The result is that we, people who should be on the same side in delivering better solutions to the people of our country, are wasting most of our political energy in fighting each other. It's most frustrating.
I was reminded of this attitude when a blogger called McGonagall expressed a similar view from a nationalist perspective here. Then I came across a much better argued post by Stuart Winton on Planet Politics. This led me to a post by Lallands Peat Worrier, one of the more cerebral bloggers (at least he uses long words) who is, I believe, of the nationalist persuasion.
Stuart Winton eleoquently makes the point that nationalists tend to see independence as an aim in itself, with no clear picture of what will follow, what the problems of transition will be, how they will be addressed and how independence will make a better society. LPW uses language which I find interesting. He asks:
"Some might well suggest that SNP claims that we're for Scotland lacks ideological definition. Surely the vital question is, what sort of Scotland are we for?"Which is where I find a real difference in my approach. If I was posing the question it would be;
"Surely the vital question is, what sort of society do we want to deliver for our people? And what is the best way to do that within existing resources and within a reasonable time frame"The real difference in emphasis here is not on the type of society we wish to deliver, (I don't think that there is much difference beween the society I would wish to see and the society your average SNP voter would wish to see), it's on the fundamental thinking used as expressed in the language used.
I find it interesting to look at how nationalists frame every question around the concept of "Scotland". What they mean by "Scotland" is never defined. "Independence for Scotland" "A better Scotland" and too often, I'm afraid, their opponenets are "traitors to Scotland". Whereas I would rather that politics concentrated on the people. "A Scotland which is better for the people to live in" is for me a much better objective of politics than vague ideas about an undefined concept. After all what is "Scotland"? It's a plastic concept, it means different things to different people. Its very vagueness is a strength for those who wish to emotionalise debate and shrink from argument and evidence, never mind hard decisions.
I would rather work for the people, a simple and recognisable entity. And I would rather work for them now. When you do that, it becomes much clearer: no need to wait for "independence" before we deliver Utopia. Indeed no need for any Utopia. We can work together, in the here and now, to deliver real solutions in the real world. Of course it won't be perfect, but neither will "independence", if it ever comes. But at least we will be working now, and addressing real problems now. We might fail or be only partially successful, but at least we will do it now, not in some unspecified period of time, after god knows what sequence of events, or the costs of those events.
And we will do it for ourselves and our people, not for some undefinable entity called "Scotland" which means anything, everything or nothing, depending on how you feel at any particular time.