Scottish independence isn’t just about sovereignty and power being moved from London to Edinburgh. Albeit this principle is in itself enough for me to vote and campaign for a Yes majority it isn’t for, perhaps, a majority of the Scottish people. It is in my opinion that people need to be aware that a Yes vote could radically change the type of society they live in a whole host of ways. I believe that the Yes campaign needs to centre itself around this if it is to win the referendum.
I have no doubts that an independent Scotland would deliver from its first elected government in 2016 administrations that wish to champion social justice and create a more equal society. This is most evident when we examine the 2011 Scottish Parliament general election. At the last Scottish Parliament elections in 2011 81.46% of the electorate voted for either the SNP, Scottish Labour or the Green party*. These three parties are all in general categorised by the fact they are to the left, in varying degrees, of the political spectrum. An independent Scotland would see governments who would be progressive and match the aspirations that the people have. In particular I envision a Scottish Labour party in an independent Scotland being far more radical and progressive than it currently is. It will no longer have to toe the party line in London which has been centred upon capturing Tory voters in the south of England for decades.
One of the first major policies an independent Scottish government would be the removal of nuclear weapons from Scotland. This would be a progressive beacon to the governments of Europe and the world. It would boost anti-nuclear campaigners across the globe and at the same time give a hammer blow to the ‘UK’ government (The government of England, Wales and Northern Ireland) as nowhere else on the UK, bar Faslane, is suitable for the Trident nuclear missile programme. Furthermore in terms of war and defence I believe an independent Scotland would be better off out of the UK. Without a shadow of a doubt I believe an independent Scotland would be far less likely to be involved in an illegal foreign war such as Iraq which seen thousands, hundreds of thousands, of people dying over a pack of lies from London and Washington.
Through devolution already we have seen how progressive a Scottish Parliament can be. Since it was reconvened the parliament has been a beacon for the rest of the UK. In its short history we have seen an end to warrant sales and bridge tolls. The parliament has also increased apprenticeships, free bus travel and care for the elderly, outlawed smoking in enclosed public spaces, free prescriptions and protected our NHS from the privatisation drive that is happening from Westminster. Furthermore, since devolution Scotland has been at the forefront our renewable energy in all it’s forms in the battle against climate change. And now Scotland looks set to be the first part of the UK to legalise same-sex marriage. The progressive beacon is being lighted once again.
You have to ask yourself are we more likely to see progressive policies and achieve a better society through independence or keeping the status quo? I have no doubt that it is the first. A yes vote in 2014 will be the beginning of a walk down a progressive path to social justice and fighting inequality. The union has failed Scotland. 52% of children in Springburn, Glasgow, live in poverty. Only by having access to all our revenue streams can we seriously tackle our social problems. Let’s build a better Scotland.
I am a republican and as such I’d like to see a Scottish republic. I ask those republicans who, at present, do not support independence: Are we more likely to see a Scottish Republic or a UK republic?
While we are chained within the union our aspirations will always be less likely, verging on the impossible to take place. With independence we have the chance to build a better society to live in. One were you aren’t condemned to a life of the likes of unemployment. I fully believe that independence can be the catalyst for change.
* This percentage is calculated when you combine the constituency vote of SNP and Labour with the list vote of the Green party.