Why Vote Yes?
Guest post by Jim Currie
In just under a year, the people of Scotland will vote in the referendum. If you are tempted to stop reading because you are not interested in politics don’t! THE REFERENDUM IS NOT ABOUT POLITICS, IT IS ABOUT OUR FUTURE.
Everyone reading this who is over 16 and living in Scotland must get out to vote on this. Make sure you are registered to vote. This is not about picking the best from a bad bunch of politicians, this is important. I can understand why people don’t engage with politics and don’t bother to vote. This is not the same though. You are not electing politicians for the next four years, you are deciding the course of your future for many years to come!
Well that’s my pitch about the importance of voting, I’m not going to stop there though. I’m going to tell you how I think you should vote too! If you have any love for Scotland and want a say in what happens to it, the only possible vote is YES! Despite the existence of the Scottish Parliament, there are many important areas where Scotland has no say.
Throughout my whole life, the majority of Scots voted Labour in the UK elections, and it made no difference. Sometimes there was a Labour government, sometimes a Tory one, but every time it was the one that was chosen by the people of England! I can see a lot of problems with the Labour party and I’m not saying this would be a great outcome, but the fact is that it would at least be the government that we chose. If you want to stay part of the UK, then you are saying that you agree with the people of another country choosing your government.
Just to be clear this is not about being anti-English. Scotland will always have a close relationship with the other countries of the UK, we just won’t be letting them make our decisions.
A lot is said about the word “nationalism” and in many circumstances it represents insular, exclusive and protective practices. This is not what an independent Scotland is about. We have always been a country that welcomes immigration. The vast majority of people who call themselves Scots are descended from immigrants. Voting for independence is not about being a nationalist, it is about being a democrat. If you vote no, or don’t vote, you are saying that you want your immigration policies decided by the Tories, who are trying to be even harder on immigration to make sure they don’t lose votes to UKIP.
There is absolutely no positive campaign for voting No. The best we can hope for is more of the same. This can be seen in the Better Together campaign or “Project Fear” as they are known. The campaign seems to exist only to give scare stories about the possibility of Independence, each one more nonsensical than the last. Everything from being more susceptible to terrorism to having slower broadband speeds.
If you are worried about whether or not Scotland could manage to be independent, don’t be. Even Project Fear are not saying that. It is quite clear that Scotland is more than capable of being financially independent. Much smaller countries than Scotland manage just fine and they have nothing like the resources that Scotland have. Based on GDP (the amount that we produce per head of population), an independent Scotland would be the 8th most productive country in the world. Project Fear will say “but what about when the oil runs out?” Most estimates say that we have at least 40 years of oil left. Long before that time, Scotland will be entirely relying on renewable energy, a field in which Scotland already leads the world.
The idea that oil is our only resource is just nonsense. Scotland has a large range of strong sectors. The Scottish financial sector is the fifth largest in Europe in Europe and almost a quarter of the total food and drink exports from the UK are accounted for by Scottish whisky exports. Scotland also earns substantial amounts through manufacturing industry, construction, food production, tourism, life sciences and creative arts. Not forgetting information technology which contributes £3.6 Billion a year to the economy (any GTA V fans here?). If anyone wants to know, I can provide figures for all of the sectors above, but I really am trying to keep this as short as possible! At present a lot of this income is filtered through the UK government who provide us with some pocket money in return! Wouldn’t you rather be controlling this money for yourselves?
So there you are folks, if you intend to vote No, or not vote at all, you are saying “I think things are just fine the way they are.”
There is no way to get away from it, but the things that the people of Scotland want are different from the things that the UK Tories want to foist upon us.
Scotland doesn’t want the bedroom tax.
Scotland doesn’t want the victimisation of benefit claimants.
Scotland doesn’t want public assets like royal mail sold off.
Scotland doesn’t want vans running round our streets telling immigrants to leave.
Scotland doesn’t want nuclear weapons.
Scotland doesn’t want to take part in illegal wars on the coattails of the USA.
These are all things that happened against our will. Why? Because even with a devolved Scottish government these are areas that Scotland has no say over. These are all decided on at Westminster.
All of the parties in the No campaign are saying “You don’t need to be independent, after a No vote we will give you more devolution.” That isn’t going to happen. A No vote will be saying that we don’t want any more power. No party will have any reason to give us any more power. Don’t sit back and wait to be given control of your own lives, just vote to take it!
Some people who are not sure will ask “What will an independent Scotland look like?” The answer is, “It will look like whatever we want it to look like!” For the first time since 1707, the future of Scotland will lie solely in the hands of its people.
Surely you want that!