On Scotland and the Scottish

My name is Harbour, and I am a 27 year old Scottish single mother and I will be writing a blog following the Scottish Independence Referendum. Why, you ask? Well, apart from a dearth of articles about this on gawker (bar the sarcastic), I feel that as a Scot I can provide valuable insight into why Scotland is even considering independence, why it is important and how even the fact we are voting on it in the first place will affect future generations.

So was I born a Scot? Actually, no. I was born in Surrey, one of the most Englishest places ever, and stayed there for the first year or so of my life. My parents met in a hospital, a Scouser porter and a Scottish nurse, fell in love and married fairly quickly afterwards. (No, not because of me, I came along 3 years later) They then moved to Scotland, popped out three more kids, and my mum is now a Primary School teacher and my dad provides maintenance for buildings while taking as many tea/fag breaks as he can without raising suspicion.

Our family, mainly consisting of mum's extended family, is concentrated all within the same area. The area itself is pretty poor, like a lot of working class Scotland: lots of insecure employment, NEETs (young people Not in Education, Employment or Training), poverty, alcohol and drug abuse, violence and a general lack of aspiration pervades the area like a smog that just won't shift. Politically, like much of Scotland, our area is traditionally considered a Labour seat, meaning relatively left-wing. However this does little good in the General UK Election: our seats are considered so safe that an individual vote is worth next to nothing in the First Past the Post system. A lot of locals switched from Labour to the Liberal Democrats in the last election but found themselves sorely disappointed when the Coalition with the Tories (right-wing and very much hated in Scotland) was formed.

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There is no love lost between Tories and Scotland. Since Thatcher, the Tory vote has dwindled to an almost negligible amount in Scotland. While you meet the odd one (I once accidentally went on a date with one, but that is a story for another time) the joke is that there are more Pandas in Scotland (2) than Tory MPs (1). On the surface it is hilarious, but now we have a Tory government based 400-odd miles away making decisions about an area where they were not voted for. Which, as you can imagine, rankles the locals a bit.

I think it has been this Return of the Tories (like Return of the Jedis except with less light sabres and more of muppetesque MPs) that has galvanised the SNP (Scottish National Party) voters. Initially considered protest vote (ie, Scottish people, pissed off at the Westminster parties, voted for a Scottish party), have now been voted in as the leading party two Scottish elections in a row with an increasing number of votes. What will happen next remains to be seen, but it is increasingly an exciting time in Scottish politics, something which my family never thought they'd say.

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