Bury Free Press, 12th September 2014
As a 17-year old left-wing liberal, living in the Conservative-dominated East of England can be a source of frustration. I can’t vote, but even if I could, I would be unlikely to rattle the stronghold of the Tories in one of their safest seats. In effect, my vote wouldn’t make a difference.
That’s just how democracy works. We elect the majority’s choice in each area, and if you’re part of the minority, that’s tough. The solution for those of us who vote the ‘wrong’ way is to campaign harder, canvass more, and focus on politics at a national level, where Labour can have a real impact.
The solution for those of us who disagree with the Government is not – as the SNP would have me believe – to cast aside the UK, establish my own government, set off a economic landslide and run street campaigns about how much more cultural identity I have than my next-door neighbour.
Because really, I need the UK. I can overlook my constituency’s politics because I like having a burgundy passport, getting free healthcare and having time off school when the Royals get married. I’m happy to be British.
That’s why, at the Scottish referendum next week, voters should end the frenzy, forget their blazingly nationalist merchandise and be real about independence. Even the most enraged Scotsman with his tartan banner wasn’t alive in 1707 when the Union was formed. We’ve never experienced anything other than being together. The Yes-voting Scottish and I have something in common: we’re upset with politics. We should stick together, not split up.
So to my Westminster-hating neighbours, I say this: next Thursday, don’t excuse your anger with nationalism. Instead, cherish it; use it to stay and change Union politics for the better.