Take con­trol of our des­tiny

Rutherglen Reformer - - You Decide -

Derek Thomp­son is a lo­cal res­i­dent, who shares his rea­sons for vot­ing Yes.

“I have a con­fes­sion to make. Be­fore the Euro­pean elec­tions in May, I hadn’t voted in over a decade.

I moved to Cam­bus­lang in 2009 from Belfast and the sec­tar­ian pol­i­tics there had given me a gen­eral dis­dain for demo­cratic process. I was vis­it­ing Belfast at the time of the 2010 Gen­eral Elec­tion to run the marathon there and for­got to ar­range a postal vote.

My fa­ther died a few weeks be­fore the 2011 Holy­rood elec­tions, and vot­ing was the fur­thest thing from my mind. I was too busy run­ning my busi­ness to care about the 2012 coun­cil elec­tions.

The In­de­pen­dence Ref­er­en­dum how­ever is dif­fer­ent. Like many oth­ers across Scot­land I’ve be­come politi­cised.

Indyref is a pol­i­tics that I fi­nally can re­late to for the first time in my life. This is a pol­i­tics of re­form that be­longs to me ev­ery bit as much as it does to you, or to our elected rep­re­sen­ta­tives at Holy­rood.

For the long­est time I felt like I had no place in the de­bate. Al­though I’d done my re­search and de­cided that I’d be vot­ing Yes, I didn’t feel like I had a re­mit to en­gage be­yond that.

Quite of­ten we hear rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the No side talk about their pa­tri­o­tism and of the nar­row pol­i­tics of na­tion­al­ism. I felt ex­cluded sim­ply be­cause I wasn’t Scot­tish and not a mem­ber of a po­lit­i­cal party. It was only from lis­ten­ing to non-par­ti­san voices for Yes that I re­alised the sheer breadth and in­clu­sive­ness of the in­de­pen­dence move­ment, some­thing which is largely miss­ing from the pro-union campaign.

Peo­ple have dif­fer­ent rea­sons for vot­ing ei­ther Yes or No. For some it will boil down to na­tional iden­tity. For many how­ever it all comes down to which path we feel gives us the best chance to cre­ate the kind of Scot­land in which we want to live in years to come. I have enor­mous be­lief in Scot­land’s best as­set – its peo­ple.

This coun­try can truly flour­ish if the peo­ple mak­ing the most im­por­tant de­ci­sions are the ones liv­ing here.

In­de­pen­dence is not an in­stant cure for so­ci­etal ills. I’ve been cam­paign­ing with Yes Ruther­glen for many months now.

It’s been tough yet re­ward­ing and has taken up all of my free time. I know how­ever that the real hard work be­gins af­ter a Yes vote. All of us – Yes and No vot­ers alike – will be em­bark­ing on a jour­ney to­gether. We’ll be re­spon­si­ble for our own de­ci­sions and our own mis­takes. I find that both fright­en­ing and ex­hil­a­rat­ing, and can­not wait to be part of it.

Noth­ing is cer­tain in life. The only thing that we can ever be sure of is change. We can choose to be spec­ta­tors, we can hope some­how that things change for the bet­ter. Or we can take con­trol of our own des­tiny and cre­ate the kind of coun­try that Scot­land’s chil­dren de­serve to in­herit. Tak­ing our des­tiny into our own hands re­quires brav­ery.

Scot­land The Brave, live up to your name on Septem­ber 18.”

New re­cruit Ruther­glen’s Yes campaign co-or­di­na­tor Mar­garet Fer­rier with re­cent con­vert Derek Thom­son

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