The current way that Scotland is being governed isn’t working, the time is right to start running ourselves. Those at the helm at Westminster seem so far removed from most of those they govern in Scotland, both in terms of their ideology and geographically. There is no logical reason why anybody could do a better job of governing Scotland than the people who live here.
Despite my strong opinions on the matter, I haven’t always felt this way. As much as I am, of course, disappointed that the people of Scotland never voted for independence in 2014, I’m grateful that it provided an opportunity to reflect about what was possible and the kind of country we could become. I always took Scotland remaining in the union for granted, however, my ambivalence changed, when the 2014 campaign ramped up. I felt that the No campaign was always gleefully citing obscure reports or perpetuating scare stories, amplifying views of big business as examples why we couldn’t go it alone. It really struck me why these campaigners, who claimed to love Scotland, took such great delight in telling us how inadequate we were? There’s nothing that turns me off more than being told something isn’t possible. Particularly when the reasons for which didn’t really ring true. It was at that point, back in 2014, where I realised the powerful don’t want to let us go- and there must be a reason for it. I don’t want to be manipulated into making a decision against my own interest for someone else’s benefit- that someone else being the already rich and powerful. These fears only became more apparent as years following our decision to stay rolled on. From leaving the EU against our will, or the UK government pursuing laws and rhetoric that are evidently at odds with what the people of Scotland believe.
While I will disagree with anyone that says we could not be independent, I empathise with so many that do not think we should. I understand a lot of the emotional attachment for the union. And as much as I get the hesitance of throwing up another border, self-determination is more important to me than an imaginary line on a landmass. Of course I know there are many Britons outside of Scotland who also have misgivings on how we are governed. I feel a great deal of solidarity with those in other parts of the UK who want a fairer society and the sense that breaking away would be abandoning these people. But Scotland has an opportunity which we need to take. The current Westminster system will not be reformed any time soon as it’s in the interests of those who benefit most that are in charge of maintaining it. It’s probably the best chance to shake up the system that is failing so many of us- not just in Scotland, but outside it too.
I am not so naive to think that gaining independence would magically and automatically create a better more representative government. Independence is a means to an end, not an end itself. It will provide a fresh start. A chance to build from scratch. An opportunity to look at what we can do differently and, perhaps more importantly, what old ways of doing things we can leave behind.
When I ask myself what I want to see in an independent Scotland, I understand my answers may be more radical than others’. We all have our own opinions and I think that is a wonderful thing. What is the independence movement’s potential strength, which we do not see enough of, is diversity of opinion. While this may be seen as a weakness of our argument, I think there is great strength in an informed public which has a clear vision of how they want the country they live in to look with an opportunity to see these visions come to life. An independent Scotland could look a million different ways. It would be great to get to know more of these visions by the people who will be living here rather than made for us by a government 500 miles away.