Yes support grows
Last Friday, a spectacular event occurred: the Yes Scotland campaign announced that over one million Scottish voters had signed the Yes Declaration: a positive statement recognising our ability and our right to make our own political decisions rather than have them made for us by Westminster.
The last time this number of people pro-actively engaged with a political movement was during the anti-Poll Tax campaign or the protests against the invasion of Iraq. Besides this declaration of support, the Yes campaign has thousands of activists campaigning in communities across Scotland, organising public meetings and other events to promote a positive confident message that the people of Scotland can best run our own affairs.
This pro-active, positive campaign is different from those reactive and defensive campaigns “against” things such as the Poll Tax and has unleashed the talent and vision of people seeking a better Scotland. That is something that the conservative No campaign just cannot match. Their mindset is locked into a portrayal of our country as “too wee, too poor and too stupid”. You only have to look at the campaign literature put out by Labour or listen to the distortions of reality expressed by spokespeople such as Gordon Brown to see this is their mindset: “We can’t afford pensions, we can’t afford the health service, we can’t afford anything”…
It is all untrue of course, but Labour are desperate to hammer our self confidence and convince us that we are a bunch of subsidy-junkies sucking money from Westminster. The problem for them is that if they are right, we came to that appalling position WITHIN the Union and after 14 years of Labour government at Westminster overlapping eight years of power at Holyrood. And that message of failure, alongside their false prospectus at the 2010 general election (that only a vote for Labour could stop the Tories, though it didn’t!), is why Labour got hammered at the 2011 Scottish Parliament elections.
Let’s face it, if Labour were right, then both they and the Union have failed Scotland. Ask yourself: if we are such a drain on Westminster, why are they pulling out all the stops to keep us? Why is the Scottish media loaded with Unionist propaganda? Why did the Department of Work and Pensions send letters to Scottish staff telling them they have a duty to support Westminster’s anti-independence line?
The truth is that we are not a basket case nation. We are a wealthy nation that can do better for our people than Westminster ever will. Redistribution and social justice are not on the Westminster political agenda and have not been for decades. That is why the axis of Tories, Labour and Lib Dems in “Better Together” is so natural: there is virtually nothing to differentiate them.
I would urge people to consider the letter published in the Reformer last week by pro-Union enthusiast John Maxwell in which he highlighted the Scottish Government’s policy of free prescriptions as something that should be abolished.
Remind yourself also that we have free eye tests and dental check-ups. Like ensuring that people get the medicines they are prescribed, these are front-line preventive health measures which deal not only with the basics of oral hygiene and sight, but as screens for cancer.
Under John Maxwell’s Unionist outlook, these universal rights are at risk with a No vote. They are part of what Labour’s Johann Lamont described as the “something for nothing” culture. The best means of ensuring that these essential health measures remain free is to vote Yes and build a better nation. David Stevenson, By email.