The More Things Stay The Same

In the run up to the Referendum I’ve seen a glimpse of the Scotland I want to see. I believe voting for Independence is the surest way of realising this vision. But this vision will not go away come a No vote.

If we put aside the referendum for a moment can we all agree to…

A more equal society
Robust, vibrant welfare
Investment in renewable energy
Progressive land reform

I think this Referendum is a fantastic event and I am proud to be living through these times. But something to remember is that there is a lot to unite us Scots. I don’t believe that the vast majority of my colleagues and fellow citizens who will be voting No want an unequal society, with a crippled welfare system, fracking and stagnate land laws.

Post Referendum can we agree to keep pushing on all these fronts? I worry that some establishment figures want to knock this on the head. Decisively shut down all this in one go. But whether we vote Yes or No I think the majority of us can agree that the status quo isn’t working. A vote for No is not a rubber stamp to just carry on as is thank you very much.

My wife told me about an interesting poster she had seen that posed the question – what if the referendum were reversed? Imagine we were an Independent Scotland and we were voting on whether or no to join the UK? Would we be being given a compelling enough reason for the union? The status quo as it stands would make an unappealing sell to anyone.

Back in February Labour MSP Jenny Marra said, “I think if I was given a blank piece of paper now to draw up arrangements for our country, I think I might draw them up the way they are now.”

I think very few Scot would agree with her. The framing of the Referendum question (leaving ambivalent the position of radically extended devolution) ends up putting people who don’t want to vote for independence but do want change in the position of simply voting against change. Vague extra powers have been promised but only from on high and with no specifics and not certainly to the extent I believe most Scots want.

Don’t most of us want a Scotland where food banks are hardly necessary? Where the welfare state supports and encourages us? With clean air and clean energy and more power for communities and cooperatives to have control of energy and land and property?

So do we take the risk and go for change? Or do we take the risk that things won’t change?

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