For most of the Scottish Independence debate I avoided publicly engaging with people on the issue of Scotland’s constitutional future. I tend not to be the most outspoken of people and feel a bit uncomfortable talking politics at the risk of causing offence or finding myself judging a person as “good” or “bad” on the basis of their political convictions. However, this has become too important to stay silent.
I am just an ordinary mum. That will always be the most important thing to me and the thing that ultimately drives any of my decisions. That is why, as an ordinary mum, I know that I have to vote Yes today. Don’t get me wrong, I understand the caution of the female voter and the mums in the Better Together camp. As a mum, worry is ever present. “How can I protect my child from this?” “I don’t want my child to do that in case they get hurt.” It is instinctual and habit and I think that is what is driving the “No” vote in women, in particular. I just want to urge No voters to take time to think about what it is they are really frightened about. The UK is at best OK, but to me “OK” is not good enough. It is not good enough for the boy I want to have the best future possible. For me, the risk is to stay in a union that is dismantling the NHS and welfare state bit by bit, that is continuing to support and bankroll nuclear weapons, that is becoming more and more unequal and is failing to protect our most vulnerable. Sadly, no matter how much we stamp our feet and moan about it, vote for parties that we think will uphold the NHS or speak out about welfare cuts, Scotland will not determine who makes up the Westminster government. We need to bring democracy to Scotland. We need to let the will of the people of Scotland determine who governs us. I could never forgive myself if I did not give my son this chance. A chance for something better. A chance for him to truly influence the running of the country he lives in. A chance for him to live in a fairer and better society. You will note my use of the word “chance”. I use this word as I know that nothing will be set in stone in an independent Scotland. I cannot predict who our first “new government” will be. We haven’t decided who would govern us and what polices they will bring. That is the point. It will be up to the Scottish people to decide, to influence to pick. There is a “chance” that it will not be in line with my own views, but there is a nigh near certain “chance” that whoever gets in at Westminster will not be in line with my views. However, the prospect of a Scottish constitution, which guarantees fundamentals such as free education and no nuclear weapons, regardless of who forms the government,offers a vision and commitment which no Westminster government ever will. I am determined that the Scottish nation can be a model that other countries can aspire to. OK is not good enough for this ordinary mum.
Please mums, take a moment to think. Take a moment to imagine the best future for our children. As Nelson Mandela said, “May your choices reflect your hope, not your fear.” I hope you will join me in taking the first step to making a better Scotland and vote YES on September 18th.