People in Scotland are hungry for change. All over the country, in town meetings, in school halls and on street corners Scotland’s future has been hotly debated. Friends, families and communities are divided over which way to vote; torn over how best to secure a better future for the generations that will inherit this country. To me it’s clear: I’ll be saying No Thanks to division.
For one thing, we are not alone in our desire for change, for there are many in England, Northern Ireland and Wales who face the same problems. Scottish values are no different than those south of the border; just like them we need more housing, better paid jobs and believe firmly in the universality of healthcare. Surely, with 300 years of interdependence and integration it would be foolish to try and extract ourselves from the union? So I’ll be saying No Thanks to separation.
As unsavoury as it is to consider, the Scottish people are not free from the darker trends of zeitgeist, namely the growing shadow of Euroscepticism, increasing fear over immigration and distrust of our political leaders. Yes, we must deal with these issues and deliver social change, but we must do so with the best future for Scotland in mind. Our union makes Scotland safe for diversity. I’ll be saying No Thanks to uniformity.
We need to bring more powers to the local level to tackle the problems we face. The British people need a clearer path to power, a clearer road map for dealing with their problems. Independence may promise that, but we already have a Scottish parliament that takes decisions on Scottish issues – a parliament backed up and secured by the shared wealth of the UK. Imagine if powers were further devolved, to cities and local authorities, and yet still backed up and secured by that wealth? Imagine the ambitious projects we could embark upon with the wealth of resources we have in this country and the level of integration we enjoy? I’ll be saying No Thanks to lower ambition.
I’ve heard so much from the Yes Campaign about the danger of NHS privatisation and the looming threat of further Tory cuts. Although times are tough, we mustn’t allow austerity to blur our sight; we can vote for change in a general election but we can’t vote to reverse this decision. This will be permanent, there can be no return. We stand to lose the £1200 higher public spending per head and the IFS has made it clear more cuts will have to be made – to the tune of £6 billion – if an Independent Scotland is to be financially viable. That is a budget gap even the most effusive oil supply would struggle to cover. We can’t be short-sighted, so I’ll be saying No Thanks to poorer services.
Scotland is a proud nation with a rich culture. Scots are innovative, and hard working. One thing Scots are not is narrow-minded. We are able to transcend our nationality and work together with the other nations in the UK while celebrating our differences. Being part of the UK brings us security and allows us to flourish. So I’ll be saying No Thanks to Independence.
David Patterson graduated with a degree in International Relations & Modern History from St Andrews in June 2014. He is currently working for Better Together. The views expressed in this article are done so on a personal basis and are neither Better Together’s nor The Sinner’s.
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