I moved to Scotland in 2013 for university and have now made my permanent home in a cosy little flat in Edinburgh’s Meadowbank. In 2014, my mind was already made up. I was going to vote ‘Yes’. I did vote ‘Yes’. And I campaigned with people in and around the university, appearing on TV and radio too. I enjoyed the experience, and it was formative for me as a young adult, getting to know the city and country I now call home. I have friends in the SNP and the Scottish Socialists, but I found my political home in the Scottish Greens. When I moved up from England to study linguistics, I never would have thought that I would be standing as a candidate in the 2021 Scottish Parliament election. Let alone a pro-independence party
Scotland has Europe’s largest renewable energy potential. We have the most universities per capita. We could make decisions to put these at the forefront of our economy and national identity, but we are restricted by the constitution. We could change the constitution, but this requires the 85% of UK voters who live in England to also agree with the programme. It’s simply not part of their national political conversation. I know it isn’t. I grew up there. I go back there. It’s not relevant to them. We probably don’t talk enough about the UK and how it is set up. We passively tolerate the House of Lords, first-past-the-post and the fact that we’re not a federal state (and unlikely to ever be).
Scotland’s democratic conversation is relevant to us though. “Federalism” or “devo-max” are convenient words to silence the bigger issue. The UK is just not very equal. It’s not very democratic. It’s striving to project modernism and greatness, but it represents the opposite.
I don’t feel comfortable belonging to a union with nuclear weapons. Illegal nuclear weapons. I don’t need a large army engaging in foreign wars to instil in me a sense of security. I don’t need the lady from the coins and stamps to represent me on the world stage. I want to derive my sense of national identity from what we can build together, and what we can radically change. Not what we once were. We’re not that special and shouldn’t think we must be. But small countries of 5 million people exist, with high standards of living and publicly owned services.
It’ll take time to develop, but we’ll become a boring country. Boring, but effective. Making sure that our older generations get a proper state pension. Having a constitution that sets out that social services should be publicly owned and operated. I struggle with the idea that we consider ourselves a modern, democratic society but we allow feudal landlords to own swathes of unused land for their own pleasure and financial benefit. I don’t want unelected people involved in government – it’s backward. The vision I have for Scotland and the rest of the UK is the same that I had back in 2014. It’s about democracy and sovereignty, for me.