If you’re old enough, you might remember the fall of the Berlin Wall, and then several years later the election of a Labour government after long and dark decades of Tory rule that crushed the soul, took a blowtorch to hope, and destroyed communities. The 90s were when many people really did have reason to believe that things could only get better. A brighter future beckoned, a Europe at peace with itself, a Britain in which the rampant greed and selfishness of the Thatcher era had been replaced with a kinder and gentler country which cared for the weak and provided for the have nots, a Scotland that had some control over its own destiny and a say in shaping its economy, its society and its fate. And here we are twenty years later, surrounded by the ashes of dreams. Things only got shittier.
The future has never looked bleaker. If you are a young person, the chances are that you will spend more on housing than your parents or grandparents, but you will have only a fraction of the chances that they enjoyed of ever owning your own home. You face a future of insecure housing, of precarious employment, of debt. When you do find yourself falling out of work, as you invariably will at some point, there will be no social security net to catch you. There will be no state pension waiting for you when you get old, you’ll be working until you drop and juggling each pay cheque as you pay off your debts. You won’t even be able to dream of saving up enough to retire to a sunny life on a Mediterranean shore, because Europe’s doors will be closed to you.
Embrace the grey sky, learn to enjoy the rain as you trudge to the foodbank. You’ll get what you’re given and you’ll be grateful. Promises made to you don’t need to be kept because you’re a nothing and there’s nothing you can do about it. The future is no longer bright, it’s dreich, it’s depressed, it’s debt-ridden. The future is a letter from the DWP to your elderly self as you struggle with arthritis, poor eyesight, a heart condition, and diabetes, telling you that you’re fit for work. You’re a burden.
Meanwhile the minority who enjoy inherited wealth will continue to get richer, they will continue to hoover up the best jobs and the best opportunities. They’ll go to private schools and move seamlessly into lucrative employment thanks to mummy and daddy’s contacts. They’ll tell themselves that what they’ve got they got entirely on their own, and then they’ll preach to us that this country is a meritocracy. They’re the Iain Duncan Smiths and the Jacob Rees Moggs. People like them will be our masters in this isolated island of Brexit cut off from the world. They suck up the wealth and value created by the sweat of the poor and they call the poor a burden on society. They blame those they’ve victimised for the victimisation. That’s the future of Britain. It’s a Daily Mail headline as policy. When they tell us that Britain is taking back control, they don’t mean that the likes of you or me will have more control over our own lives.
Things are so god-awful that many people are left hoping that Theresa May clings on to power because any Tory who might replace her is going to be even worse. There’s yet another Brussels dinner, yet another last ditch hope that something might be rescued from the wreckage of Brexit, yet another realistic assessment that there’s nothing new on the table. No hope. No future. No chance. The only thing that the UK is good at is delivering doubt, manufacturing fear, and trading in nostalgia and xenophobia. So much for Scotland needing the safety, security and stability of the UK. This is not the future that was promised to us in 2014.
This is not the country that we were told that Scotland was to be an equal and valued partner in. It’s a damned peculiar definition of partnership. It’s the partnership of a gagged and bound masochist with a sadist. It’s the partnership of a lamb being taken to slaughter and the farmer who will profit from its meat. It’s the partnership of despair with exploitation. It’s the partnership of the zero hours contract worker who struggles to work on an empty stomach and subsists on a poverty of options and the boss who rakes in a salary in the millions and who fills their boots with stock options. It’s the partnership of sit down Scotland, shut up and do as you’re told.
This week we witnessed the crumbling of yet another of the hollow promises made to Scotland in order to keep us a part of this farcical theft of opportunities that’s called the UK. Vote No and 13 type 26 frigates plus a number of cheaper type 31s would be built on the Clyde for the MoD, became eight frigates and maybe five type 31s, became three type 26s and maybe another five later on with the chance of an unspecified number of type 31s. And now it’s become three type 26 frigates and no type 31s at all. The silence deafens. There are no howls of protest. The same people who screamed their outrage at baby boxes are silent as one of the key promises of the Better Together campaign turns to dust. But they still blame the SNP for the MoD’s mendacity. This is Scotland in Union, hopes and promises slowly dying one by one and those who kill off our dreams blame those who offer an escape into a brighter land.
But it’s not too late. We can still wrest our future out of the hands of the selfish minority. We can still create a Scotland that’s a place where we can all live dignified lives. We can take our destiny into our own hands. We can think independently, we can act independently, and we can create an independent Scotland. It’s now clearer than ever that a Scotland that chooses its own future is the only way out of the darkness.
The Wee Ginger Dug has got a new domain name, thanks to Indy Poster Boy, Colin Dunn @Zarkwan. http://www.indyposterboy.scot/ You can now access this blog simply by typing www.weegingerdug.scot into the address bar of your browser, the old address continues to function, the new one redirects to the blog. The advantage of the new address is that it’s a lot easier to remember if you want to include a link to the blog in leaflets, posters, or simply to tell a friend about it. Many thanks to Colin.
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