Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Why we need to weave a new Scotland.

 My 8 Reasons For Voting Yes

1.      Democracy: Scotland and her people have been recognised by the world as a country with our own wants, needs and desires for many hundreds of years. At long last the Scottish Parliament has become the embodiment of this but it has no clothes to fashion the society we long to create. Our small influence in Westminster means we cannot weave the change we want to see in our own country because we do not have control over the materials we ourselves have brought to be styled. With Independence the people of Scotland will choose the threads which embroider the tapestry of our democracy and how our parliament shall be woven together.

2.      Accountability: No tapestry is ever perfect and neither is any parliament. Westminster has woven many catastrophes and an Independent Scottish Parliament will drop more than a few stiches in its time too. The issue is not perfection, it’s accountability. The weavers of Westminster can fashion any image they wish for us, cut our cloth how they see fit, leave patches unmended and push patterns which pull apart the seams of Scottish society. They can do this because we are powerless to get rid of them, and more important than this fact alone, THEY KNOW WE ARE POWERLESS TO GET RID OF THEM. That is why we ended up with the Scottish poll tax experiment and it’s why our central belt will be fracked without our consent. It isn’t that they can’t hear the Scottish loom creaking under the strain, it’s that they simply don’t have to listen. When the politicians we choose know we can dismiss them for the errors they make, they will work much harder to avoid those errors in the first place too.

3.      Better Government: It is because of this lack of democracy and accountability that the wool ends up in a fankle and it takes the charitable efforts of volunteer darners to come in and fix the holes left by the Westminster machine. With better democracy, the Scottish people can judge which threads best fit the pattern of our society, chose the best weavers to bring them together and make the choices of how our cloth should be cut – but there is more to it than that. The politicians chosen to clothe our great nation have her frame right at their hands, to measure and fit, pin, stitch and crucially, unstitch as they see fit. Policy created close to the people it is meant to affect is better policy. It is always preferable to measure your model than to guess and when tailoring needs to be done, you can see where things need to be trimmed and where they need to be let out, without the country having to suffer an ill-fitting garment for years or even decades. At the moment, the state apparatus of the UK is so huge and inefficient that by the time complaints about chaffing are starting to be addressed, the country has lost a leg through lack of circulation.

4.      Society: The ties which unite us are strong indeed. There are threads braided in friendship I would never wish to tease apart but when we stand back to look at the rich tapestry of our societies, something is very different. The corridors of power at Westminster are lined with golden childhoods that saw its masters shuttle through public school, Eton, Oxbridge and the like. Not only the MPs but the advisors, the top civil servants, the very underclothes of state are permanently creased with privilege. How can such a golden brocade of decision makers hope to formulate and implement policy which affects the masses when they do not understand the basic cloth from which they have come? It matters not how many times IDS visits Easterhouse, the daily lives of the people who live there are as alien to him as those in any number of slums and shanty towns around the world. Yes, Scotland has many grades of thread running from top to bottom in our society but overall we are a wide checked tartan, much more equal in our beginnings. Our parliament and those who support it are not perfect but they are part of that great plaid rather than its trimmings. Their better understanding of how society works means they are better connected with the people they represent. We need to do more to strengthen that link and greatly revolutionise social mobility. The best way to do that is to give not just thread, but needle, pattern, cloth and scissors to our people and let them choose how best to stich our country together.

5.      Future: We have a great future ahead of us but we need to wake up and take charge of it for ourselves. There are so many possibilities for future development but without the control over investment in our economy and the ability to tailor policies across every area to suit our needs, we are only holding ourselves back un-necessarily. We need training opportunities which fit with the investment we are trying to encourage, in industries which Scotland is uniquely placed to excel in, like renewables. We need childcare policies which will fit with the needs of parents, empowering them to get back to work so that their tax contribution can create further job creation and more schemes to get others into work. There is no point in having a pensions policy reserved to Westminster which both forces an aging population to keep working but bemoans the fact that there are not enough young people in work to support them retiring. Grandparents cannot both work to fund their peers’ pensions and be responsible for looking after the childcare needs of the nation to allow their own children to get into work. On this, and so many other issues, having a rag-bag of reserved and devolved powers does not work. We need to have control over all of these areas so that we can make policies which work together, tinker and mend as adjustments are needed.

6.      Public Services: Our flag may be blue but in our soul, there are ribbons of red that run shamelessly into every sector of public life. There is an ideological divide, which since the birth of New Labour has only ripped further at the fabric of society as one public service after another is privatised or opened up to competition and pushes workers to the bottom of the pile. It is a fact that the less which is spent on public services in England, the less we in turn get to spend on all which we wish to fund. If they privatise and we don’t that means making tough choices in other areas and ultimately, we are none of us Rumplestiltskin. We cannot weave straw into gold. If we want to protect our public services, we need control over our budget. It won’t make a blind bit of difference how many people are employed in Scotland because additional tax from this goes to the London treasury. It does not feed back into the NHS, Education or any other public service. If we want to make these services better, we must vote to take control of them or risk others forcing our hand.

7.      Trident: The true stain and shame on these lands. It must go. Even if it cost nothing I would shout it from the rafters but free it is not. Weapons of Mass Destruction at the head of the Clyde sit mockingly opposed to the foodbanks stiched in their dozens along the banks of that great river. Our aspirations to free and properly funded education are but a dream and fantasy we are told and yet we consent to spend hundreds of millions on replacing this monster of global terror. The world is watching our every move. Let us show them that we are ready to take our place and be a responsible nation but let us show them also, that we will have no part in this mutually assured destruction.

8.      Opportunity: This is it. Tomorrow is our one chance. No fancy metaphors, it’s as simple as that. We are a rich country, full of talent and natural resources but when it comes down to it, our potential is limited to what powers we are gifted by others. Those powers are ours by right and tomorrow we should grasp them with both hands and show the world we are ready to take responsibility for all which concerns our nation. Let us go forward in hope for what we can create together. For ourselves, for our children and for their children to come.
      WE CAN DO IT.

      The time is now.

      The answer is YES!