A passport to a positive future

Have you got an annoying relative? We all have relatives whose politics are an embarrassment. I’ve got a relative who’s a No voter. His case for a No vote is based on swallowing Better Together propaganda wholesale, and he considers it brow beating when his numerous factual errors and misconceptions are pointed out to him. It’s bullying to give him facts which contradict him, and aggravated assault to give him non-Scottish nationalist sources for those facts.

Admittedly, he does have me for a relative, and that’s a difficult gig when we disagree because I’m the family bitch-queen, but still … I only said that if Scotland votes No, when we get screwed over by Westminster I’ll be telling him “See, I fucking told you so” for the rest of his life … That’s very mild by my standards, but this relative claimed to take it as a threat. Which if you ask me is getting dangerously into the drama queenery I’ve got first dibs on. Oh yeah, and I added that he had the political intelligence of a three week old haddock, which was unfair. I meant lumpfish.

My relative has a severe case of confirmation bias. One way in which his confirmation bias operates is that he will come out with some statement which is not correct, even though it’s been explained to him before that it’s wrong. Then people get exasperated with him because they’ve previously pointed out that his information is wrong, and there’s only so many times you can tell a person something without wanting to slap them with a lumpfish. But this then allows the person to go “Bullying nationalists!”

Recently my relative made the claim that he didn’t want a yes vote because he likes having a British passport and doesn’t want it to be taken away. However earlier this year the UK Government confirmed that no one will be stripped of their existing British citizenship as a result of Scottish independence.

It’s not entirely my relative’s fault that he clings to his myth of passport stripping independence, the claim has continued to be made by Better Together and the Unionist parties despite the fact it’s already been ruled out by the Home Office. Magrit Curran keeps mouthing about how she doesn’t want her weans in London to be foreigners. To be honest, even if this was true, and Magrit knows it isn’t, if she’s really going to feel alienated from her own children if they had different passports from her, that’s not an argument against independence, it’s an argument that Magrit is in serious and urgent need of family therapy and counselling.

So for the benefit of anyone with an equally misinformed but not quite so closed minded relative, or who isn’t Magrit Curran, here’s the citizenship story again.

The UK government admitted some months ago that existing UK citizenship laws will not be altered if Scotland becomes independent. Citizenship law is complex, but the basic position of UK citizenship law is that if British citizenship is acquired at birth, it cannot be alienated – nothing you do later in life can alter the circumstances of your birth. Which is fair enough, otherwise it would be a bit like changing your star sign by deed poll because you’d rather have a star sign that didn’t make you gullible enough to believe in astrology.

Even when a UK citizen is naturalised as the citizen of another country which requires the person to make a declaration renouncing any previous citizenship as a condition of naturalisation, the UK continues to regard that person as a British citizen. Stopping being British is a bit like giving up being Catholic. You can be a gay atheist commie (waves shyly), but the Catholic church will still regard you as one of the faithful, only just not a very faithful faithful. Nothing you do later in life alters the fact that you were baptised a Catholic when you were a baby. Britishness works the exact same way as Catholicism. The Orange Order is still struggling with the irony.

In fact Britishness is even harder to give up than Catholicism, and both are far harder than giving up smoking while trapped in a tobacco warehouse with a crate of rizlas and an annoying relative. If you manage to piss off the Catholic hierarchy sufficiently, you can in theory be excommunicated, but that isn’t that easy to achieve nowadays. You’d have to actually sacrifice a goat to Satan during an orgiastic Black Mass on the steps of the cathedral before you’re likely to risk excommunication, although even then you’re just as likely to get a nice wee letter from a nun expressing thanks for your efforts at ecumenical outreach. But if you’re born British there’s nothing you can do to make the British government strip you of your citizenship. Even Guy Burgess wasn’t stripped of his British citizenship after he’d fled to the Soviet Union.

If, as a lapsed Catholic, you decide you don’t want your kids to be baptised, they will not be Catholic in the eyes of the Catholic church. But you’ll still pass on your British citizenship to your future offspring, even if they will be born in an independent Scotland and you took up Scottish citizenship upon independence. The babies which are not yet even a twinkle in anyone’s eye will inherit British citizenship by virtue of their parents being British citizens. If you’ve already got kids, they are already British citizens, and will pass their British citizenship on to your grandchildren.

It’s only the children of children born after independence who will no longer be British citizens, the children of the first generation of Scottish citizens born into an independent Scotland. So not only have no children who will lose British citizenship been born yet, their parents haven’t been born yet either.

Scottish independence will not change the fact that everyone alive today who was born in Scotland was born a British citizen. The new citizens of Scotland will not even have made a formal renunciation of British citizenship, yet my relative affects to believe that his British passport will be ripped from his hands. He says this even though people who have signed a legally binding document explicitly stating that they renounce British citizenship still count as British citizens, and even though he swears to anyone who will listen that he’s determined to be British until the day he dies. And he will be, even in an independent Scotland.

For my own part, I’ll view my British citizenship after Scottish independence in much the same way as Catholicism. I’ll be very firmly lapsed, but not sufficiently motivated to go and sacrifice a goat to the Demonic Alicsammin on the steps of Westminster in an effort to get rid of it.

Unlike my relative, I don’t require any parliament to validate my personal identity. Independence is a state of mind. I know who I am, and don’t need a wee booklet to tell me – whether that’s a Scottish or a British passport, or the latest propaganda from Better Together.

This is not a debate about identity. It’s a debate about governance, about the future, about the kind of society we want to live in. It’s a debate about how we can ensure that politicians are accountable and representative, it’s a debate about democracy. It’s about bloated defence budgets, about what role we really want to play in the wider world, are we a land of peace or a land of nukes.

And we’re faced with a choice, not a choice of passports, a choice of futures. The future Westminster gives us whether we want it or not, hostages to the fortunes of a discredited political system, or the future we build for ourselves with our own resources, our own talents and our own skills. Getting a shiny new Scottish passport is just a bonus prize.

The only passport that interests me is a yes vote in September, that’s a passport to a positive future.



0 thoughts on “A passport to a positive future

  1. Superb!
    “Less gullible star signs” and the “orange order struggling with the irony” had me on the floor.
    Great finish, too: passport, schmassport.

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  3. I don’t understand Mrs Curran’s worries about the foreignness of her children who live in London. That’s where she lives and works too, so they can all be foreign together. I know she’s a bit dim, but surely someone could explain to her how her sincerely (sic) held views are making a fool of her.

  4. I don’t see why it’s thought to be such a disadvantage to have your family become “foreigners”. Think of the handy excuse you have for not sending birthday and Christmas presents. Too difficult due to customs regulations etc… Or am I just particularly mean?
    Anyhoo, I have relatives in a fair number of “foreign” places and we manage to keep in touch through Facebook, email and even phone calls even if I don’t send them pressies. And they live a lot farther away than England! Makes you wonder if Magrit Curran should have this carefully and slowly explained to her.

  5. He shoots, he scores with campaign day kick off.

    I’ve had my shiny new passport booked since 2011. ๐Ÿ™‚

    You won’t be British anymore, is a throwaway taunt we’ve heard a gazillion times over the past couple of years. Mostly you feel irritated at having to explain the whole shemozzle to some weapons class halfwit one more bloody time. Sometimes you feel like saying, ‘and I should miss this why?’ Just to be equally as insulting like.

    The legal facts are as above. The most pertinent fact however is that only you define who you are. If you care, if you want to live in a country and society that puts care to the fore. Just put your cross in the YES box on the day. If you are in any doubt about what I mean by care just go back one post to Debunking No Campaign lies about NHS Scotland.

    Or if you need further convincing. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=esV6pGo8UTI

  6. Is it just me that thinks this, or has the use of the word ” foreigner” by the anti-independence parties and groups become more prevalent (hint, hint you know what I mean – racist undertones) since the rise of UKIP and the European elections? Maybe over the next few weeks we should start a public “.use of the word foreigner” count.

    • I have no doubt that in their weekly Shite, Filth, Corruption and Lies Committee meeting this was planned, just not by them. Magrit, Anus, Murphy et al aren’t clever enough to come up with these kinds of things themselves, or time them right. I’m betting they get an envelope to open, sent up from the bowels of the British State propaganda machine, which has a word or phrase of the week to keep repeating to reinforce the current lie/shite being peddled.

      Thing is, the Scottish electorate aren’t that daft.

      A mate who I’d always assumed was firmly in the No camp told me he see’s no other option than for Scotland to become independent if he wants a better life for his family. Took me by surprise.

      He’s started reading Wings and NewsNet and I think his trust in the British State has been severely dented with all the carrying on by BT/VoteNob being expose for the shite that it is.

      If he’s being turned off by Better Together’s endless negative messages then I have high hopes for a decisive result in September.

  7. Strangely your wee post brought to mind the story my friend in Pennsylvania told me about her adopted son, he was born in Brazil and would have loved to return there for the World Cup but because he was born in Brazil and even though he now has US citizenship if he steps back onto Brazilian soil he is liable for conscription into the Brazilian Army, so the World Cup is out for him. Seems we have a similar problem, maybe just for us they will change the rules. I have seven years to run on my ahem “British Passport” OH just had to replace his a couple of months ago as we are off end of August to sail down the Danube, but we both intend to have our Scottish Passport just as soon as they can be printed.

    • My No-voting 77 year old father in law, who is as British as British as can be (though was born in Venezuela, grew up in Colombia, was educated in Canada and still sounds Canadian even though he has lived in Glasgow since he was aged 18) risks imprisonment if he ever sets foot in Venezuela because he never undertook his military service. Venezuelan until the day he dies! But very, very British…

  8. Ahhh – for us lazy ones isn’t it great to have a Dug take the trouble to effectively confirm what we thought on such topics as identity and passports.

    This type of article is a necessary resource. Is it worth getting them into categories ?

  9. This is why I have largely stopped debating confirmed no voters. The confirmation bias is deeply entrenched in these people. Even the most rational and balanced, will ignore any argument that challenges their beliefs in union. They keep trying to deflect the argument back to to you. As you answer each question, they move on to the next argument and the next. I have lost count of the number of times I would encounter a certain person again, simply reiterating the same arguments from the last time. There only so many times you can do this. My cup of patience is quite dry and empty at the moment.

    • I live in a place in Perthshire outsiders have nicknamed “Little England”. I get a real hard time in the pub when the indy ref topic comes up – and this is with locals who are born and bred in the village and surrounding area. They won’t engage in civil discourse and I usually end up getting shouted down. It’s all the usual alicsammin bad, union good pish. That said, it hasn’t deterred me from setting up an “independence information” stall ๐Ÿ˜€ at the local fair next Saturday. We’ll see what happens that day, might get interesting ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. @David – there are well proven techniques for handling people who you suspect do not want to engage, but merely throw up question after question to waste your time. In a commercial environment these would be called objections, and a very effective method of dealing with this is the following. Ask them

    “Just supposing for a moment that that was not an issue, then would you support us/vote yes?”

    If they say “of course”, then deal with their concern and ask them for their support (e.g. to canvass, hand out literature and so on.)

    If they say “no”, then you ask them what else they would have to be convinced of in order to vote YES. This way you either determine their real concern(s) and answer them, or else you know they are not even prepared to consider any alternatives to NO. In the latter case, remain pleasant, provide them with information to the likes of WGD and Wings and move on to the next person.

  11. “Britishness” If only we could renounce this badge of shame. I have always been embarrassed to even utter the word.

    Even at the age of fifteen and a couple of days when I was “encouraged” to enlist in the British Army by my stepmother. Standing in the army recruiting office in Sauchiehall St. somewhat despondently taking my “oath of allegiance”. I did keep the fingers of my left hand crossed though (does that work?) ๐Ÿ˜‰

    This could be my last comment for a while. I am off to Fife for a house-sitting / holiday tomorrow. The cottage is beautiful. It was built in the eighteen twenties and I think that is when the broadband was installed. I have been told that it is easier to drive to Morrisons in Kirkcaldy and pick up the free wi-fi in the car park. ๐Ÿ™

    I was hoping to make it to the Wings social Tonight but one of my house-sitting duties involves driving my friend to Edinburgh airport for 7am on Saturday morning. (Thats the middle of the night for me) I am however coming home for “Yes in the Park” on the seventh of June. I am helping out with the Wings over Scotland information hub. (Okay its a gazebo!) I will be the one with my own wee ginger dug in tow. So please come over and say hello.

    • It doesn’t matter who other people think you are, it only matters who you think you are. So I really don’t care if Westminster will continue to regard me as a British citizen after Scottish independence. Nae skin aff ma nose.

      I’m planning to get to Yes in the Park, and have managed to arrange care cover for my partner so I can get out for the afternoon. I’ll see you there and I’ll be bringing the dug – only we’ll have to keep the wee ginger dugs apart because mine is a psychotic wee shite with other dugs. He’s a rescued dog, and whoever had him when he was a puppy obviously didn’t socialise him properly with other animals, so he thinks he’s human. He adores people. Hates dugs though.

  12. It’s amazing really. But like your relative, I think that some people are scared, really scared, of an independent Scotland and cling to obtuse arguments to try to bolster and underpin their position. They know that they’re rubbish but have no other argument to put.

    I have a relative like this. Seems to hate alicsammin and Nicola, and is vitriolic about the independence campaign. But I just think that he’s scared, and no one wants to bring up the topic of independence because no one wants a fall-out. But there are going to be some people that are going to vote No and people like these will be in the fore.

    It’s the soft Noes that we need to target. They’re ripe for the picking!

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  14. Some people cling to being British as they think it still has a punching-above-its-weight status in the world, and although the empire may have gone (though remains in their minds and memories and repeated stories of its glories every day by a certain newspaper) they don’t see how that should change their cosy lives. Such people seem to live in a bubble in which realities do not touch them, or are slanted to lay the blame foursquare on others, so bolstering their feelings of superiority.

  15. As usual Paul a very good article and also very pertinent for me in my current location.

    On Monday it is Republic Day here in Italy and my local council will be celebrating the occasion by formally presenting a copy of the Italian Constitution to all the young people in the town who reach the age of majority this year.

    Importantly they will also be awarding honorary civic citizenship to 7 foreign children who were born and live in the town but whose parents are not Italian citizens โ€“ part of a campaign to change Italian Law so that all children born in Italy are automatically Italian citizens.

    I live in hope that come independence in Scotland similar ceremonies will be initiated across the country so that our young people can be given a personal copy of the Scottish constitution.

    Roll on September. (Return flight now booked so I don’t miss the vote)

  16. Does Margrit’s have a problem with “bloody foreigners”.

    “Magrit Curran keeps mouthing about how she doesnโ€™t want her weans in London to be foreigners”

    Not very socialist of her. Not very common man and all that.

    Does this mean my Frog relatives are bloody foreigners and somehow tainted? I assume they are. Damn Frogs.

  17. Waaah- so confused – daughters live in London so are going to be foreign. But they are voting yes so will want their shiny new Scottish passport – so maybe not . Husband lives in England during week and voting no so he is definitely foreign. Oh dear! We will need a border in the house.What would his Lithuanian Glaswegian grandparents have thought about it all. Natch !!

  18. Some of the problems of change/the introduction of better ideas is that the person is often unwilling to suspend previous beliefs, or even tentative thoughts, in which they may have in the past or unthinkingly invested heavily – emotionally, intellectually or even physically. There is fear in accepting other better ideas that may ‘incriminate’ the person in what turns out to be the inadequate or incorrect thinking associated with their previous beliefs and behaviour. Heels dug in, fingers in ears, heads down, eyes shut and a tendency to lash out in blaming others – they’d prefer to stay put or not rock the boat rather than admit or accept there are more sensible and advantageous options.

    Just because the new/beneficial ideas are robust doesn’t always entitle these ideas to automatic acceptance as those of us facing some intransigent (I’m being kind) relatives know only too well and, being less kind, I do consider stupidity as a factor in a few cases.

    A colleague of mine based her PhD thesis on the notorious question of why do people persist in behaviours that they know are wrong and/or questionable – this was in the health care professions! Suspending previous beliefs and risking the gap between old and different thinking does take a little courage and humans tend to err on the side of caution – it’s often how we survive!

    The ability to think critically, have self-confidence and self-respect are qualities that too often attract a ‘who does she/he think she/he is’ mentality and the group-think of the mediocre comforts itself in the cosy blanket of the known tolerance and traditional habit. I won’t give up trying to reason with some of my kith and kin – but it’s a frustrating old world. I did win round my sceptical optometrist the other week however – his eyes were definitely open.

      • Or to quote Douglas Adams, ” I don’t believe it. Prove it to me and I still won’t believe it.”

        (Not long back from WoS night in CH., Glasgow and trying to wind down so that I can go to bed! Hope you got back safe and sound, Paul.)

        • Is that the JGedd I was talking to at CH regarding risk? I only made it to sleep marginally before you did.

          • Yes, it is. Unfortunately we live in the deepest south of Scotland so we had to rush away to catch our train back and left the party in full swing. Still, enjoyed the evening – what we had of it. Trust you enjoyed it too?

          • Yes – I just missed one train from Central and waited just under half an hour for the next. I travel regularly in Austria and Germany and their public transport even to outlying areas is way better than ours (xref Derek B’s latest article and your post on it).

          • It was a great evening – and lovely to see you again. Thanks for the iron, and I hope you and your other half like the maps. I got home about 11 – and my other half was quite fine and happy, chatting away to the lassie who was caring for him for the evening. They got on really well together, and he’s quite happy for her to come and sit with him again in future.

          • Glad to hear that Paul. It must have been a relief to you to find all was well and that everything worked out so well re your carer. Maps are great, thanks again! Himself has been spread out on the floor, poring over them. I might get near them eventually. Fantastic work.heard someone won one of your maps in the raffle. I didn’t even know that there WAS a raffle, we had to push off so early. That’s one of the penalties of living in one of the jungly parts of Scotland.

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  20. Perfect way to laugh the day off. Well done Paul.

    Magrit Curren is a liar simples.

    Without sounding sexist ,she along with jola and fatty Baillie are horrible people.
    I was brought up with labour all my adult life and these three changed the way i looked at politicians in this country. Danny Alex. and the other parties i expect to behave in a typical westmidden way but these three , who are supposed to represent US are selfish greedy career politicians , Puppets for a state that has reduced this country to food banks and brutal cuts to our disabled as well as wrecking the economy .

    They will have a hard time getting work in iScotland . I can’t wait to see them change their tune when we win.

    PS i was a soldier in the British Army and i want a Scottish passport please. So that means i can be a Scottish- Brit with a Scottish Passport. … sounds good.

    ROLL ON 18TH

    • Being from the east coast I have a relative who’s no vote is predicated on the ” Glescae Gangies” of the Labour Party They are convinced that after independence when Labour get into power the corruption and theft will make us a Banana Republic. Given their the past history of it’s difficult to mount an argument against. Any tips would be appreciated as I’m sure this can not be an isolated case and I think people like this can be turned

      • After indรฉpendance we will have a Scottish Constitution, I’m reading “A Model Constitution” by W Elliot Bulmer. I’d recommend it as a good read.
        In establishing a constitution, we limit the powers the people we elect can wield, and we remind them that they have those powers only because we give them. We can give those powers, and we can take them away too. Personally I’d like to see the people given the ability to recall their representatives, we can no longer rely on self regulation, it doesn’t work.

    • I persuaded one Rangers supporting relative to vote yes if I promised to stop slagging his team off. So no mair relegation jokes from me. The sacrifices we have to make eh?

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