We Endorse the United Kingdom on Principle,
not the Nationalist Frame of "the status quo"
In October 2014 we will be voting to endorse the principle of the United Kingdom as a good thing. We will not be voting for "the status quo". We will not be voting because we happen to like, or dislike, the temporary political practises of the moment, says Alistair McConnachie.
Posted 26 October 2012.
This article is another in our series on using the correct language to back up the correct political action.
"Independence or the Status Quo"
Nationalists like to claim that the choice we will face in October 2014 is between "independence or the status quo."
They like to use that expression because "the status quo" makes the opposing choice seem bland, boring, unexciting and uninspiring. It is a deliberate Nationalist "frame". We have discussed framing here.
According to Chambers 20th Century, the "status quo" means the "existing condition".
In the sense in which the Nationalists are trying to use it here, it means, the existing political condition.
Nationalists are hoping that some people will take a look at the present political condition and vote to end the UK simply on the basis that they don't like the Coalition government at the moment, or they disagree with the bankers' bail out, or they don't like the latest policy to come out of Westminster, or on the basis of any other short-term, temporary political irritation.
Voting on the Basis of Short-Term Irritation rather than Long-Term Forethought
That is, the Nationalists are hoping that people will vote on the basis of the present short-term political practises which they see, rather than the overall long-term principle of the United Kingdom.
Voting for, or against, something because you happen to like it, or dislike it, at that moment, is not a principled position. It shows no sense, or care for, the big long-term picture. It displays only a petty obsession with one's own political prejudices, and no tolerance for the political opinions of others.
It is like saying, "I support the Union while Labour is in power, but I don't support it when the Conservatives are in power." And it is like those (undemocratic) Nationalists who support breaking away only because they think it will mean that there will never be a Tory government in a separate Scotland (regardless of the fact that Tories in Scotland have over 400,000 supporters).
Whatever may be the rights and wrongs of the present (and temporary) Coalition government, they should have no bearing upon our choice in 2014. The existing political condition of the moment is a temporary thing, which is subject to constant change. Politically, conditions are always in a state of flux. (In that sense, even for the Nationalists to refer to it as "the status quo" is not really accurate.) There will be another General Election in 2015, and many more thereafter. The political choices, and policies, and opportunities, will change as they always do.
We should not vote against the Union because we dislike the Coalition anymore than we should vote to stay in the UK because we like the Coalition. We are not voting to "endorse" the present government, or its policies, or another possible Tory or Labour one in 2015.
What we Are Voting to Endorse
What we are voting for is the structure within which these temporary and changing conditions exist. That is, we are voting for the United Kingdom.
It is upon the principle of the United Kingdom, that we shall be voting. Either we believe in it, or we do not.
And we can believe in the UK for a variety of reasons, and we can do so from a variety of personal identities...but it is the principle that we are voting to endorse, not the political practises of the moment - some of which we may consider good or bad, and which are, in any case, always changing.
Among many things bound up in the principle of the United Kingdom, which we will be voting to endorse is the idea that 4 nations can join together in a bigger, greater, more effective one - and bind their futures intimately, and successfully, with each other. That what we have in common is greater than any differences there may be, and that any differences can be comfortably accomodated within the UK. That working together within the UK will create greater opportunities for us all in the future, and will allow us to most successfully face the challenges which will come our way. That in our common effort together, through the years and decades and centuries to come, we can ensure that the United Kingdom remains, and becomes an even better, stronger, more effective force for good in the world.
Moreover, as our history has shown, all this can be done without losing any of our Scottish identity. That, as Alistair Darling has said, "Loving Scotland does not mean leaving the United Kingdom".
The Beginning of the End
So, to conclude, we need to be on our toes whenever we hear it said that the choice is between "independence or the status quo."
We need to be on our toes whenever we hear it said that we are "the people who are voting for the status quo", or that we are "the people who support the status quo."
We are not voting for "the status quo", or the current political practises of its politicians.
We are voting on principle for the United Kingdom.
The choice is between separation or the United Kingdom, and we are the people who support the United Kingdom.
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You can find out more about Alistair at the About Alistair McConnachie page. And here is a link to Alistair McConnachie's Google Profile.