The #indyref and Further Devolution for Scotland

by Kathryn Maclean

A week before Scotland decided NO, I went to the Big Debate at the SSE Hydro in Glasgow. There were 8000 first time voters, who were school pupils, with free Wi-Fi for us to tweet and share what we were debating at the event. I was shocked at how many people in my generation were taking an interest in the referendum. I came out more confused about what I wanted to vote than I did going in. I read up on the subject but many things were bias. There was so much about the future of Scotland and what you thought that meant to you.

My idea of a future Scotland is not one in which you have to repress your own opinion in fear of being attacked in the street or being shouted down at by people that do not even know who you are. Even worse if its people you do know.

My idea of a future Scotland is one which has better job opportunities for young people, a free education and a safe place to stay.  I felt that the referendum gave people the hope that someday it might get better even if it was a yes or a no vote.

As it was a No vote, I witnessed fights and arguments on Facebook between the voters. There was a riot in my area at the result. I am honestly glad that it is all over and done with as it was pulling communities apart. When I entered that polling station on September 18th, yes I might not have known what I wanted to vote but I knew I wanted one which would benefit the people of Scotland. People united for one cause, no matter if they voted yes or no, to make Scotland a fairer and more equal place.

 

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Why vote Yes?

Gail Lythgoe, Executive Assistant at Yes Scotland

A Yes vote is a vote for taking control of our own future. That’s what we want for our own lives – to stand on our own two feet, to make our own decisions and to achieve our full potential.  Why should it be any different for Scotland?  Another 200 countries are independent, so why aren’t we?

There is no doubt that Scotland is a wealthy country.  Even the Prime Minister has agreed that Scotland could be another successful independent country.

Yet one in four of our children are growing up in poverty, too many young people are finding it hard to find jobs, and too many jobs are low paid.  It’s so hard to make ends meet that people are now reduced to looking to foodbanks for help.  The UK is one of the most unequal countries in the developed world, and the gap between the richest and poorest just gets bigger.  As part of the UK, this generation of young people will be the first for decades to be less well off than our parents.

Given how wealthy Scotland is, this is not acceptable. None of this needs to happen.

I’ve grown up with the Scottish Parliament making decisions on issues like health and education. The value of taking our own decisions has been plain to see. In Scotland, we have chosen to make free higher education a right for all, basing access to our world-class universities and colleges on the ability to learn, not the ability to pay. We’ve increased childcare provision and established a principle of early intervention to help guide and nurture the lives of children.

With the powers Scotland already has, remarkable things have been achieved.

There is so much more we could do if we had the full powers of independence.

We could take steps to increase good job opportunities, increase the minimum wage, reverse unfair cuts to benefits and improve rights to childcare and parental rights.

Instead, we are stuck with unfair and unwelcome policies from the UK Government, which are particularly harmful for young people and for women.  For example, welfare cuts are hitting women hardest in the pocket. The Westminster government is making life harder for women through cuts to important public services, and by weakening employment rights, such as the right to claim for unfair dismissal.  With prices and bills rocketing and wages declining, we are all being hit hard financially.  Studies show that this is especially true for young people.

A Yes vote means that we will be the first generation in Scotland to truly determine our own futures. It’s a hugely exciting opportunity – I’m voting Yes to live in a Scotland of progress and possibility.

For young people in Scotland, that has to be the right choice for our future – that’s got to be an opportunity worth saying Yes to.

To find out more about what we could achieve with a Yes vote, please visit www.yesscotland.net or find us on Facebook or Twitter.

*The SWC are holding a conference on The Referendum on the 25th January 2014. We will have speakers from the Yes and Better Together campaigns. If you would like come along please email info@scottishwomensconvention.org*