Transcribe of speech given at Falkirk Yes event on Sunday 7th of September 2014.
I am a feminist. An internationalist. A Scot. A Brit. A European. I am a Green Party activist and a member of National Collective.
And I’m voting Yes.
As a Green, I could tell you the opportunities and gains of a yes vote through the language and lens of Green party policy, of facts and figures, of belief in action and evidence, and why we – the Greens – believe that a yes vote is the best way to secure a fairer, more democratic, sustainable Scotland, and world.
As a creative, I could tell you why I believe in National Collective’s vision of ‘Imagining a Better Scotland’, and why I advocate their invitation to the people of Scotland to engage in one of the bravest creative acts of all – creating a new nation.
I could tell you these things, but I’m not going to.
I’m going to tell you about some of the people I’m voting Yes for.
I’m voting Yes for my mum.
My mum, who is voting for the first time in 17 years. That’s how long it’s been since her staunch Labour supporting dad – my Grandad, a miner – died. She’s voting yes, because in her own words – ‘she’s aw furrit’, because it ‘canny get any worse’. For the first time in her life she’s found a politics that reflects the needs and wishes of her and her community, Fallin, the ex-mining village I grew up in. She’s found voice, she is empowered. She has her Yes sticker proudly displayed on her living room window.
For my wee mum, I’m voting Yes.
I’m voting Yes for my twin nephews.
Two wee identical baby boys who are just about 6 months old. With one in five of Scotland’s children living and growing up in poverty, my nephews are two of those children. Children whose parents, despite one of them being in employment, have had to rely on foodbanks on more than one occasion to provide their family meal. Children who like far too many in our communities are currently facing a life expectancy equivalent to that of the Gaza strip.
For those two wee boys and even half a chance of a more equal and socially just Scotland, and a better future for them, I’m voting Yes.
I’m voting Yes for my brother.
My brother who is proud dad to those two wee boys. My brother who is currently battling with a heroin addiction. As third generation unemployed in our de-industrialised Scotland his life captures the epidemic that is widespread substance misuse of young and old as we numb ourselves from the pain of inequality and a system that works for the few, not the many. A system where the vulnerable are vilified and all too often the only route to recovery is a jail sentence.
For my brother and his hope and determination to make a better life for himself, his family, and for his sons – for him – I’m voting Yes.
I’m voting Yes for my dad.
My dad who lives in the North East of England, in the ex-mining village of Murton, where I was born and spent the first 6 years of my life – yes, I’m English. A man whose wife and kids left him in the wake of violent behavior, a reality all too well known in our families and communities – another symptom of the structural inequalities of our time. I believe a vote for Scottish independence is the greatest chance we have to dismantle the British state and leverage change to transform not only our communities here in Scotland, but to bring power to and transform communities across England and the rest of Britain.
For my dad and all of my family in the North East – my Geordie’s – I’m voting Yes.
I’m voting Yes for all of my female friends, relatives, colleagues and neighbours – the 51%.
The 51% who at the moment have only 22% representation at Westminster. In actual fact, there are currently more millionaires than women in our Westminster cabinet.
I’m going to repeat that again, as I think it’s worth contemplating.
There are currently more millionaires – than women – in our Westminster cabinet.
Millionaires are the 1%. We are the 51%. For the opportunity of a politics, parliament and society that better reflects and responds to the voices and needs of women – a society that is shaped by our re-awakening, creativity, vibrancy and determination within this movement for independence.
For every woman in here tonight, and every woman reading this.
For you, I’m voting Yes.
I’m voting Yes for myself.
The idealist. The dreamer. The grafter. The young activist who last May was arrested for blockading Faslane – the site of the whole of the UK’s nuclear weapons stock – weapons of mass destruction – only an hour up the road.
The activist who sat on a road singing songs of peace, demanding a better country and world for us all – a country that invests in people, in education, in healthcare – not in weapons of mass destruction and illegal wars. An activist who was that day charged with breach of the peace. I think nuclear weapons are a far bigger breach of our peace!
For myself, and my spirit of believing in better and working to make it happen, I’m voting Yes.
I’m voting Yes for all of the activists, dreamers and grafters around the world.
The Internationalists who are at this very moment watching and waiting to see if we – the people of Scotland – will vote yes and deliver our gift to them, to the world. A newly independent nation, free of nuclear weapons. A beacon for peace.
For all of those activists, and people around the globe working for change, dreaming of a better world for us all – for them, I’m voting Yes.
I’m voting Yes for my generation.
Known as Generation Y. A generation who are faced with solving seemingly insurmountable problems we did not create – the real security issues of our time – food security, energy security, digital privacy, climate change, rampant capitalism.
We are the first generation in Europe since the first wold war that will be less well off than our parents. We are regarded my many as disillusioned, apathetic, a lost generation. Yet we are the generation of occupy, and mass social media movements. In Scotland Generation Y has become Generation Yes! Our consciousness is raised, and we are armed with knowledge and information like never before. We will continue to be the ones to poke and prod our future governments and institutions, always demanding better.
Not only are we imagining our better Scotland, we’re the generation who will build it.
For all of our young people, for my generation, I’m voting Yes.
Regardless of the outcome on the 19th – even though we know it will be a Yes vote – in many ways, we have already won. We have raised the consciousness of a nation, and politicised a generation. Nothing will ever be the same again.
Politics has changed the people and the people are now changing politics.
I urge you all – please – after the 18th, lets not go back to sleep.
A yes vote is only the beginning. We must continue to roll up our sleeves, engage with politics, and build the Scotland and world we’re all dreaming of.
It’s up to us all to make it happen.
Just to finish, I want you think about the people that stand behind Better Together – Labour Party, Torys, UKIP.
Now think about the people who stand behind Yes – Greens, Socialists, National Collective, Women for Independence, Asians for Independence, Radical Independence – the list goes on.
On September the 19th – who’s party would you rather be at?
I look forward to partying with you all on the 19th of September in our independent Scotland!
Photo: Simon Baker / Documenting Yes