I’m not a nationalist, I wasn’t even born in Scotland and I won’t be voting SNP at any point in the near future.
I’m pro “union” in the sense of equal cooperation between people, between “states” and “nations”.
However – I am pro regional autonomy, pro renewable energy, pro green economy, pro nationalised public services, pro trade unions, pro welfare state, pro racial equality, pro gender equality, pro immigration, anti nuclear energy and weapons, and anti monarchy. I want to close the wealth gap and end child poverty. Perhaps most importantly though I strongly believe in the will and talents of the people of Scotland to be able to walk a democratic path together and achieve something truly exceptional in our lifetime – a greater standard of living for the whole population – something that doesn’t seem possible to me while being part of the UK, not with the current government, nor with the noises coming from the current leading opposition party.
Regardless of how unfamiliar or difficult a Yes vote could make the immediate future, what prevails in my decision making on the referendum is that I am not happy with the status quo. I’m not happy with the direction that the UK is headed and I don’t feel I have a democratic say in the way the country is run. I am not happy with the number of people living below the poverty line in a country that has so many resources. I am physically repulsed with much of the UK’s foreign policy.
We deserve a greater and more regular say in the distribution of taxes. We should make it easier for people to stay in education for as long as they want to. We shouldn’t be selling off the NHS, we shouldn’t be hanging pensioners and carers out to dry, we shouldn’t have people living and dying on the streets without a home. We don’t need a House of Lords. We don’t want courts without juries, we don’t want the Bedroom Tax. We believe in universal human rights for all.
No, of course voting Yes doesn’t mean an overnight transition to the Scotland that is being painted by the Yes campaign, nor will it be easy or without unforeseen challenges – but the direction we could take and the country that we could build is a brilliant prize, yet on the other hand remaining with the status quo condemns thousands of people to squalor and hardship.
It is vitally important for us to engage those who feel the opposite way, to discuss the options and not to let people be scared or selfish when considering which way to vote. It isn’t just about individuals, it’s about your gran and granddad, it’s about a national well being, it’s about food banks and care homes and hospitals and schools and doctors surgeries and the wars that don’t need to be fought. It’s about having a voice.
I was born to English parents from an Irish family but lived in Glasgow for 20 years, went to University in Aberdeen. I know in my head that at this moment voting yes is the only choice to take if we want to begin trying to improve the quality of life for people living in Scotland.
No one can be sure what will happen after the vote – but take this chance for everyone to work together to make things a little bit better for every single person in the country, including yourself.
Don’t waste it.