Margo MacDonald: I’ve still got faith in bright young things

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How did I feel about the news that so few young Scots had the courage of my convictions? Deflated, temporarily. The objective of the Better Together campaign, from captain Alastair Darling MP down, is to remind Scots that we’ve the best of both worlds if we continue to allow the important decisions about our future to be taken 400 miles away from Granny’s Heilan’ hame, in London.

The “both worlds” refer to Scotland being known for her distinctive nationhood amongst other nations when trading, competing at sports, or claiming credit for the part played by Scots in establishing America as a nation.

Scotland’s “other world” is the cop-out of failing to accept the responsibility of being a nation when it comes to the hard choices made by all countries. These young people see much of the world through their parents’ eyes, and whether due to the pressures of living in a declining society or otherwise, they imbibe the option to let the UK do the heavy lifting. At this point, Scots of a different stamp from my own sometimes attempt a pathetic justification, along the lines of their belief in Scotland doing better if we work as England’s partner.

It’s sad that they should fool themselves that our contribution to the common good is enhanced by being a part of a bigger, better, driver. That may have been more true for our forebears, although thankfully not for all of them, but the notion of standing down from exercising responsibility as Scotland because British is best was on the way out even before the Beatles redefined Britishness for foreigners.

It would be ironic, if not tragic, if there was no time and space for tomorrow’s Scots to realise that the guaranteed secure future and successful careers which were described by one young interviewee as the reason for the huge majority of her peers opting for the modesty of having their future chosen for them, can come instead by making it themselves.

On the very day that should have been an explosion of flaming youth, what sidled on to the front pages but a colourless account of what Scotland’s youth expected from its country. Fine by me, because I don’t believe all those promising 16 to 18-year-olds are completely devoid of imagination. Why shouldn’t most of them respond to the same call as the young Americans did when President Jack Kennedy encouraged them to “say what they could do for their country instead of asking what their country could do for them”?

These apprentice democrats haven’t yet learned from their parents’ example. They think that the least the boat is rocked, the better. Wrong. When the boat won’t move, some stuff has to be chucked off: for 40 years now the UK has tried to spread its spending and other resources in “the regions”. It’s been a failure. Firstly, capital and revenue for London and the south-east of England were effectively top-sliced, and the allocations to ”the regions” were balanced against each other to try to even out the productivity and, of course, household income.

As a result, after the banking upheaval, and the mountain of debt accumulated by British governments (“Better Together?” Aye, right.) are analysed, they promise a steadily declining economic performance for the UK, with all the attendant loss of social services.

Surely the bright young things weighing up the most important vote they’ll ever cast will choose hope and determination to succeed in a country reborn rather than the assured mediocrity of the same old story . . . from London.

Just be careful what you wish for . .

Thanks to the lyin’ cheatin’ double-dealin’ of some Westminster MPs (young voters, please take note, MPs not MSPs) the old chestnuts about how to get rid of shabby representatives has been brought out on display yet again.

There’s a call for a new law which would allow the recall of MSPs and MPs who are judged to be falling down on the job by their constituents. There is what might appear to be a clear example of this in a case presently in the initial stages of changing the MP. People who’ve been offended by this situation would like the chance to effectively punish one of the people they consider to have lowered standards and endangered the people they represent.

The call this time seems to be strongest for a citizen’s recall. The feelings against a ropey MP must be focused and organised by the constituents in a ballot of all voters in that area. But before you jump on to the bandwagon, think about it. How many signatures would be needed to force an MP out? How would over-zealous party enthusiasts be prevented from abusing it?