The Shy Consumer Problem

One of the most noticeable aspects of the previous Independence Referendum has been the lack of detailed, joined-up thinking about how to answer the inevitable barrage of Doubting Thomas questions from Naysayers. For example:

  • What will Scotland use for a currency?
  • How do we organise trade with R.U.K. and Europe?
  • How do we organise our military defences?
  • What do we want wealth and land distribution to look like, and how do we achieve that?
  • How do we correct the imbalance of opportunity for education and career advancement, which is currently so Middle-Class biased, that it’s beyond a joke?

There’s been a great deal of weeping, gnashing of teeth and downright accusation about these issues. Mainly because of the lack of reassuring details from the S.N.P.

But aren’t we missing the point here?

The whole reason for wanting Independence in the first place, is because we’re tired of the sick, corrupt and undemocratic processes of rule from Westminster. But if you’re going to put forward an alternate agenda, someone is going to have to create it.

That someone is you. Yes, Son (to quote TLC), I’m talking to you.

We’ve been spoiling ourselves lately, what with all of our twenty-four-hours-a-day Consumer Society, where all of the hard decisions are made for us by others, and everything is available, neatly packaged and awaits our purchasing decision. Well, it damn’ well just won’t cut it any more, I’m afraid. Having our politicians come up with wisdom from their God-like perspectives is the same, tired, smug, lazy, entitled sort of thinking that seen SLAB’s electoral prospects shit-canned for at least a generation.

We can’t afford to make the same mistake. If we want to build a better Scotland, we’re going to have to make the bricks ourselves. We have to start answering those questions. We have to take part in a national conversation, where it’s OK to be wrong, or look foolish. Because until we start telling our political class what kind of future we want to see, they’re not going to have the faintest idea of how to start achieving it.

We’ve already taken Step 1: the creation of public spaces like the various groups available on the Internet, to have these discussions. Now we have to start putting our own ideas forward, so that they can be argued over, and a consensus reached.

Until we do, our contribution to the Indy campaign is going to consist of “here’s tae us, wha’s like us?” platitudes, which serve nobody. Putting my money where my mouth is, I’ll start by laying out how I want Scotland to look:

  1. Redistribution of land, out of the hands of large-acreage estates and into the common domain, where it can be used for development. In particular, communities should have the opportunity, where desired, to bid collectively for the land on which they live and work.
  2. Our own currency, with our own Central Bank, to allow our government access to the tools it needs to control our economy.
  3. The encouragement of manufactures, wherever possible for sale to Europe, U.S. and Asia.
  4. Increased investment in carbon-neutral energy development and crucially, in the development of our National Grid inter-connectors for our cities, the Highlands and Islands, and even across to Europe to allow the sale of energy for profit. It is insane that we have such vast natural energy resources, yet we pay a dividend to the electricity grid whilst London and the South East enjoy a discount. This is an act of larceny so outrageous that no other nation would tolerate it.
  5. The creation of a modern military, with conventional weapons, and especially the creation of a Navy with the teeth necessary to patrol our sea lanes and borders. The pursuit of a multi-lateral defence accord with R.U.K. and R.O.I. (not to mention our European neighbours).
  6. The pursuit of Education-For-Life, regardless of wealth or social class, as a necessary end in itself.
  7. The establishment of a National Income for all, regardless of work status.
  8. Investment in Research and Development by government, not just by business.
  9. Investment in Arts and Culture. The relative neglect of this sector, which earns Billions in revenue for the nation every year, is frankly criminal.

This is not an exhaustive list, and I fully accept, that it is lacking in detail. But that’s what discussion and argument and counter proposal are for, so get on it! I’ll flesh out more detail, as and when I can work it out for myself, for further discussion.