BARRY GRAHAM, Scottish author, journalist, Zen monk in U.S. Books include THE BOOK OF MAN (an American Library Association best book of the year), THE WRONG THING (finalist for SPINETINGLER MAGAZINE best novel of the year), WHEN IT ALL COMES DOWN TO DUST (a MYSTERY PEOPLE best book of the year) and KILL YOUR SELF: LIFE AFTER EGO, an Amazon Kindle bestseller in the Zen category.

Scotland’s Greatest Time

While I’m disappointed that a majority of Scots have voted against independence, I’m happy and inspired nonetheless. Scots are more engaged now than at anytime in living memory, and, with almost four million people voting, this has been the greatest incidence of participation in democracy in Scotland’s history.

As a child and young man in Scotland, the only hope I ever felt was the hope of getting out of there. I now feel hopeful for Scotland for the first time ever.

Ewan Morrison misses the point of the Scottish Independence Referendum

I’m baffled by Scottish writer Ewan Morrison’s change of mind about his support for independence. Having briefly decided on Yes, he switched to No. (In response, our mutual friend Kevin Williamson wrote this open letter to him.)

I find this part of Mr. Morrison’s statement especially bizarre:

It was within a public meeting that I realised there was no absolutely no debate within the Yes camp. Zero debate – the focus was instead on attacking the enemy and creating an impenetrable shell to protect the unquestionable entity. In its place was a kind of shopping list of desires that was being added to daily. So there was: Get rid of Trident, raise the minimum wage, lower corporation tax, promote gay and lesbian rights, create a world leading Green economy, exploit oil to the full and become a world leading petro-chemical economy, nationalise the banks, nationalise BP, be more attractive to foreign investment. The shopping list of ‘positive’ ideal goals could never tally up, the desires of the Yessers were incompatible and contradicted each other, but to raise this was seen as being ‘negative’. Every kind of Yes had to be included, and this meant there could be no debate. Instead there was a kind of self-censorship and conformism. The Yes camp had turned itself into a recruitment machine which had to silence dissent and differences between the many clashing interest groups under its banner.

Mr. Morrison then compares the Yes camp to the Socialist Worker’s Party, which he rightly criticizes for having no idea what its revolution would mean. But the comparison is absurd.

What is best about the Yes movement is that it is not about any one political ideology; anyone in Scotland who believes in democracy should vote Yes, whether they are left or right wing, because it is about the people of Scotland electing the government that persuades them. So the political struggles between left and right, those who want green energy or petrochemical energy, etc., can start in an independent Scotland—but the only point of the Yes movement is to create the independent Scotland where such debates can happen.

Why I Hope Scotland Votes YES to Independence


I am not a nationalist, and never have been. I have always loathed nationalism. I favor open borders. But I hope with all my heart that Scotland votes for independence tomorrow.

A vote for independence is not a vote for the Scottish National Party, or for nationalism, but for a democratic Scotland. While the S.N.P. has moved from being the “Tartan Tory” party it used to be, it’s still not my party, and I’ve disliked Alex Salmond for at least 25 years…

But none of that matters. Because, if the S.N.P. doesn’t keep its promises in an independent Scotland, the voters will kick it out on its collective arse at the first election.

Salmond isn’t stupid. He knows this.

He knows that in order to remain in government in an independent Scotland, his party has to deliver everything listed in the image above.

And there’s no reason why it can’t.

In fact (and I do mean fact), while there are many reasons to vote for independence, there is not a single reason to vote to stay part of the far-from-United Kingdom. The Better Together faction has had to resort to wild economic scaremongering, because it has nothing else to offer. Bizarrely, England is now offering Scotland more power than it had before if it votes No. So, if we vote No, our masters will kindly give us less power than we’ll have if we free ourselves from them by voting Yes?

Such an offer is unsurprising. We’re used to them treating us like idiots.

If we were “better together,” we wouldn’t be having this referendum. Whatever the challenges faced by an independent Scotland (and of course there will be many, most of them unknown to us at this point), it will be better than the best we can hope for if we continue under English rule, as subjects, not citizens. 

There’s a reason England is desperately pressuring Scotland not to split. But Scotland doesn’t need England. Scotland doesn’t need the National Health Service and education to be privatized. Scotland doesn’t need to be a warehouse for American nuclear weapons.

Scotland has had centuries under English rule, and has been robbed, lied to and abused all along, “bought and sold for English gold” as Burns had it. For the 29 years I lived there, Scotland had no future, and little tangible past, only an oppressive present.

The future can begin now.

Are you voting in the Scottish independence referendrum? If not, how would you vote?

To vote in this referendum, you have to be resident in Scotland, so I’m ineligible. If I were there, I would vote Yes, and I fervently hope that the majority of Scots do.  I’m going to post something about why tomorrow.