For many people, independence represents hope for the future.
For others, it represents fear of the unknown.
The truth is that Scotland’s future is unwritten, and everyone’s future is uncertain: here in Scotland, and in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and indeed in every country on this planet. The future is always unknown.
Scotland does not vote in the same way the rest of the UK does, but for years it has been saddled with the results of what England has chosen for it politically. Scotland infamously endured the poll tax for a full year before it was visited on the rest of the UK, an act I believe was in clear breach of the Treaty of Union of 1707.
England now is lurching to the right, with growing support for the anti-European and anti-immigration rhetoric led by UKIP the most obvious sign of their malaise. There is a real likelihood of a right-wing Tory government in coalition with UKIP at the 2015 general election. Even the Labour party have abandoned their principals and march to the UKIP drummers’ beat, and state they will not roll back welfare ‘reforms’ introduced by the coalition which demonise and attack the weakest in our society – those who most need our help and support. Over 200 MPs in Westminster have clear links to private health firms, and all parties seem hell-bent on making access to heathcare something the unwell should pay for, rather than something the whole country is prepared to share the cost of.
This is not how Scotland is now, or wants to be in the future. Scotland is a different country, physically, and politically. Scottish people don’t just think ‘what’s in this for me’ when they consider a social problem or approach a ballot box. Those in Scotland think of others more than they do of themselves. They move to support, rather than to condemn outsiders, the dispossessed, the unwell, the elderly and the weak.
A simple choice is now available to Scotland: choose to be ruled by others, or to rule yourself. There are uncertainties in both situations. But standing on your own two feet and declaring that you alone will be responsible for how you run your affairs is an act of courage. It is an act of hope, of faith in good people, and of belief in the power you have inside you as a human being. The alternative is to say that you don’t care who’s in charge, or what they do in your name. You’re giving up on control of your life. So far, we’ve done very well with our limited powers here in Scotland, and our government and its leadership are applauded, respected and are well supported for the choices they have made for the Scottish people.
Independence gives the people of Scotland full responsibility to shape their future in the way they wish. Scotland has to be brave, and unafraid in the face of the threats and wrath that the UK state has ranged against it. Scotland has to choose: stand up for who you are, and take control of your destiny, or lie down and take what fate may be decided for you by a distant and corrupt elite who have clearly shown you that they hold you in contempt.
I choose that the people of Scotland will run Scotland. I will work hard to make it a better country. I have faith in the people of Scotland. I am not afraid, and I will be proud to show the nations of the world that hope is stronger than fear.
Years from now, when the time comes to look back on my life, I want to be proud not just of the decisions I have made, but also to be proud of the decisions my countrymen and countrywomen have made.
Scotland, it’s time to decide: do you believe in yourself?
The prize is a better country for the people of Scotland. And that’s only 16 days away.