The Mathematics of Scottish Independence

Recently an English friend that I haven’t seen in ages suggested that I might hate all things English. I suspect that she thinks that because of all the pro Scottish Independence stuff I post on Facebook. I felt hurt at first but then I realised that it’s not her fault. The London based media has been lying to her about the Scottish Independence movements for years.

Yes I said movements. As in it’s not just the SNP. The Green party is pro independence, so are the various socialist parties. There are pro independent Labour supporters. There are unaffiliated groups like Women for Independence and YesBikers. Most of us don’t hate the English. Particularly not English Scots For Yes – a group of English born people who are vocal in their support for independence and their belief in an inclusive future for Scotland.

Of course that proves nothing. There are pro Trump gay republicans but that doesn’t change the homophobic and transphobic nature of his administration. Saying that some English people are pro-independence therefore it’s not anti-English is like saying that you can’t be racist because you have a black friend.

I’d like my English readers to put their preconceived notions about the SNP and Scottish Nationalism and the Union to one side for a moment and look at the maths.

  1. The first past the post system used for Westminster elections inevitably skews to a two party system.
  2. The Scottish electorate is too small to influence who wins at a Westminster election
  3. Since the Scottish electorate can’t get them into power the Westminster parties have no reason to pay attention to the needs of the Scottish electorate.
  4. Therefore Scotland puts more into the Union than it gets out.

You don’t have to believe me on the problem with first past the post. Here’s CGP Grey explaining.

 

The Scottish population, and thus electorate is tiny compared to the rest of the UK. If you don’t believe me you only have to look at the last two elections. In each one the whole Scottish electorate could have voted Labour and we would still have a Conservative Government.

This didn’t use to be such a huge problem. The industrial working class in Scotland could make common cause with the workers in north of England and south Wales. Scottish farmers had the same interests as farmers in the rest of the UK. The Peterhead fishing fleet could unite with the fishermen of Cornwall and Suffolk. It’s become a problem because the rest of the UK has swung to the right politically and because advances in polling mean that politicians now know who they have to appeal to in order to win at Westminster and it’s never us.

I know that you’ve been told that Scotland is dependent on the Union. That Scotland is a nation of subsidy junkies. Think about who it is that’s tell you this. The same people that won’t subsidise a spare room for a disabled child’s medical equipment want you to believe that they’re subsidising an entire nation. In the end it doesn’t really matter though. If Scotland is a drain on the rest of the UK then we should be taking responsibility for our own economy and standing on our own feet. If it isn’t then the UK Government has been lying to all of us and basically stealing from Scotland.

In the future these mathematical inequalities will only get worse. Westminster politicians are stuck chasing thinner and thinner slices of the electorate who can actually affect the outcome of the election. Scotland didn’t vote for Brexit and it will probably be  worse for us than for the rest of the UK but we’re stuck with it. See my Tapas Bar post for how that feels. The Scotland that’s depicted in the UK press looks nothing like the Scotland I see when I look around. It’s starting to like the UK government is ramping up to remove powers from the Scottish Government, maybe even get rid of the Scottish Parliament completely.

 

Bonus Maths:  When London hosted the 2012 Olympics the whole of the UK paid for it, including Scotland. The Scottish share of the bill was at least £165 million. When Glasgow hosted the 2014 Commonwealth Games it was paid for by Scotland. The rUK share of the bill was ZERO. The new Queensferry bridge across the Firth of Forth was paid for entirely by the Scottish Government. Scotland is paying towards the cost of the HS2 rail project even though it doesn’t come north of the border and will probably increase travel times from Edinburgh to London. Estimates of the exact share paid by Scottish taxpayers vary and the oft quoted £3.64 billion estimate is from an anti HS2 organisation.

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Diet Update 6

This week I have gained 200g. That’s not a lot. Less than half a pound. But it’s the wrong direction.

It’s particularly galling because I have had a thoroughly miserable week sticking to this fucking diet. I have not gone over on calories but I have been much closer to the line and I did go over on carbs on Friday and Saturday. That could mean that the weight gain is down to to fluid but I’m not going to rely on that.

In the future I need to be more careful with carbs, and I need to work on the assumption that either MyFitnessPal is too generous with calories or there’s stuff I’m eating and forgetting to track and not get too close to the line with Calories.

And I need to drink more coffee. I need to get back into the habit of defaulting to a decaf if I get hungry late at night.

EDIT: I weigh myself on a Monday and then write up the diet update but set it to post on a Wednesday. I do this because no-one else should have to deal with my dietary bitching on a Monday. But it does sometimes mean that the information is out of date by the time it’s posted.

When I weighed myself on Monday my weight was up by 200g. When I got curious and weighed myself on Tuesday it was down by 1.3 kg ( that’s nearly 3lbs). I can’t have lost that much fat in 24 hrs so the difference must be down to fluid. As someone with both lipoedema and lymphoedema I can carry a lot of excess fluid. It could also be down to the difference between having eaten enough carbs to have stored some glycogen and having used up the glycogen and not eaten enough carbs to replenish the stores.

All the Diet posts.

Playlist: Track 5 and 6

Brace yourselves. Lots of video links in this one.

These two tracks go together, not just because the title combination and the swerve from folk rock to trashy pop pleases me but because these are both squad songs. In the real world no crime is ever solved by a single person, though it sometimes seems like that. That’s even more true in my story where each character has only small pieces of a puzzle that they have to assemble together.

Track 5

This is the darker of the two. My characters are in bad places mentally. They’re dealing with the loss of a friend but also with their own problems of physical and mental disability.

Track 6

No I’m not going to defend this choice. It’s my playlist. Fuck you. Fight me.

But seriously. This song is on here because it’s defiant and fun and because it reminds me of this song.

Bonus Track

This is a Tumblr track. I only know it exists because of my Tumblr friends (the RL friends who introduced me to Tumblr and the people I only know through Tumblr). My characters all have Tumblr blogs. Some of the novel is going to be taken directly from their blogs. We’ll get to see events through their eyes and in their own words.

The Project Cecil Playlist Page.

The truth about depression

The worst thing about depression isn’t that it lies. It’s that it keeps telling you uncomfortable truths until you’re too weak to keep saying “so what”.

When my depression tells me that no-one will miss me or that the people I care about will be better off without me I know that it’s lying. No matter how worthless I am they would miss me because they are good people and my death would hurt them because they’d feel like they failed. Clinging on to that has kept me going. I’m not living for me and I haven’t been for years.

When my depression tells me that none of that matters in the grand scheme of things it’s not exactly lying. My life and the lives of everyone I know are meaningless when placed against the span of human history. All of human history is insignificant in the whole history of life on our planet. And that’s just on a local scale. Our whole solar system is not even a mote in the eye of the universe. Sometimes it’s a comforting thought. I am so insignificant that there’s a real limit to how badly I can fuck up.

When my depression tells me that I don’t matter that’s old news. When it tells me that the Universe is huge and ancient but still young and that it’s impossible to conceive of how brief and tiny my life is by comparison I can agree. But when it starts to say that’s also true about everyone I care about then I have a problem. I’m only living because I don’t want to hurt them. But if their pain is unimportant then there’s no reason for me to keep going.

I’m going to stop writing this now. I have no idea if it’s making any sense. The depression is very bad right now and my brain isn’t communicating with itself very well.

Diet Update 5

This week I lost half a kilo (about a pound) and I am already underwhelmed with weight loss after only 4 weigh-ins.

I find the entire process of dieting deeply unsatisfying. It’s expensive, it takes ages, it requires constant vigilance, and it leads to me obsessing about my appearance.

I’d really rather not think about my appearance. I’ve tried very hard to either like how I look or not care that I don’t like how I look. Dieting invariably seems to involve more thinking about how I can’t fix the problems with how I look and I’ve so far failed to fix how I feel about that.

Dieting also means not using food as a painkiller or an antidepressant. It means having to deal with pain, both physical and psychological, that I could avoid if I wasn’t on a fucking diet. And I have to expand precious mental resources working out what to eat rather than say, just having some toast. I find myself just having a cup of coffee to suppress my appetite because then I don’t have to think.

Context is everything. I’m a fat middle aged woman so me deciding to drink coffee rather than eat seems like a neat diet hack. But it’s just as dysfunctional as a skinny teenaged girl doing the same thing. It’s neither healthy nor moderate and it may not be sustainable but who cares because the number on the scale is headed in the right direction.

For more information see Update 4 or the Diet Page.

Playlist: Track 4

This track relates to another character with a traumatic experience of near death by drowning. This character however has developed a much more twisted relationship with water.

This character was much younger when they nearly drowned and the memory has mixed with hazy memories of watching The Little Mermaid while recovering and led them to romanticise the experience.

The song reminds me of the way that mermaids and sirens are used as symbols of dangerous women and their deadly attractions by a culture that pathologizes female desire. It’s also very chilled out which handy for a NaNoWriMo playlist.

Playlist page.

Playlist: Track 3

This song takes me into the psyche of one of my main characters.

This character has traumatic memories of nearly drowning. This person also often feels like they are metaphorically drowning in their own body and sometimes feels the pull towards non-existence that is not quite being suicidal but also not quite not.

The drowning experience forms a link with another character that I’ll be touching on with the next track.

Playlist Page where this all gets explained.