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A Day That Changes Everything

Scotland-refrendum-e1411110250196Today millions of us are voting for the future of our country.

The electoral picture is a mess. The opinion polls show that no party is going to emerge with enough seats to win a majority. Another coalition is possible, but unlikely.

If David Cameron’s party emerges from today with the most seats he intends to declare victory whatever the constitutional truth of that is. Labour has painted itself into a corner with its refusal to talk to the smaller nationalist parties, and that will give the Conservatives their cue to call Miliband a loser, and give Cameron his chance to propose a Queen’s Speech.

They will be supported by a right wing media that, faced with Miliband as Prime Minister and the SNP hovering in the background, will not even countenance a defeat. They will rally their supporters, they will try to hammer public opinion into a mould that suits them, and they will defy the legal establishment by claiming some “moral right.”

Before a vote is even cast today, I’ll tell you right now that I am stressed out to the max.

I really am an emotional and physical wreck, although I suspect that will improve as the day goes on.

I am voting SNP, as I’m sure most of you are. I am doing so knowing full well what a large number of seats for the party might mean in terms of the public image of a Miliband government.

I have known this for months, having seen clearly what the possible consequences were of Murphy and his people putting forward this nonsense that the largest party automatically takes office.

They have lied through their teeth for narrow political ends, to save the careers of themselves and their colleagues, who have played their own part in destroying one of the truly great political organisations in history.

That lie is going to throw the country into chaos, and that has my nerves unraveling fast.

At this juncture, let me disavow anyone of the notion that I am reconsidering my vote. My fears revolve around the shockingly bad campaign Labour has run both north and south of the border, but most especially in England. If Cameron ends up Prime Minister that will have had nothing to do with the political outcome in Scotland. UK election results very rarely do.

This is a hugely exciting day, but it’s also a hugely dangerous one.

Believe me when I say that the outcome is very much hanging in the balance.

I am frankly scared to death of David Cameron being able to assemble a workable government. If he gains that, if he is returned with a mandate, we are facing five years of policies which will make Thatcherism look utopian.

I know that there’s a lot of hyperbole about politics and politicians, but what Cameron and his people have done – with the support of the Liberal Democrats – has been despicable almost beyond belief, and the worst is yet to fall on us.

I struggle to find words to describe how I feel about these people.

Oh there are many I could use, but some of them would put me in danger of legal action.

I will simply say that in my opinion they are evil and that is a word I do not use lightly.

The “austerity agenda” is not about the national debt and it never was.

It is an ideological assault on the state itself, designed specifically to destroy the social safety net.

Millions will suffer almost unimaginable pain and hardship if Cameron and his cohort are elected to a second term.

As far as I am concerned, to vote Conservative today is an act of mind-bending selfishness with not a little malice.

There is no ethical excuse that I will accept from anyone who gives their support to a party that has waged war on the weakest and those in greatest need. This spiteful, vindictive, bullying, cruel government is a stain on the soul of the British people, and a vote for them is a wicked act for which you ought to burn in Hell. It is unforgivable.

If I know a single person who is intending to vote Tory that person, as far as I am concerned, had better keep that fact a secret forevermore because if I find out what they did my personal relationship with them is at an end.

Keeping these people out of office is not a matter of politics. It is a moral necessity.

Furthermore, it is not good enough – not nearly good enough – merely for us to see them removed from office. Many of the policies they have enacted over the past five years must be reversed.

Foremost amongst them is the abhorrent Universal Credit scheme.

Labour has said it will freeze this for three months whilst a committee studies the feasibility of it.

The only acceptable result of that study should be that the policy is scrapped and rolled back in the areas where it has already been implemented. Labour says it is in favour of the policy “in principle”, but that might just be a way of getting around plans to scrap it entirely.

That is already SNP policy, and it is broadly supported on the backbenches of Labour and other parties. Indeed, giving political cover to Labour as they throw this in the bin may well end up being the single greatest thing the ranks of Scottish MP’s accomplish during the five year term.

It is in areas like this one where the two parties can work together, and it is for this reason that I hope, sincerely, that everyone on the progressive left can put aside their differences when the last vote is cast and find a way to unite for the common good.

I understand, and accept, the necessity of certain political tactics prior to today.

But when this country wakes up tomorrow morning it is of the utmost importance that we on on the left come together and do what is right for the people who elected and depend on us.

Party politics aside, those are the folk who matter most.

I am proud that the SNP has spent the whole of this election trying to articulate a positive message, one that gives hope to those people.

I know that Nicola and the leadership want the best for them.

I have serious problems with the Labour Party, not least of which is the way in which its members and in particular its leadership has conducted itself up until today and unlike some I do not accept the oft-stated premise that the worst Labour government is better than the best Tory government, because I’ve seen even “good” Labour governments inflict shocking damage on the poor and there are too many areas of policy where there is not a fag paper of difference between them now.

In other words, I will not split hairs over different brands of bullshit.

A Labour government that victimises the weak is just as loathsome – perhaps more so – than a Tory government which does the same.

Yet I do believe that there are a lot of people within Labour who really do want to pursue a social justice agenda. I know there is a willingness there to work alongside Scotland’s representatives and others on the left to do what is fundamentally right.

In addition, I know for sure, as we all do, that the loose caricature of our movement being self-obsessed and only concerned with one thing – breaking away from the UK – is a figment of the right wing media’s imagination.

We do want to see communities south of the border made better.

We care about the lives and the wellbeing of those who do not live here.

We have a stake in what happens to the rest of the people on this island and we want to do the right thing by them. Indeed one of the great hopes of the independence movement is that we can eventually provide a beacon of light and hope for those in England and Wales who are trapped in a single route debate about the country’s future.

It is not for nothing that many in England wish they could vote for the SNP.

I feel a deep sense of foreboding about the next few days and perhaps weeks, and I feel angry at the idea that the right will try and claim a victory on fraudulent grounds.

My loathing for the Conservative Party has never been more acute, and my contempt for their Liberal Democrat allies has never been this sharp.

Those unprincipled bastards have one last chance to redeem some vestige of their own souls.

If they, again, make the decision to support a Cameron government and its appalling war on the poor they have lost any right to call themselves Liberal.

If they lend a shred of legitimacy to a minority administration, participating with them in what would be an unconstitutional coup, they will have renounced their right to call themselves Democrats.

The people of Scotland are about to deliver a verdict on our entire political system, but it is about more than just making sure we, here in this country get a fair deal from Westminster.

The SNP has reframed the political debate here in Scotland, and moved the centre of gravity to the left.

The opportunity exists for this mass movement of ours to do the same thing at the UK level; to move the discussion past the soulless, crushing narrative of the need for cuts and pain, of social division, of stoking envy and ignorance, of pushing people apart.

It may be one of the greatest ironies in the history of British politics that a political party dedicated to breaking up the union actually ends up as one of the great unifying forces on the left, but it is very much in our power to bring about that sort of real and lasting social change across this island even as we continue to seek our own destiny.

Today I think we are all a little scared, a little apprehensive, about what tomorrow might bring, but I think of all of you out there who, like me, are determined and willing to move forward come what may, and I feel calmer and more assured.

I am voting for the SNP, and I support independence, but I know the difference between the narrow nationalism that Cameron tries to inflame in the English (and which he’ll ultimately fail to do) and the civic nationalism that has taken root in Scotland.

I do not believe being a left-wing internationalist and wanting my country to stand on its own two feet are in any way incompatible.

I am a trade unionist above everything else, and the mantra that will forever make my heart swell has not changed since I first heard it;

“The people, united, will never be defeated.”

Our problem has long been an inability for those people to speak in one voice.

Today, in a manner I never expected to see, Scotland may well do just that.

Whether the SNP landslide brings 30 seats or 40, or God willing the 50 plus we think we can achieve, the one certainty is that this country will be voting to lock David Cameron out of Number 10 Downing Street.

That will give Ed Miliband the progressive majority he requires.

It is up to him, and Labour, to move towards us, healing the divisions that exist on the left … because if he does not then he, not the SNP, will be condemning this country and all of its people to the Hell of another Conservative government.

If he acts with principle and conviction we will stand with him as he ejects this corrupt shower from office.

If he embraces the opportunity to build a left-of-centre consensus which moves our country forward then he may yet emerge as a great Prime Minister and someone we can be proud to have supported in government.

If he does not, then history will judge him more harshly than any Labour leader except for Tony Blair.

In the end, the real power lies in our hands.

Today we’re exercising that power in a way we never have before.

We have to be prepared, though, for what happens next, for what happens if the Westminster elite yet tries to keep it from our hands.

In the end, if we have to take to the streets to make sure that we get the government we voted for, and not the one The Daily Mail wants to inflict on us, then that’s what we will have to be prepared to do.

Right now, I feel tremendous affection and comradeship for each and every one of you.

I love you all and I love this movement and I love my country.

I cannot remember a time when I was ever so conscious, or proud, of my class and my background and where and what I come from.

I believe that this is the day we were born for and that it marks the beginning of the struggle our whole lives have been leading up to.

I am honoured to be standing with you all, shoulder to shoulder, arm in arm, as we head into whatever the future holds.

So cast your vote today with your head held high, and when you feel nervousness creep over you, remember that there are millions of us, all striving for the same thing, all wanting to see the right result.

Becuase from this moment on, nothing in our country will ever be the same again.

We are the luckiest people alive right now.

We are not in history, we are making history, amongst the very few people who have lived or ever will who are not being swept along in the tide but are actually moving the direction of it.

Today we vote for change. Tomorrow it begins.

Faith, Truth and Justice, friends.

(Writing is my full time job, friends and comrades, and as I don’t work for a news organisation I rely on the support of my readers to keep doing it. If you like what I do would you consider making a donation? Every little helps.)

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7 comments to “A Day That Changes Everything”
  1. Pure inspiration, James. Thank you. Every time I read one of your comments I have more information to give to my work colleague who votes to “look after me and mine”. I hope that she is beginning to see that society needs to look after ALL its own. Yours words give me the words to use to people like her.
    I have taken out a direct debit, by the way.
    Arm in arm, as you say

  2. The Queen has supposedly said that she wont read out anybody’s Queens speech unless they come to her with a cast iron guarantee that it wont be voted down.

    If the vote turns out as expected Cameron can’t give her that guarantee.

    Cameron will be out and good riddance.

  3. I agree……the right wing sections are gearing up for what is essentially a coup…

    and Labour in an attempt to appease the right wing vote have enabled them to do it…..

    If they get in the hammer is coming……and Jim Murphy, and Ed Milliband carry the can for acting like spoilt brats – refusing to play with the SNP..

  4. I,ll tell you what dampens my enthusiasm/confidence,my daughters husband and his family are staunch unionists really good smart people but when you engage with them in dialogue/debate about even voting for the SNP never mind independence they hold up their hands in horror,they offer absolutely no reasoned argument as to why even when pointed out that this so called union doesn,t want them other than to s==t all over them time and time again,yet they are prepared to accept this,it does my head in,how do you overcome/get round the total intransigence??

  5. I hope you will now recognise that the majority of the people in the UK actually voted for a conservative government. DEMOCRACY right?
    Also in the Scottish Referendum ,55% of 84% of the Scottish population voted to remain in the UK DEMOCRACY right? So Miss Sturgeon is going to keep having referendums until she batters the poor bloody Scots into submission, now what would you call that? DEMOCRACY? Not in my book sunshine, dictatorship is what I would call that. As a proud Edinburgh born Scot I almost wish you had won independence the harsh realities of life would have hit like a bolt of lightning..

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