Sunday, 24 November 2013

Should your opinion matter?

Yes Scotland is campaigning for a more democratic and representative government for Scotland.  They want your opinion to matter.  They want you to have a greater choice of political parties to choose from.  They want you to get involved in writing a constitution for Scotland.  They want you to be closer to the seat of power.

The no campaign doesn't have any enthusiasm for this kind of control.  Indeed, their campaign so far suggests that they don't want your opinion on a whole range of subjects.  Let's take a few examples...

The Scottish National Party want to continue the Sterling Zone which is currently in place for at least 10 years after independence, with the only exception being that Scotland has a representative on the Bank of England board.  The Scottish Green Party, the Scottish Socialist Party and the Scottish Democratic Alliance want Scotland to have it's own currency which would be controlled by our parliament.  We're certain that the Labour Party, Conservative Party and Liberal Democrats will produce their own policy options after a 'Yes' vote, allowing the people of Scotland to choose the path that follows closest to their values.

The 'no' campaign suggest that 'creating' a Sterling Zone would be risky, difficult and might not happen at all (although they don't explain why).  Neither of the parties who can form the UK government offer any alternatives to the current set-up.

Better Together strategist
The main parties who make up Yes Scotland want to follow the wishes of the majority of Scots and have nuclear weapons removed from Scotland as soon as it is safe to do so.  People who disagree with this stance would still be able to vote Labour, Conservative or Lib Dem, who may advocate for the weapons to stay.

The 'no' campaign claim that an independent Scotland would not be able to remove Trident as:
a) The bill for moving and re-homing these weapons would, for reasons that have yet to be explained that would go against the historical precedence set by Russia following the end of the USSR, fall on Scotland.
b) Faslane, where the weapons are currently stored, would, against international law, be annexed by England.
c) NATO, which is primarily composed of non-nuclear states, would, for reasons that defy logic, insist that Scotland must host these weapons or be refused membership, thus leaving us in the same situation as stable non-Nato states as Sweden and Ireland.

Once again, your opinion doesn't matter with 'no'.

"You, run your own country without us?  Don't be silly old chap!" Bullingdon Club Statement (probably)

The SNP want to increase overall military spending in Scotland to match those of stable, independent Denmark.  This would be funded by having the tax revenue raised in Scotland staying in Scotland.  The defence underspend that we have suffered runs into the billions which would result in more military personnel for less money.  The Scottish Green Party wish to have military spending cut further, to levels enjoyed by stable, independent Ireland.  The size of our military and the scope of its operations would be dependent upon who the people of Scotland elected, allowing us to tailor our armed forces to match our needs and to react to changes around the world.

The 'no' campaign states that only Westminster should decide military policy.  They claim that a Scottish Defence Force would be incapable of operating as well as that which Denmark or Ireland enjoy (despite having equal or superior funding) for reasons which they have yet to explain.  The UK's position as 4th largest military spender in the world is unlikely to change as both of the parties who can form the government are in complete agreement.

Yes Scotland want to introduce a triple-lock to pensions, ensuring that the purchasing power of the state pension remains the same.  Pensions are more affordable in Scotland however there are advocates for reform to guarantee a fairer, sustainable system.  But on the first day following independence, most pensions schemes will remain exactly the same as many are already administered in Scotland.

The 'no' campaign have no vision for how to improve the pension system, only vague threats which ignore Scotland's superior economic position.  They state that the EU (which they simultaneously claim will not accept an Independent Scotland as a member) will demand that the black hole in certain pension schemes will need to be filled instantly following independence.  This goes against historical precedence as other nations have managed to negotiate delays in the full application of this legislation.  It is important to note that the pension shortfalls were under Westminster guidance.

For more on pensions, see this comprehensive piece from Wings over Scotland.

These are just four of the areas where Yes Scotland want you to be a stakeholder in your country, but the no campaign don't.  So if you feel that your opinion should matter, if you want choice, if you want debate and if you want your children to be guaranteed to always have the governments they elect, then you need to vote Yes.

Otherwise, you're letting others decide.

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