Declaration of Independence?

Declaration of Independence!

What do the words evoke?

Certainly strong emotions.

The image that comes to mind is of the group of individuals who put together such a declaration in America some 235 years ago – made up of eminent statesmen, academics and business men – determined to create a truly free and democratic society in their country and fundamentally safeguard the basic rights and freedoms of its ordinary citizens.

In particular there is that potent sentence…..

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

This is still the foundation of all Human Rights legislation that is in place today.

It is powerful stuff.

The Declaration of Arbroath has also been cited as a Declaration of Independence but it must not be taken out of context.

In the words of Wikipedia……

“The Declaration was part of a broader diplomatic campaign which sought to assert Scotland’s position as a kingdom, rather than being a feudal land controlled by England’s Norman kings.”

It was not a document written by a group of citizens in a democratic country where each of its citizens has an equal say in a union of nations – with the nation itself regarded as an equal partner in that union.

What was delivered on Friday 25th May 2012 was a far different document.

Its language is far less lofty and visionary than its predecessors, reflecting perhaps that this attempt to break up the United Kingdom is not a struggle where an oppressed nation is breaking free from the shackles of its oppressor.
Nonetheless, we are being asked to sign up to it. A million signatures is the target. But what in fact are we being asked to sign up to?

Here it is in full…………

“I believe that it is fundamentally better for us all, if decisions about Scotland’s future are taken by the people who care most about Scotland, that is, by the people of Scotland.

Being independent means Scotland’s future will be in Scotland’s hands.

There is no doubt that Scotland has great potential. We are blessed with talent, resources and creativity. We have the opportunity to make our nation a better place to live, for this and future generations. We can build a greener, fairer and more prosperous society that is stronger and more successful than it is today.

I want a Scotland that speaks with her own voice and makes her own unique contribution to the world: a Scotland that stands alongside the other nations on these isles, as an independent nation.”

Let’s look at it in detail

“I believe that it is fundamentally better for us all, if decisions about Scotland’s future are taken by the people who care most about Scotland, that is, by the people of Scotland.”

I don’t think there is anything contentious with this statement but there is nothing in this that cannot be achieved by Scotland remaining in the UK. We are already appropriately represented in the UK parliament and many powers have been devolved already to our own administration (in Scotland with Scottish MSPs) and the Scotland Bill is further extending these.

“Being independent means Scotland’s future will be in Scotland’s hands.”

The comments already given above on the previous paragraph stand equally in contradiction to this.
Much of Scotland’s future is already in Scotland’s hands. Maybe more than would be in our hands, should we be independently in Europe, because we would be a small easily out-voted Member State – even if that didn’t involve being part of the Eurozone.

“There is no doubt that Scotland has great potential. We are blessed with talent, resources and creativity. We have the opportunity to make our nation a better place to live, for this and future generations. We can build a greener, fairer and more prosperous society that is stronger and more successful than it is today.”

We can see nothing in that that cannot be achieved by a Scotland within the United Kingdom. We are talking about the impact of the vision, talents, resource, aims and priorities of the Scottish people themselves here and what that can achieve. This does not alter dependent on whether these Scots happen to leave the United Kingdom or not. Surely the people remain the same regardless of their statehood and it is the people, as resource, that we are largely talking about here

“I want a Scotland that speaks with her own voice and makes her own unique contribution to the world: a Scotland that stands alongside the other nations on these isles, as an independent nation.”

I would simple rephrase that to:-

“I want a Scotland that speaks with her own voice and makes her own unique contribution to the world: a Scotland that stands alongside the other three equal nations on these isles, as part of the United Kingdom.”

In our opinion we already speak with our own voice around the world and make our own unique contribution to the world – but recognised as being a unique part of the United Kingdom . Anyone that has attended “”Tartan Day” or a Burns Supper around the world will attest to that.

So what is this Declaration of Independence? It certainly contains nothing new that we don’t already have and is hardly a rallying cry to rise up against the oppressor.

It is perhaps just wishful thinking and should be looked at in that light.

Perhaps that is why so few people have rushed to sign it to date.