Several short thoughts, nothing more. Due to lack of sleep and general exhaustion, this won’t be my finest bit of writing ever, but here goes…
1. MANY VOTES WERE FRAUDULENT – Don’t worry, this isn’t what it seems to be. I’ve not got some conspiracy theory floating around in my head about mass instances of voter fraud. I suppose I mean ‘misguided’, but that didn’t seem strong enough.
I would like to look at the simple language of the Referendum ballot: ‘Should Scotland be an independent country?’ In all honesty, I think both sides of the debate have obscured the question, whether intentionally or unintentionally. I think when most people look at that question they aren’t reading ‘Should Scotland be an independent country?’ at all. It could be any number of things:
‘Should we sack the Tories?’
‘Should Alex Salmond and the SNP run Scotland?’
‘Should Scotland be an independent country on 19 September 2014?’
‘Do you want to lose your pension?’
‘Do you want to lose Coronation Street?’
‘Do you appreciate the monarchy?’
The heart-breaking thing is that whilst some of those suggestions are legitimate or even debatable knock-on effects of union or independence, none of them are really an answer to the bigger question and the first two (and variations of them) are particularly deceiving as they involve conflating party politics and national sovereignty. I think that the Better Together folk were wise in having a Labour politician lead them (although they couldn’t find someone who sounded more Scottish than Alistair Darling?), indicating a cross-party effort to maintain the Union. Although Alex Salmond is an incredibly talented politician, he is also the First Minister and the leader of the SNP. Granted, the Referendum is a direct by-product of the SNP’s election to Scottish Parliament in 2011, but it could’ve been more effective to see less divisive faces leading the Yes campaign.
This all adds up to a wee bit of confusion when it comes to answering the question, ‘Should Scotland be an independent country?’ In defence of the Yes campaign, I would argue that it is likely that many people were not thinking about the future of Scotland with a fully devolved and independent Scottish Parliament made up of all Scottish political persuasions. We wouldn’t need to ship our best and brightest to Westminster. They could stay here in Scotland where they have the opportunity to represent the interests of the people living in Scotland — because that would be the entire purpose of an independent Scottish Government. Instead, folk were thinking about a decade of Alex Salmond.
I also think a lot of folk have been using language to imply that had Scotland voted ‘Yes’ on 18 September, we would be an independent country on 19 September. Had we voted ‘Yes’, the new government would not have been established until 24 March 2016. This would allow a year and a half of consultation and negotiation; and to play into the previous point, a democratic vote for all eligible voters in Scotland. I’m seeing a lot of ‘still in the UK’-type language on social media this morning — no matter the outcome of yesterday’s Referendum, today we would still be in the UK.
2. SCOTLAND IS NOT THE SOCIALIST HAVEN SOME OF US HAVE BELIEVED IT TO BE — Results this morning indicate that areas of a higher working class and unemployed population came out overwhelmingly in favour of independence. In many of our minds (me included), we’ve harboured this delusion that the vast majority of Scots are like the working class folk in Glasgow and Dundee. But the reality is that Scotland is not as different from the rest of the United Kingdom as we thought. Of course, a Conservative politician in Scotland is most likely much further to the left than a Conservative politician in England. See Ruth Davidson, the leader of the Scottish Conservatives. She’s a woman and a lesbian at that — two qualities that would have many of the English Tory gentry up in arms. But overall, it’s only common sense to acknowledge that not all Scots are socialists and up until only a few decades ago, Scotland had a long spell of complicity in the electing of Unionist/Conservative Governments in Westminster.
3. THIS IS NOT A TORY VICTORY / THIS IS NOT AN SNP DEFEAT — One great frustration among many I have with the result of this Referendum is that many folk are seeing this as either a Tory victory of an SNP defeat. It is neither of those things. At most, it is a Better Together victory and a Yes campaign defeat. Make no mistake — this vote does not indicate Scotland’s approval of Westminster or the UK Government. Likewise, it does not indicate Scotland’s disapproval of Holyrood and the Scottish Government. Instead, a slim majority of Scottish voters decided that our best option at this point is not full independence. Not only that, but in the midst of their grief, the SNP and the Yes campaign should take some consolation in the fact that over the length of this campaign the support of Scottish independence is at a record high. It seems clear that the majority Scottish people want more power devolved to Scotland (a clarity that could have manifested itself in a result today had David Cameron not very sneakily traded a second, devo-max Referendum question for allowing 16 and 17-year-olds to vote back in the Edinburgh Agreement). If Westminster politicians stick to their promises, we will be seeing further devolution in future.
As far as the future of the SNP goes, I believe that a large number of Scots think that the SNP has done well for the Scottish people, hence 2011’s election of a majority SNP Scottish Government in a parliament designed to avoid majority governments. The SNP isn’t going anywhere any time soon. If anything, a ‘Yes’ vote would’ve been the best way to ensure that the SNP would eventually dissolve.
4. AT A CERTAIN POINT, A ‘YES’ WOULD MEAN THE SAME THING AS A WESTMINSTER GOVERNMENT — As one might expect, the first results that came in early this morning were the smallest council areas. When a majority of councils had reported (most of them ‘No’ votes) it became clear to me that had the bigger councils voted ‘Yes’ overwhelmingly, this would create the same lopsided democracy as we find at Westminster. Sure, in this hypothetical situation where ‘Yes’ won as a result of only a handful of large council areas, in numbers the ‘Yes’ would have it. As is already felt by the smaller councils, particularly in the Western and Northern Islands, they would be governed by the will of places like Glasgow, Edinburgh and Dundee. Folk have used this as an argument against independence, saying things like ‘Well, the Highlands and Islands have a different culture from the Lowlands, so we should have the opportunity to be independent countries too!’ I think that’s nonsense and you don’t need to think too long to realise that the Western and Northern Islands would be more closely managed and find greater clout in a smaller, more local Scottish Parliament (as opposed to Westminster). But what I really want to express is that, should Scotland one day decide to be an independent country, I would hope that would be the will of the vast majority of Scots, with support from the further flung parts of our beautiful country.
5. THE UK IS BECOMING INCREASINGLY INHOSPITABLE TO THE OUTSIDER — A major part of why I supported a ‘Yes’ vote is because I am noticing a trend of hostility and inhospitality to outsiders in the United Kingdom. (Given the results of the last European Parliamentary election, some might even argue that this is a European trend.) As an Angeliño-Glaswegian, I have a particular interest in the rights of immigrants, although my native language, skin colour and accent put me at a great advantage among non-native residents of Scotland. The cancer that is British fascism and isolationism is spreading beyond the confines of the political fringes. Many BNP voters have been making their way to UKIP, a seemingly more politically viable party these days. I thought that political separation from the UK would enable Scotland to become more intimately associated with the rest of Europe (and the rest of the world). Unfortunately, no amount of devolution will allow for that in a United Kingdom. I suppose that is one of my biggest fears in the wake of the Referendum results — that Scotland would become yet more xenophobic. And here’s a wee reminder to those who think that the SNP’s brand of nationalism is the same as Nazi nationalism — the SNP has never stood for ethnic nationalism, that’s the job of the SDL.
6. WE CANNOT LOSE MOMENTUM — In the wake of this morning’s result, it would be easy to become discouraged or complacent. Those who supported ‘Yes’ might feel downtrodden and exhausted with nothing to show for it. This isn’t the result of a simple football match. This was bigger than any General Election. And now the opportunity seems lost. It might be difficult to face the day today.
Those who supported ‘No’ might feel as if their work here is done, dusting off their hands, accompanied by a large sigh of relief. After the overwhelming nature of this very long and divisive campaign, we might feel too tired to continue. But there is much work to be done. I believe that many ‘No’ voters are not entirely convinced about this current system in the UK. Perhaps they believe that the best way for change is to remain part of the UK and renew it from the inside out. I can appreciate that.
Today we find ourselves in the midst of a nation divided. But we are still Scotland and despite the fact that we are not the socialist haven many have envisaged, we have many shared ideals, ideals that are not represented by many of the folk at Westminster. We cannot give in. We cannot feel defeated and we cannot feel as if our task is finished. We must unite as Scotland with love for one another in order to press for the change we need. We must hold those who made promises accountable to those promises. We must fight for a fairer and more just society. We must fight against the special breaks given to large financial institutions. We must fight for the rights of the most vulnerable and marginalised in our society. We must fight to do our part to demonstrate care and respect for nature and the precious natural resources so exploited by UK. And if it be our united will, we must fight to rid the UK of our hypocritical and immoral nuclear arsenal.
These are just some of the things we value. Let’s write a longer to-do list together.
Recently, we realised that we were coming up on our 100th post here at Lost in the Cloud. It’s only been a little less than a year (and we are actually cheating in bringing some of our posts over from our time at Criticism As Inspiration, which account for more than 1/3 of this total), but we felt like it was an occasion we wanted to mark. Being that we are incredibly fond (or freakishly obsessed) of lists here at LITC, we decided to simply post a list of 100 Things We Love (split about evenly, though there are a number of items that would end up on both of our lists, which are marked with an asterisk [*]). We have decided not to list out all of our family & dear friends, as well as our favourite films/bands/theologians/etc. which we have previously made space for elsewhere. This is just a stream-of-consciousness exploration of our affections, listed out alphabetically. We hope you enjoy & thank you for reading!
Among other things, Elijah loves…
- Amoeba Music, Hollywood*
- &s (ampersands)*
- Autumn-winter succession*
- Baseball – Detroit Tigers
- Being a member of God’s Church*
- Building/repairing electric guitars
- Deuchars IPA
- Disneyland (because in spite of the consumeristic lies it sells, it remains magical)*
- Dressing up (especially in a kilt)
- Dundee Contemporary Arts
- Ecclesiastical architecture
- Finding creative ways to higher ground while in the wilderness
- Football – Celtic FC
- ‘Friscalating dusk light’
- The City of Glasgow
- Griffith Park (and all that’s within, such as the Griffith Observatory, Bronson Caves, Los Angeles Zoo, William J Mulholland Memorial Fountain, the Autry, Travel Town, etc.)
- Tim Hawkinson’s artwork
- The history of music in the recording era
- Incredibly arid climates
- Incredibly wet climates
- Innocent Smith’s Musical Circus/Parkside Upper Quads Philharmonic Orchestra
- Joshua Tree National Park
- The City of Los Angeles
- Millionaire shortbread
- Moleskine journals
- Nice ‘N’ Sleazy
- The NRSV translation of the Bible*
- The number ‘44’
- The Parish Church of the Holy Trinity, St Andrews
- People (especially those who are humble, patient and tender)*
- Printed media (books/book covers, street literature, record sleeves, etc.)
- Road trips in California
- St Mary’s College
- Sequoia & King’s Canyon National Park
- Single malt whisky*
- Urban exploration
- Vegan Express, Los Angeles
- The wisdom of my elders
- Wormit Parish Church
- Writing music with Greg & Justin
- Writing utensils (STABILO point 88s; Dixon Ticonderoga Mediums; Staedtler Noris HB 2s; Pilot G-2 0.38s and 05s)
- Handwritten correspondence*
Among other things, Greg loves…
- American Romanticism
- Archives Bookshop (In Christ is a close second!)*
- Backyard time with an 18 yr. old bottle of Glenfiddich & thoughtful conversation with authentic men (whether in La Mirada, Long Beach, or Marina Del Rey)*
- Banksy’s wit*
- BBC adaptations of classic works of literature, particularly of Jane Austen, Elizabeth Gaskell & Charles Dickens
- Bic black “round stic Grip pens”, fine point
- Biola Residence Life & Hope North RAs
- The BioLogos Forum
- British spelling and punctuation
- Cambria, CA (especially Supper Club vacations)
- Close reading of the Bible, literature & pop culture*
- Craig Thompson’s artwork, most notably in his graphic novel, Blankets
- Deep bass notes and thick kick drum sounds
- Delicious Library
- Domenico’s Pizza
- Drawings by and notes from my kids
- Elijah Wade & PUQ performing at Punk N’ Pie (which I believe is the same as Elijah’s #24)…twas a most epic performance (x 2)
- Extraordinary moments (car crashes, explosions, injury to the groin shots) caught on video, displayed on YouTube/Failblog.com/Spike TV
- Footnotes (digressive comments or noteworthy book references)
- Fuller Theological Seminary
- God’s covenants (though not necessarily in a Reformed “Covenantalism” sense)*
- Grace Brethren Church facilities crew, mid-90’s (including “crass Fridays” with Mark & Bill)
- Indie music, in most of its hybridisations*
- The iPhone (particularly playing Skee Ball with my kids and Words With Friends with Mark, David & Matt B.; and occasionally, Tim)
- Magazine subscriptions (currently down to four since Paste went belly up – The Week, Entertainment Weekly, The Atlantic, Christianity Today – but once as high as fourteen)
- Making mix CDs*
- Mixing cereals (current favorite = Crispex & Honey Smacks)
- Moby Books Illustrated Classics
- The Muckenthaler Mansion (where I married the most wonderful girl)
- Multiple-view books on theological topics
- The number ‘22‘
- The paintings of Patty Wickman & Mark Tansey
- People who ask good questions in conversation
- The Perry Bible Fellowship*
- Postconservative evangelical theology
- Powell’s Books (and Portland, OR in general)
- Questioning things*
- The Radical Reformation
- Redeemer Church
- Short story, novel, screenplay, lyric, or poem concepts & bits
- Thinking about impossible endeavours (e.g. making a film of the whole Bible)
- Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Caramels
- Weather in the high 60’s-low 70’s & overcast/cloudy
- A wide selection of beverages in the fridge (including Coke, Cherry Coke, Coke Zero, Peach Snapple, Arizona Green Tea & Henry Weinhard’s* root beer)
- Wind rustling through tree branches
- Writing on Lost in the Cloud*
- Zappos.com (Michele hates that I love this…like 2 pair of shoes for $250 hates it)