Sometimes making a decision in life can be tough. From choosing what’s for dinner to accepting a marriage proposal, you need to use reason and logic to decide what is best for you.
In terms of political decisions, the forthcoming referendum on Scottish Independence is going to be the most important decision that you have ever had the privilege of having the democratic right to take. The fate of a nation rests upon you in that voting booth. History itself will look upon 2014 as momentous day in Scottish history.
You may have entered into the Independence debate with having already having already made up your mind based upon a mixture of your initial thoughts and gut feeling about the subject – that’s perfectly natural. What I ask you to do for the next few minutes is to try and put these initial thoughts to one side and hear me out. I’m going to presume for the sake of this experiment that like myself and most other Scots, you hold a clear centre-left to left wing political outlook on the world.
I’m going to ask you a series of questions and I want you to use your imagination, reasoning and logic to come a conclusion. Now let’s begin!
1. If like most Scots you favour the Scottish Parliament receiving more powers, would it not be reasonable to expect that if Scotland had all of the powers available it would make for an even better country?
2. Is it fundamentally better if decisions about Scotland are made by the people who care most about Scotland, the Scottish people?
3. Is achieving a republic more likely to happen in an independent Scotland or within the UK as a whole?
4. Are left-wing politics more likely to come to fore in an independent Scotland or within the current UK set up?
5. Is greater social justice more easily achievable within an independent Scotland or through the UK?
6. Is an independent Scottish Government more likely to get rid of Trident nuclear weapons or a UK government?
It is in my opinion from posing these questions to myself and deeply pondering over the subject that the answer to all these questions is that an independent Scotland is the best avenue to walk down.
I have not come to this conclusion based on a petty reactionary nationalist outlook upon the topic but from using reasoning, logic and evidence. My evidence is based upon the fact that if we look at the history of the Scottish Parliament it has produced remarkably more progressive, centre-left, policies than Westminster has. For example policies such as free personal care for the elderly, education and prescription charges. I see no reason why this trend would end post-independence nor do I see progressive policy not being extended to areas an independent Scottish Parliament would gain like VAT, fuel duty and foreign policy.
Now I am going to ask you a 7th question.
7. Are you more likely to get a Tory government within an independent Scotland or through the UK?
I think anyone with any knowledge of popular Scottish opinion can deduce that an independent Scotland would be free from Tory rule unless a gigantic change in Scottish opinion occurred. I don’t know about you but I can’t see Thatcher, Cameron or their Scottish successors being heralded as heroes any time soon.
Now that I suspect and hope that upon answering these questions and pondering deeply about what choice is best to achieve the stated goals of each question you have came to the conclusion that an independent Scotland, a ‘Yes’ vote, is the avenue you wish to go down. I’ll ask you one final question.
8. Do you agree that Scotland should be an independent country?
That’s the question that will be on your ballot paper in 2014. I enthuse you with every fibre of my being to vote ‘Yes’ but to do more than that to roll up your sleeves and to go out their and campaign for a ‘Yes’ vote.