of unemployed 16 – 24 year old’s since Thatcher. Yet they ignore the fact the SNP let a tax raising power the SVR lapse which could alleviate the poorest in society , that combined with the forced council tax freeze causing 40,000 job losses and a £154 million black hole in Glasgow alone has seen the poor get poorer , yet they manage to fool many and blamed it on others even though it was there fault.

    Can you remember pre referendum the SNP claimed that the NHS was in danger if we voted NO and now some three weeks later the very same SNP are claiming it is safe in there hands ! Were the SNP lying pre referendum or are they lying now ? You decide !

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Because raising taxes is a good idea, and really gets the people together behind the political party…
      As I am sure you have heard before, judging by your profile pic, discussing taxes probably isn’t something you are comfortable with…
      So we will go to the point you bypass – the Scottish Government (currently the SNP?) have to use the budget supplied to them from the UK Government. They have to use that to cover everything, so when there is any talk about money, funding, etc, then you have to follow that money. Where does it come from?

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      1. I really do not get what my profile pic has to do with any facts I post, Are you profiling me ?

        How do you expect to get social justice if you lose or let lapse the ways you can increase revenue to pay for that social justice.

        Or do you think social equality is paid with lollipops and rainbows.?

        Facts are facts and it is a fact the council tax freeze has forced housing associations to take up the shortfall and as housing benefit is not devolved then this does not effect the budget. Notwithstanding we get a lot more than we pay in as you well know.

        So rather than be selfish and parochial which is the SNPs nationalism, i choose to worry about poverty in Liverpool just as much as I do in Glasgow.

        Now please go profile someone who cares about your blinkered opinion as the truth is the SNP lies are unraveling daily.

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  19. Personally, I switch off the tv or radio whenever I hear some Scottish Socialist or Green loony ramble on about social justice and fairness. They are totally nebulous terms – fairness to whom exactly, and who decides what is fair? The people receiving welfare, or the people paying for it in massively high taxes? The insiders or the outsiders? Surely to be totally fair, both the payers and the receivers in such a system have to be considered?

    Social justice is little more than an excuse for people on welfare, or for those who work in the third sector or the public sector, to justify tax increases on the ever dwindling number of people who work in the private sector who are actually net tax payers (rather than tax receivers – you don’t think civil servants pay tax, do you?). It’s this small group who are actually bankrolling the Scottish communist state, and after last week’s increase in stamp duty / land tax, this small group will be worrying more about the threat of further tax rises e.g. income tax, local income tax, council tax.

    We pay far too much tax already. The independence debate was meant to be about freedom and liberty – yet if the State takes the majority share of my income & wealth, what sort of freedom is that? Even medieval serfs only paid 1/3 to their lords in tithes – are we really arguing in Scotland for such a shared, collective system where people who work hard are penalised by having the majority of their income confiscated to fund those lower down or to fund an indolent, overpaid and incompetent public sector (e.g. Edinburgh Council – Britain’s worst council? Hardly a compelling reason to keep living in the country.

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  20. Hit the nail on the head …. The SNP promising a lovely new world on the other side of the referendum was the reason they surged from a third of the electorate to a 44% share. Fool’s Gold which would never have been delivered by the non-socialist SNP.
    We should have pressed them for more detail of this new fair and just society.. How much would dole money be increased by? Would Scottish pensioners get a rise to minimum wage levels? £227.50 and free housing or free care homes. Would every worker get the living wage as a minimum with a non-contributory works pension? Was every school leaver promised a job? Was there a promise to build enough homes to eliminate waiting lists? Was every council promised more money to reduce the rationing of services?
    Not a chance because the SNP are not in politics to bring this fair and just society about they are in it for power for powers sake. They are angry little people who want to rant and rail against the enemy i.e. the English and anyone who disagrees with their petty minded tartan filled opinions.

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    1. The only people who talked about an independent utopia was the BetterTogether campaign, not the SNP.

      “the SNP are not in politics to bring this fair and just society about they are in it for power for powers sake”
      Whereas, of course, Cameron, Darling and the rest of Westminster are in it to provide ice cream and puppies, and free money for everyone…

      The answers to the rest of your questions will have to wait… Probably till just after the next referendum.

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  21. “Given the volatility of oil, the difficulties with currency, and Scotland’s aging population they argued that if Scots voted for independence the ‘downside risks for current and future generations are huge.’”

    the thesis being that 50 years from now scotland will have a demographic crisis and won’t be able to pay its pensions etc

    …as long as it carries on being governed exactly as it is being governed now.

    for some reason, the irony of this did not seem to deter the NO campaign

    Liked by 1 person

  22. So the main thrust of this story appears to be that YES voters are stupid and unreasonable because they think that NO voters are stupid and unreasonable…
    And that the reason people voted YES was greed.

    As someone who has allegedly been campaigning for a better Scotland for 10 years, you really seem to have a poor grasp of the finer details of why there was a referendum in the first place.

    My favourite part, I think was:
    “The one they pursued with greatest fervor throughout the campaign was the idea that voters would be better off. In short, they appealed largely to voters’ individual, material self-interest”
    Although this was directed towards the YES campaign, wouldn’t it be fairer to point it in the direction of the BetterTogether campaign?
    After all, that actually was their campaign – Scotland will be better off if it sticks with the union. In fact, it could be argued that this appeal to the material is the reason that NO received 55% of the vote.

    So to summarize, it’s ridiculous that your friends no longer want to spend time in your company because you voted NO – i would consider that they are shallow and not real friends.
    Then again, given your attitude towards the YES campaign and it’s voters, I would suggest that these feelings are not all one sided, and that perhaps there is other reasons that they don’t want to be in your company.
    Just think it’s worth considering…

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  23. I can only comment from my own perspective. Yes voters wanted full financial powers because this would lead to a social democracy. I think the reason yes voters felt let down by no voters is simply because the no vote meant business as usual – i.e. casino banking instead of a national investment bank, austerity measures which cause deaths amongst our most vulnerable, no investment instead of investment in resources and more responsive welfare.

    Also, social democracy is served best by more localised government, so it doesn’t take a flag waving nationalist to fervently wish for a fairer society and less top-down decisions, and it was a real pity that yes voters were presented as such by mainstream media

    We aren’t living in a social democracy under the UK govt, haven’t been for some decades, and won’t be be for the foreseeable future. We are now seeing the damaging effects of capitalism going towards the extreme, unchecked.

    So unless you welcome a move to the right in UK politics which means that the 1% of the most wealthy become more wealthy to the detriment of ordinary people (that’s most of us, obviously), why would you not be doing everything in your power to ensure, at the very least, Devo Max?

    My observation of the no voters I encountered, was that essentially they felt threatened by financial uncertainty and change, or felt loyalty to England and the Union. Both stances I completely understand, given that my mum is an English leftwing no voter.

    Obviously no voters had a range of reasons for voting no, however, such emotional reasons as those above don’t earn the respect of well informed yes voters, because they reflect a lack of understanding of the facts, and of what social democracy offers to ordinary people.

    Most of us work ourselves to the bone and are barely able to make ends meet. Multi national companies are starving our country of creativity, damaging small businesses. This is not going to change under a UK government.

    We know that Scotland is too small a country to effect substantial change in rUK (just look at the rise of the right and UKIP) so this is why yes voters feel let down by no voters.

    I don’t find it difficult to feel respectful toward no voters, unless they constantly undermine the credibility of what yes voters wanted.

    If you read through my above reasoning, it’s clear that social democracy is what most of us in Scotland want – whether we run businesses, work for public services, are in low paying work or are on welfare. So rather than divisive articles, how about working toward that together?!

    Liked by 3 people

  24. As an ex-pat Scot living in NZ for 50 years, I would not recommend New Zealand as a model for independence. The economic ‘growth’ model followed here has come at the expense of some of what it is fundamentally to be a Kiwi. There has been a significant increase in selfishness, that echoes Carol Craig’s fears bout Scotland should the ‘Yes’ vote been successful. Interestingly, the economic growth model has resulted in the largest poverty gap between rich and poor since NZ started to be settled by Europeans in the early 1800s. The rich have become significantly richer, the poor more poor and disenfranchised, and the majority middle class going nowhere. So much for the trickle down theory! I love NZ, but fear the erosion of basic kiwi character that is promoted by ‘me-ism’. I believe we work best when we work together, a sentiment I believe applies to Scotland and the UK. I would have voted ‘NO’ had I been given the opportunity, which I wasn’t – for some selfish reasons, but also for the sake of Scotland and Britains future, and the heritage and future of my children. Not everyone will agree with Carol Craig, but her insight into the Scottish psyche cannot and should not be casually dismissed.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. In a blog that castigates people for calling others selfish, this is the ultimate irony:

    “However, the great irony in this view is that it’s completely blind to the core reality of the official Yes campaign – its appeal to selfishness.”

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  26. You may not remember me, Carol, but I remember you very clearly as someone I found inspirational from the Vanguard Conference onwards. I based many of my professional actions in the years that followed on your ideas. I was therefore completely bewildered by your No voting article, the biggest shock of the campaign for me. However, you now tell me I voted in my own interests (when I expected to be financially worse off in an independent Scotland but accepted that for the greater good); you imply I am likely to be a nationalist, which I am not; you make sweeping assumptions about my motivation, which was in fact, the desire for greater fairness, freedom from Conservative thinking, commitment to Europe and the removal of nuclear weaponry. Yes, I believed that a Scotland free from the values of Westminster could better address the obscenity of our child poverty figures.

    I can’t speak for those who are heaping insult on you; they should show more maturity. I can only speak of my own original disappointment and my horror at the sweeping generalisations and implications of this update.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. So we are being selfish fro wanting to look after our own. We have been the forgotten people for the last 300 years. Christ we don’t even have a dual carriage way linking the north and the south of the country.

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  28. A well thought out piece, however, I disagree with the core premise. If Scotland was to gain it’s independence the whole political landscape would change and I firmly believe it would animate the rest of the UK inot demanding more power be taken away from London. We campaigners north of the border would be only to happy to assist in any way possible to break down the self-serving Westminster apparatus to deliver a fairer distribution of wealth in the UK. We know that the problems we suffer are not peculiar to Scotland but we only have the power to influence change here at the moment. Scottish independence would only be the start, but what a start that would be.

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  29. Aye yer right – Why hope for a better more democratic system!!- We’ll just stick with the crap we have -your doing a fair bit of generalizing and making assumptions yourself. If anything has come out of this its that Westminster and the current political system is very much in the pockets of business and their will- That’s why a lot voted yes- The system utterly stinks. Im not a rabid nationalist- A lot like me were long life Labour supporters who have seen a party with ideals sink to an all time low- Its not all about like money that you keep reiterating its about Fairness- Democracy- Integrity which all these Westminster parties lack totally!

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  30. I cannot understand why it is selfish to want to spend billions of Scottish tax revenues on the infrastructure of Scotland rather than send it south to build infrastructure around London.

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