I wonder how much you guys heard about the Scottish independence referedum in your other corners of the globe, but on the 18th of September, less than two weeks ago (god, it feels as though eons have passed already, somehow), we had the chance here to become an independent country. I am still bitterly, bitterly disappointed that we chose to remain part of the UK (45% voted Yes, Scotland should be an independent country, 55% No, we should not; with the highest voter registration and turnout we've ever seen).
I wasn't campaigning for a Yes vote due to any kind of emotional Scottish nationalism, any Braveheart-inspired idea that Scotland is superior (I haven't even seen it), but because I believe that Scotland, and indeed the rest of Britain, is in a broken state, and must be fixed. The powers of our devolved Scottish parliament are not enough to allow us to fix ourselves - we need radical economic overhaul, but can't control our ecomonic system, so we're stuck in a low-wage, low-productivity economy which prioritises short-term, male-dominated, unethical industries. I campagined for a Yes vote because I believe that Scotland could and should be a shining example of how to run a country - we would have got rid of the nuclear weapons sitting next to our biggest city, we would have written a constitution that enshrined in law the rights of the people, and we would know that our votes would elect who we wanted, rather than being drowned out by the votes of the south of England. (Of course, English voters are entitled to get who they vote for too, but Scotland is not just a region of England, we are a nation, even if we're not a state.) And with central government moving to Scotland, even more local democracy could have been campaigned for, even looked like it was on the cards due to a Scottish government report showing that we have the least local government in Europe and how changing this would benefit us. We could have had land reform booting out absentee landlords and allowing currently desolate communities to own the land around them, use it, and prosper from it, rather than having profits siphoned off to the already-rich. We could have campaigned, with hope of succeeding in the now much smaller pool, for gender equality being part of the constitution, for environmental commitments, for our massive green energy potential to be taken up, for Scotland to no longer take part in Britain's wars but to condemn this attempt to continue the Empire. Most simply, we would have been standing up and saying, Yes, the people who live in Scotland are capable of looking after ourselves, each other, and being a responsible part of the global community.
I feel betrayed by what I see as a statement of a lack of confidence in the Scottish people, and I am determined to prove that this is wrong. I've never read up on an issue so thoroughly before, and I've never before been particularly interested in Scottish politics. I'm so much more informed now, and this is true of many, many people. Although independence was the easiest and quickest way to get the changes that I and the other 1.6 million Yes voters want (and I'm scared, honestly, about our chances with more austerity measures and privatisation now coming our way from the Westminster government), I can't now disengage from Scottish politics. It stuns me to think how, despite being sort of politically aware, I was previously just sitting back and allowing all decisions to be made for me, allowing governments to tell me that this is how it's supposed to be - the people just standing still while the 'experts' fix them. No. It's not going to be like that any more.