Why I’m voting yes in the #indyref

There are a lot of eloquent posts from people about why they are voting Yes and No in the #indyref. This isn’t one of them. It’s a lot more rambling and shambolic.

I see a lot of reasons for voting Yes (though a part of me hopes for a draw). My main reason for voting Yes though is because Scotland and the UK aren’t the same thing and what works in Westminster doesn’t necessarily work in Wester Hailes.

It’s a numbers game

To me it boils down to this. If I’m in a room of 60 people, it can be really hard to bring about change. If I’m in a room of five people, it’s easier. To me that’s the main win here. If I don’t like a policy it will be easier to campaign, to write to politicians and bring about change in a country of 5million that 60million.

Equally, I can accept that Westminster has to put through policies for the majority – in this case England – that may not suit the minority – in this case Scotland. That’s just political fact. But it doesn’t need to be that way. This is an opportunity to create all the laws that suit Scotland in Scotland.

Other Reasons why I’m voting Yes

I’ve one main reason apart from the above. If we stand on our own two feet – all our own money, no handouts – then it’s up to us to make it work. There’s five million of us. There are countries that prosper smaller and larger than us. But we are large enough that it can work. We can implement change. If we don’t like something we can change it. It can be that simple if we choose so.

But also…

There’s more than one Scotland. I see and work in a Scotland that looks ahead, invents things (including daft podcasts), where talk of using technology to make things better is possible, where people – sick of red tape – get up and kickstart things, they create computer games, they invent websites and technology that make life better for people, they change on a regular basis, they see problems and go ‘how can we fix it’ not ‘oh dear, life is terrible’ and sit back, content to moan. A country where people find out their own facts instead of relying on others.

That’s not the Scotland everyone sees though. For many they wonder why we can’t go back to simpler days, with shipbuilding and jobs for life, where the pace of change seemed slower. Those days are gone. Change is our constant and we can embrace new ways of doing things (while looking after people) or be dragged along. The choice is ours.

And I know there are a lot of If’s and Buts – mortgages might go up, some firms may leave (though most have said this is not the case) but the opposite also applies, they may go down, new laws can be created to attract businesses. Money and investment may go up. The point being that if something doesn’t work – businesses leave for example – we can create new laws to make investment attractive. That’s easier for a country of 5million than 60million. We can choose to moan about the problems or we can choose to fix them.

Also, I don’t see any more certainty by being in the Union. We get governments we don’t vote for, we could be out of Europe, we go to wars that we didn’t vote for, we have laws implemented that aren’t suitable in Scotland.

Anyway…

1) It’s 2014. We are a country that produces oil, huge tourism industry, food and drink sector is well known too. And we have foodbanks, we have poverty, we have children without a bed. That’s not right. Don’t get me wrong I accept that there are thousands out there who play the system so they don’t have to work (and we can overhaul the system) but in a modern country.

2) I see no case for the Union as it stands. The Westminster elite – including Labour in this BTW – are out of touch but also have to try and represent too many diverse interests (see above). If this, in 2014, is as good as it gets, no thank you. I believe we can do better. I’m also really insulted by the fact that Better Together seem to think fear and half-truths are the way to get people to vote No. It’s patronising and if you can’t be honest now, how am I meant to accept your other arguments?

3) Nuclear weapons. Happy to see them go. This isn’t the 1960s. The main terrorist and country fighting threats are digital more than physical.

4) Oil. We might only have 35 years of oil (we might have 100) but you know what? Either way it’s a great thing to have help us start up. We also have a lot of wave power to harness (not as convinced on wind).

5) It’s a chance to get rid of the old parties. This won’t come overnight but by the second set of elections in a standalone country, we should be on our way and again we can make choices that suit the local area – Scotland. Put it this way, you could come up with a great solution for Scotland at the moment and it gets bounced because it wouldn’t work in other parts of the UK. It amazes me that more Labour, LibDem and Tories aren’t voting Yes because it gives each of those parties a chance to have policies that work more in Scotland. I remain convinced the Tories would see a huge resurgance within 10 years as would Labour (but they may have to change their names and rebrand).

5b) For those disgusted by the old school system, it’s also a chance to start afresh. Let’s see sensible debates on everything from looking after the eldery to drug laws and benefits for the computer games industry.

6) For the last 15 years or so I keep being told my career choices are a fad – that whole digital and internet thing – and Scotland still has a long way to embrace digital and the benefits it can bring but I believe the change will come quicker if we are independent because most of the digital people I meet are forward looking, willing to take a chance, embrace change. React and respond. That’s a great ethos to have instead of being passive. It’s also a great example to set children.

7) The future is one of change. You may like that, you may hate that but it’s coming. The digital revolution hasn’t even really started and I think it’s going to be easier to transition as a small country than a larger group of countries.

8) There’s a mindset that comes with embracing change – a positivity – that “OK, something may be a problem, how do we fix it?” That’s vital for the years ahead. We’re at our worst when passive, blaming others, not trying to come up with solutions. This is a chance to be us at our best. And for that to rub off on others.

9) It might give a boost to the professions I love – journalism and communications – as companies set up here. I don’t see it being a huge boost to either though.

10) Life is about change. You are born, you go to schools, you meet new people, get jobs, get married and so on. Change is a constant. There’s always uncertainty but you cope and adapt.

11) I think you’ll see a Scottish currency. Most sensible people accept that the tied-currency thing is lunacy and is one of many examples of the SNP trying too hard to please everyone. The SNP haven’t been great in this campaign either if we are being honest.

12) I’m a parent. I look about the world and see many opportunities that Scotland doesn’t currently offer and I wonder ‘why not’? Very often there’s no reason. A smaller country can adapt quicker, be more forward looking and have more opportunities for the next generations

13) All those people who blame others for their ills? This is where they have to put up or shut up.

14) The NHS. The only way to guarantee money for it is to be in control of the money. That’s my opinion. We can set up agreements for research with other countries too. We can shape it in our own way.

In closing, this is a great country with great people. We have a tendancy to play it safe and look to the past a little too much for my liking but it’s mostly a nation of kind souls.

Going solo means a lot of change and only a fool would tell you that it’s going to be a land of milk and honey all the time. But you know what? If we are standing on our own two feet, we can make changes. Don’t like a law? Change it. Want to put more money into education, change it. It’s easier to make these changes in a country of five million people than 60 million.

This doesn’t make me anti-English, I love the English. It’s a land of great things. I’ll still go there on holiday, I’ll still go there to meet friends. None of that changes for me just because I’m voting yes. If England found itself in trouble and Scotland could help, I’m sure it would.

Equally, I believe – and you can put blame where you want for this – if England had the chance to end the Union it would. Many English still believe the myth of Scotland living off English handouts. I’d like to show them – and the world – that we can stand on our feet. Not out of spite but out of self-respect.

(I meant to add – for those still on the fence, these posts by Ewan Morrison and Phil Adams are really good reads. I obviously disagree with them but they are worth reading and considering and I add them for the sake of balance because regardless of how the vote turn out, you want guys like them thinking stuff through and asking all the right questions.)