It works, don’t fix it

I don’t know what it is about me (honestly, I don’t try it) but I seem to be perpetually swimming against the tide. Just when everyone seems to be leaning, swaying and swinging towards a yes vote I am becoming less and less convinced.

I was so looking forward to this debate, but it has been such a dreadful disappointment. I hate the slick TV commercials, I hate the promise of Nirvana that no one can believe in. I hate the dreadful warnings and the threats. I hate the celebrity endorsements.  Really, we don’t need to know how musicians, TV cooks   and dancers chose to vote. We can make up our own minds. But what we do need is leadership and of a kind that we have, so far, not seen.

Somehow I naively believed that out of it all would come some clear leadership, some visionary, some prophet, someone who would grab the attention of the people and fire their imagination, someone who would point a way beyond petty kale yard parochialism to a hitherto unseen horizon, a Vaclav Havel, a Jomo Kenyatta, a Mahatma Ghandi a Nelson Mandela an Aung San Suu Kyi. But no one we have, comes anywhere near the stature of these people. Inevitably it has become little more than a playground scrap following the same old predictable lines and no one seems to be able to rise above it. Some like Jim Sillars and Gordon Brown make an effort and hint at what could be, but others have let it slide into a grubby political game promising a paradise, issuing threats and knocking chunks off each other. When people like Nicola Sturgeon says “we have everything to play for” we know it is as a game.  The scary thing is that it is not a game.

So, while they are unlikely to listen, this is what I have to say.

To the Yes side: “Forget about politics and economics, monetary policy security, child care, the just and fair society that we all want etc etc.  You know and we know that it might not be possible to deliver on any of these. There are no guarantees. You might not be in power to do it. Focus on nationhood, inspire us, make us believe in it, and don’t promise anything, other than that it’s going to be hard. That was what Wallace (aka Mel) and Churchill did. Whatever you do, don’t give us sweeteners. We are not fools and we see through all of that as we have done before. Promises of a better world, simply by putting a cross in the right place never convinced anyone. But if I heard a speech that said “it’s going to be pretty tough, the economy might not go well for some time, it will takes us several years to sort all the things out and get it right, we may have difficulty working out who are our friends, It will take a lot of patience, you might find yourself worse off for some years and frustrated with us because we can’t do it all at once but… but, and here’s the thing,  it will be worth it.” Then I just might just be convinced.

To the no side: “Don’t say anything. Everything you have said, so far, has backfired spectacularly.  You don’t have to argue for the status quo. People know what it is. The other side need to do the explaining. It’s not perfect, it’s not all good, there are lots of flaws but it works, don’t fix it.

Crawford Mackenzie

3 thoughts on “It works, don’t fix it

  1. Thanks Crawford. That is the best way I have ever heard it put down in words. The only thing that bothers me is what happens if people vote ‘Yes’. There is too much at stake here to be swung by as you put it “TV commercials debates etc which give no answers at all.

  2. Thanks Marion, that is possibly my biggest worry too, especially if the result is close and it could be 51%. Not only will the leadership need great skill of diplomacy to cope with the mountain of negotiations with UKr, Europe and Nato, but will face the harder task of governing a divided country. If the divisions fall along certain lines ie East/ West, Highland /Lowland, Urban/Rural or even Sectarian divides, then we would have a real problem and I haven’t heard anyone consider that. Such a scenario would need a leader of enormous stature. Something we don’t have. Alex Salmon is a fine politician but he is not a statement. Maybe he could become one?

    • I think Alex Salmond is a fine talker and does have some good ideas but I think they would be better used in our devolved Parliament with its increased responsibilities (which is what is being promised if we vote ‘No’). Scottish people have lots of things going for them at the moment – like University Fees being paid for our young folk, free prescriptions (these are also available in Wales but not in England) our free bus passes to name a few. If we take over paying all the pensions, benefits, part of the UK debt, which we are responsible for if we are allowed to share the currency (which again we would have to pay for) and these are only a small amount of the things we would be responsible for how much will it cost us and where is all this wealth going to come from that Mr Salmond keeps talking about and will it really be enough to give us a reasonable standard of living. I heard them saying the other day that they were going to help the pensioners, but is that those who are already getting a help and if so, what about those who just manage? Scary times ahead.

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