A guest post by Nancy Burge
I was pondering over the media’s insistence on focusing on whether or not Scotland would have a currency union after independence. Some people are saying they can’t decide whether to vote yes because they don’t know whether we going to have a currency union or not. And it struck me that, actually, I don’t really care about the currency union that much. I don’t really understand the fine points of the currency union issue because I’m a doctor, not an economist.
But I trust that the Scottish government will do what’s best for the people of Scotland. And I am sorry to say that I no longer trust the politicians in Westminster. So there can be endless debates about currency unions, North Sea oil and Trident, but what it really boils down to is just one question. Which government do I trust to run Scotland in the best interests of the Scottish people?
And then I thought about why I’ve lost trust in the Westminster politicians. In Britain there has been the MPs’ expenses scandal, cash for questions, the banking fiasco, and the privatisation by stealth of the NHS in England. Whereas in Scotland since devolution, I see that the NHS has been protected from privatisation, and we’ve got free prescriptions and free personal care for the elderly. Scotland pioneered the smoking ban and scrapped tuition fees, and there has been land reform legislation. We’ve got a new Human Rights Commission, a Scottish Youth Parliament and equal marriage legislation. And more new council houses have been built than in any time in the past 20 years.
It’s not surprising that according to the recently published Scottish Social Attitude survey twice as many people trust in the Scottish government than in the UK government.
Project Fear tells us there’s no going back. But why would we want to go back? Already 142 countries have taken the path to independence since 1945 and not one has ever asked to go back. If they could do it, then we can too.
There is a massive discussion about independence going on all over Scotland in workplaces, town halls, coffee shops, and community halls. The online world is buzzing with blogs and articles written by Scottish people about Scottish independence. Yet none of this is being reported in the mainstream media. Ordinary people are getting interested in the future of Scotland like never before. They’re talking to people, holding meetings, blogging, setting up YES stalls in city centres and villages, writing songs and making videos to put up on YouTube. They are wearing YES badges, putting YES stickers on their cars and putting YES flags up. They’re talking about hope for a better future, a new democracy, a fairer society, a brand-new constitution, and a better way of living. There is such an enthusiasm for change amongst ordinary people, and real hope and trust in this opportunity to make things better.
With independence we really can build a new Scotland. We really can hope to change our society to the way we want to live in the future. We just need to decide in who we trust to start working on this. Are we going to trust the UK government in Westminster? Or are we going to trust Scottish people to make decisions in Scotland, for Scotland. When I look at it as a simple question of trust, it’s a no-brainer, really.