The ‘Old Age’ problem of Independence

I read a tweet this morning by the excellent Barrhead Boy which said, and I quote

Would any Unionist voter out there please, please explain to me why you would keep supporting a system that literally starves our children?

I wrote back saying, and I quote

Most unionists are protectionists. It’s not queen or UK that stops them voting for independence, its protection of assets’.

When you think about it, that’s exactly what it is.  Protectionism is, in my opinion, defined by someone who doesn’t embrace change through fear of loss (be it control, financial, moral etc.).

That loss can be in many different forms.  If I circle back to my own family situation I can try and describe it better.


My mother and father are in their early seventies.  Both are well off and have been successful business people.  They are both Tory voters and have always been Tory voters, although I will say this, my mother did not vote for Brexit (which I was most grateful for), however my father did.  Both are against independence.

I have discussed many times with them, or at least tried too…nowadays I just don’t talk politics because of the condescending tone in which they refer to independence and the SNP.

On previous discussions with them, independence has been referred to as a ‘threat’, Trump as an ‘excellent person’, Theresa May as an ‘excellent speaker’ and Brexit as ‘good for their grandchildren’.

All of these statements imply protectionism.  They do not imply opportunity.

We all know that the majority of over 55’s do not want independence.  Many unionist supporters may say that it’s because they ‘think we are better together’, the problem is that they don’t think that, they repeat that.  They are not true thinkers, they are absorbers.

The over 55’s are complicit in their way of life and they view their way of life as a life they need to keep control of.  I get that.  I see the argument for not changing it up too much.  They have their children and grandchildren to think of.  They have their pensions to think of.  They are not young and adventurous and able to build that ‘money pot’ back up like they could if they were 30.

The problem is, for me anyway, I would sacrifice any inheritance from them if they were to vote ‘Yes’ to independence.

I am being genuine when I say that.

Money is not what independence is about to me.  It’s about opportunity for my children and grandchildren.  Money only buys choices, not happiness.

Independence is analogous to when you were 18.

Think back to when you were 18, or there about.  It was a liberating time.  It was a time of freedom.  It came with responsibilities but the freedom overruled that responsibility.

Being over 55 certainly comes with freedom, but the sense of responsibility is far greater because you have learned to accept that with freedom comes responsibility.  At 18, you don’t think like this.

This is where the protectionism comes in.

When you are over 55 and faced with the choice of freedom but greater responsibility, or being 18 and faced with the same thing, the 18 year old will accept that freedom more readily because the things they are protecting are not established.

Cracking the ‘nut’ of getting over 55’s to embrace independence as a step to a better life for their children and grandchildren will be an almost impossible task.  I cannot convince my own parents to do it for me and their grandchildren, so the SNP are NEVER going to do it on my behalf.

Brexit will not do it for them, Trump will not do it for them and Theresa May will not do it for them.  The reason nothing will do it for them is because at 70 odd years old, 50 years of indoctrination cannot be overturned if there is even one shred of doubt that their control could be lost.

Why else do you think Brexit, the Tories and Trump are about ‘taking back control’?

They want the aged amongst us who have a greater sense of responsibility to accept that they have been losing control all this time and that there are people who can take it back for them.

The thing is, it is a rouse.  It always has been and always will be.

It’s saddening to see that my parents will not see past this.  The protectionism they put up will not be affected by independence.  They will still own their house, pensions and have control of their destiny.  Taking back control and voting against independence is doing the exact opposite of what they are trying to achieve.

They are protecting the very thing that is stripping them of the things they are trying to protect.

Maybe one day they will vote for independence, maybe…but I won’t hold my breath!



15 thoughts on “The ‘Old Age’ problem of Independence

  1. Interesting article. I started to write a post disagreeing with your conclusion, and the more I wrote, the more I found I agreed with you!

    I am the same age as your parents, but was brought up in a strong Labour household with aspirations for me. My husband likewise in a Tory household, but rejected politics in his early 20s, and over the years has been a floating voter, when he did in fact vote. He has always had a republican streak, and a feeling that Scotland should make decisions for itself. I thought the idea of Scotland being Independent was ridiculous. After all we were Great Britain, part of a whole.

    I got involved in politics in my mid teens, voted Labour, latterly reluctantly, until the Indyref campaign when I suddenly had a sense of possibilities, that the principles of fairness and social justice were actually possible. I was shocked beyond belief at the unionist campaign at the lies and obfuscations, at the companies and businesses trotted out to say they would leave Scotland should it become Independent. The threat of leaving the EU gave me a bit of a jolt, but my head said that too was probably an empty threat as we complied with all the regulations.

    The final nails in the union coffin for me were firstly David Cameron’s immediate announcement of EVEL and my former party’s blocking of all the powers recommended by the Smith Commission. I haven’t voted for Labour since and will never do so again. Meanwhile, my husband has found politics at 71! It now speaks to him thanks to the SNP in a way that it never did before. It also helped that both our children were also pro-Indy.

    What has made the difference for us? What made us willing to give up our 50+ years of programming to embrace something that others see as insecure? Open minds? A willingness to consider alternatives? I’m not sure. I know that for both of us, our sense of responsibility led us to believe, in my case for the first time, that Scotland’s future growth and development as a nation depended on independence. I don’t think it was the SNP per se that made that change, but they are certainly the vehicle for it to happen.

    What would make the change for your parents? Possibly nothing. But the fact that your mother voted to Remain might be a start!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I really appreciate your comment. Yes there may be hope for my mother as she has retracted her ‘Trump is excellent’ comment for ‘He is just as bad as the rest of them’. So maybe you are right, she did not support Brexit, she now dislikes Trump, maybe one day she will support an independent Scotland.

      It is nice to read your comment from your standpoint and i have absorbed what you have to say on it.

      Thnak you again.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. If I can cheer you up a little: my husband is 76 and English and I will be 70 next birthday. Both of us are very active for Independence.
    I was a confirmed No voter until I did my own research and had no time for the SNP. As a young woman I couldn’t stand Alex Salmond and never thought for a moment that Scotland should be independent, I was British first Scottish second and suffered a real dose of the Scottish Cringe!
    My husband was an ardent Yes supporter and with his encouragement really looked at the facts not the propaganda.
    If I can change my mind so can your parents.

    I was recently at a Yes Mid Argyll meeting, there were 18 of us. Amazingly 9 men and 9 women and the majority were over 60! As one man commented the demographic was all wrong.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I am 70 too and like many others was mainly a Labour voter for much of my life. Idon’t really know what my parents voted although I suspect my mother may have started Tory and changed to Lib-Dem. My father was a GP who totally believed In the NHS and refused to take private patients; so think he would have been Labour but I’m sure he’d be SNP were hevslive now.

    I went to a fee paying school and we own our own house, as do all of my friends but with very few exceptions, all of my over 60 friends support independence despite being very much in the “protectionist” demographic. Hopefully with the Brexit shambles our numbers will grow even more.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are the 4th person to reply in such a way. It is interesting to see that this blog post has opened up dicussion about the possibility of an apparent increase in over 55s voting for independence.

      Glad i wrote this blog post as it has increased my faith in an over 50% vote for Yes come indyref2.


  4. I am 66 and my partner is 60. Both of us vote SNP and yes for independence. Whilst my partner has little interest in politics (she gets scunnered when I start talking about events), I, since retirement, find the evolving situations invigorating. Most of my adult working life has been, to varying degrees, about creating change or managing change and I still get that buzz from continually striving to better things, anything, but civic/social issues in particular.
    Independence and a chance to look outwards to differing partnerships, Nordic Council, EFTA, etc. are, to me, as exciting as leaving home when 16, what an experience.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. My mum is in her seventies but she stays in England she was against independence but she thought that Scotland would have border and that she wouldn’t be able to get visits from all of her family due to press coverage in England couldn’t vote my dad however will be 77 next week and he voted for independence but he did it because his grandsons all have kids and he wanted them to grow up in a free country my mum now wishes she could vote and she looking to try and move back to Scotland so she can I should say she was born and brought up in Scotland

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I too have turned 70. I spent many years in the forces, until I was 30, in 1977. Up to that time, I would have never thought of Scotland as being anything other than an integral part of the UK. Shortly after I left the forces, Mrs Thatcher came to power, and I gradually began to look again at Scotland’s place within the union and it began to dawn on me that far from being an “equal” union, Scotland was merely “useful” to Westminster.
    With that in mind, I looked further and as the internet grew, it became possible to see other points of view that didn’t come tainted with bias, from the “establishment” owned MSM and the controlled BBC.
    I voted against Devolution in the first referendum in the late 1970s, but was angered by the “40%” rule that was imposed to skew the result in the establishment’s favour…. I wished after that that I had voted “for”.

    I have no doubt that Scotland will become Independent again, despite the mendacity of Westminster politics. I only hope that it will be before I pass on. That would be a great joy!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I am 64. In 2012, I was an unthinking No voter, until I looked into a course through Future Learn, which was run by Edinburgh University. What I learned from the politics professionals was eye opening. The course was balanced and unbiased, just VERY revealing about how Westminster treats the countries in the Union which are not England! I voted Yes and was devastated at the result in 2014. I have three distinct groups of friends, all in my age bracket. two of which are in Edinburgh, both those groups voted No and would again. My friends who live abroad are all pro-indy! My mother is 89 and did not vote in the 2014 referendum due to being completely bamboozled by the guff coming from Better Together. After she and I had a few discussions and I introduced her to the National, (she does not have anything to do with computers!) she is now profoundly pro-indy. I sunscribe to several facebook groups, all over 60s who are pro-independence, so over 60s are in favour, they just have to work hard to convince the feardies.

    Liked by 1 person

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