Back in 2009, as a student in Glasgow, It seemed natural to join the Labour Party. My first political memory is hearing Tony Blair’s 1997 election anthem “Things Can Only Get Better” and, aged six, I was told that the good guys had won in that election. Joining the party therefore seemed like the perfect affirmation. However, I couldn’t seem to connect with the party and left soon after. Their Westminster Bubble seemed distant and their policies inconsistent with what I believed in. I wanted a mechanism for progressive politics, and Labour was just not it.
The effects of the reactionary Conservative-Liberal collation further alienated me from Westminster politics. Reflecting on Labour’s time in power and being disappointed by their decision to spend the summer of 2010 focused on their own leadership contest (as the Tories began cutting public services) did not help. Austerity, increased privatisation and the continued erosion of the welfare state seemed and seem to define all possible change at Westminster. Holyrood, meanwhile, had granted free prescriptions, personal care and scrapped tuition fees. Yet I still saw the union as sacrosanct.
It took me a few years and a great deal of soul searching to support independence. I began to realise that Scottish voters had been voting for progressive governments for decades, but we were always governed by something different. Scottish votes have only affected the composition of governments between: 1964 and 1966; February 1974 and October 1974; and the present coalition which was elected in 2010 and whose reactionary platform is a stark reminder that Scotland’s tiny voting power has no effect on the direction of Westminster politics. I began to see that the only way of creating the progressive society was by leaving the Westminster system. I even joined the SNP, a party that seems closer to Labour than Labour itself at times!
The trajectory of UK politics cannot be halted or fully mitigated by devolution with or without the new powers of the Scotland Act, since any shrinkage of the state down south results in a decrease of public spending here through the Barnett formula. The only alternative (that I supported!) that would have retained UK sovereignty with Scottish autonomy for economic and social policy, devo-max or federalism, is not on the ballot paper and, even as Yes takes the lead in the polls, all that Westminster can offer is a constitutional talking shop. Westminster is not prepared to cede the substantive powers we need in Scotland to create the progressive society we want. The only option is to vote Yes.
Independence is our opportunity to finally get the types of governments we have been voting for. If we had had that luxury, there would have been no Douglas-Home, no Heath, no Thatcher, no Major and no Cameron (and no Clegg!). This is our chance to look to the future and harness our immense natural and human resources to create the more prosperous and fairer society we all want. The moral case for our society is with independence. Vote Yes on September 18th and let’s make that better Scotland happen.
Scott Taylor is a fourth year studying economics and philosophy. He is originally from Fife.
The views in this article do not represent the views of The Sinner.
The Sinner is running a series of articles about the referendum. If you would like to write a piece, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your submission. 350-500 words. Independence articles are not eligible for our wine voucher offer.