With just two days left for the Scottish independence referendum, excitement is building up, with events at times taking on a bizarre if hilarious turn. A group of Labour MPs (about half the Labour shadow cabinet) arriving in Glasgow to campaign for Scotland to remain in the union found themselves heckled by a man in a rickshaw who blared the Imperial Death March from Star Wars.
“People of Glasgow, this is your imperial masters… Say hello to your imperial masters. These lovely people, they have travelled all the way from England to tell us they are better to rule us than anybody else, our imperial masters. People of Glasgow your imperial masters have arrived.”
One of the MPs, believed to be a Labour shadow minister, is heard responding to the trailing heckler: “Don’t be silly!”
Nobody was arrested.
But behind the energy and the buzz on the streets, the issues are serious. Is there hope for the people of Scotland in the union or are they better off on their own? Will they be able to influence government policy in London or will a government in Scotland be more responsive to local needs? Or does the answer lie somewhere in between: greater autonomy and devolution of powers? These are questions that are relevant beyond the borders of Scotland and the UK.
In fact, would almost half the population of Scotland even be considering independence if they were happy with the (neoliberal) economic, defence (think of the Trident missiles) and foreign (which includes military adventures overseas) policy coming out of Westminster?
For a feel of the grassroots buzz on the streets of Scotland ahead of the referendum, check out this blog post.