Welcome to the Sign for Scotland blog!
We're a group for those within Scotland's 'SIGNING' Community who believe in Independence and want to fully participate in the referendum debate. We are open to everyone who is interested in promoting BSL, from those who use the language as their primary form of communication, to learners and well-wishers.
In 2010 the Liberal Democrats created a manifesto which was
popular enough to earn 23% of the vote in that year’s UK general election.
It contained many ideas which resonated with voters.A mansion tax for properties worth over £2
million pounds, protecting civil liberties, preventing the renewal of Trident,
breaking up the banks, setting the minimum wage to the same level for all
workers over 16, replacing council tax with a local form of income tax, voting
rights for 16 year olds, a fully elected second chamber, a written, codified
constitution and the phasing out of taxes on learning (also known as tuition
You just can't win at Westminster if you aren't New Labour or Tory
Unfortunately, despite holding the balance of power at
Westminster, the vast majority of these reforms were neutered or lost.Tuition fees trebled where they were in
place.VAT was increased despite liberal
MPs campaigning for it to remain low.The mansion tax was replaced by a tax cut for millionaires.Average wages plummeted as the promised
equalisation of the minimum wage was quietly forgotten.Support for the party diminished.
So why did so many of these policies fail to materialise?
The system at Westminster is extremely resistant to change.
The powers that be who are in charge of the two major
parties made sure that the status quo was protected.Trident was going to be renewed.The ‘too big to fail’ banks were going to
maintain their influence.Funding local
authorities with a tax based upon ability to pay was going to be blocked.Measures enhancing workers rights were going
to be denied.The unelected House of
Lords was going to be protected.Higher
education was going to be taxed and a written constitution that would hold
those in power to account was never going to be created.
We think this is a dramatisation...
Some blame Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrat leader, for
limiting his party’s ambitions and thus dulling the popular support necessary
to enact change.I feel that he is
simply a realist.He knew that wholesale
change of Westminster wasn’t possible and thus aimed to enact all the reforms that
he could.But at Westminster that isn’t
So what does this have to do with Scottish
Independence?In Scotland we have a more
proportional alternative.Since our
parliament was reconvened in 1999, we have seen Labour, the SNP, the
Conservatives, the Liberals and even the Green Party hold the balance of power in
various votes at different times.The
frequency and significance of these events have coincided with the support each
party has held, meaning that greater popular support has translated to greater
ability to enact change.
Is this really the union want you want to protect?
Look again at the list featured at the top of this
blog.Would any of them be impossible in
an independent Scotland?Could we not have
tax reform?Could we not guarantee civil
liberties with a codified constitution?Is it impossible for us to reform the banking sector, or ensure that an
honest day’s work receives and honest day’s pay, or have a fully elected parliamentary
system?Would we be paying for military
bases in over 80 countries, taking part in illegal wars or funding weapons of mass
destruction?Would any of these policies make a party unelectable in Scotland?
Westminster needs a jolt if it is ever to reform and
Scottish Independence can provide that.We can lead by example and prove that the ‘good cop, bad cop’ routine that
New Labour and the Conservatives engage in doesn’t have to be the only
way.We can inspire more people to get
involved in how their country is run and ensure that special interest groups
and party donors don’t dictate policy.
The Liberal Democrat manifesto of 2010 had no chance of
winning Westminster, no matter how many people voted for it.But it could win in Scotland…if we’re