Here it is folks. We have known for quite a few weeks that it was coming, but Nicola Sturgeon has finally taken the plunge.
So let me tell you why I will be voting “Yes”, and the reason that it is so important that Scotland has the chance to decide again.
For almost the past year there has been uncertainty over whether a second referendum vote would be successful. Many people with these opinions, highlight the fact that there were a significant number of SNP supporters who voted to leave the European Union. However, for me, the Brexit vote does not directly relate to the independence argument. Independence should not be about support of the EU, and I’m saying this as a soft Remain voter. This decision by our First Minister today, has occurred for one fundamental reason; the Tories have disregarded the opinions of the Scottish people entirely, and Westminster has revealed its true face, as intolerant and power-hungry.
The UK Government has lacked all capacity to listen to the views of those who chose a different path, and point-blank refused to negotiate with our democratically elected politicians at Holyrood. For many people who voted no to independence the last time, this will be the wakeup call. Whatever path Scotland, as a people, choose, they will be overruled by a London-based Tory elite. However wrong we think those decisions are for our country, we will be overruled. And if we lose faith in our government, we will be overruled. There is no say for the Scottish people.
It all harps back to the democratic deficit. For so long we have had a country which has opposed the majority view of our friends in the rest of the UK. When Scotland votes Labour, Scotland gets Tory. When Scotland votes SNP, Scotland gets Tory. And when Scotland choses an inclusive society which doesn’t shut its doors on the world, Scotland gets the right-wing of the right-wing Tory party pushing our country towards a closed and anti-immigration society. Scotland is being forced down a path which directly conflicts with our values of being outward looking, welcoming, and fair.
I could cite economic statistics all day which favour either side. But the simple truth is this, of course Scotland will face serious challenges economically, and so many other questions must be answered as to how we plan to combat them. But Scotland has a population the size of Finland and the national income of Portugal, there is no reason we cannot be a viable independent country. I believe the uncertainty of an independent Scotland is far more palatable, than the uncertainty that comes with a post-Brexit Britain, in which the Tory party will be in power for at least the next 30 years, uncontrolled and unchecked, due to a weak Labour Party which has resided itself to the opposition benches for decades to come.
Independence has always been, and will always be, about fighting for the kind of country we want to live in. I want to have greater influence over who my representatives are. It’s not about “flag-waving nationalism,” it’s about forging the society which promotes inclusiveness and fairness, and can keep our politicians accountable, to ensure they make the best decisions which best serve our values and interests.