INDEPENDENCE OR BETTER TOGETHER
Unedited version of my column published in Scottish Sun on Sunday 4th May 2014
In the debate for Independence or Better Together, some politicians have spent too much time talking constitutional mumbo jumbo and losing touch with what ordinary people actually care about.
Poverty in Scotland is the worst it has ever been in over 30 years. Last year 14% of Scots, i.e. 720,000 were living in a ‘basic state of deprivation’ with 40% of those actually in work.
Gordon Brown tried to convince us last week that we have the best pensions in the world. Actually we get a C+ on a par with Chile!
Our pensions are the worst in Western Europe at £113.10 beaten by Ireland at £180 per week.
Over the last year the number of people using emergency food banks has tripled to over 900,000. People do so because they are hungry, because their wages or benefits can no longer guarantee the most basic human right- food.
Independence or Better Together-what about our global status?
On those facts and figures most Scots wouldn’t give a damn about Politicians boasting of our global status or flag waving at the Olympics, when it comes down to the essentials of life there is no such thing as Scotland being ‘better together’ in the UK.
Miliband and Cameron are two millionaires who have absolutely no understanding of what it means to struggle, to work ‘zero hour contracts’ or be forced to make choices between heating or food.
Westminster’s deregulation of our banks allowed them to play ‘Russian Roulette’ with our lives and our children’s futures.
But it didn’t have to be that way, in countries like Iceland when the banks failed, they bankrupted them and jailed their rogue bankers. In the United Kingdom we gave our rogues knighthoods and bigger bonuses.
Why is ‘Better Together’ unwilling to appeal to a bigger dream, the ending of poverty, ignorance and inequality of opportunity?
We have over £1.5 trillion pounds waiting to be extracted from the North Sea- why should that not be a cause for celebration?
Bizarrely ‘Better Together’ talks down our biggest asset, the fact that our share of oil and gas revenues would make us the 6th richest country in the world under independence whereas the UK would be ranked sixteen.
Harness those resources and anything is possible, after all it’s what our Scandinavian friends did.
Johann Lamont tried to fly the red flag claiming that Scottish Labour was the party of social justice but why then did only two Scottish Labour MPs out of 41 vote against the CONDEM benefits cap. Charities said this cap would drive 50,000 more Scottish children into poverty.
In the 2010 General Election I had hoped Labour would unite with the SNP, a party that now stands for some of the things it once did- i.e.- a living wage, no to NHS privatisation, universal benefits, free education and no prescription charges, and try and form the next Westminster government.
The SNP along with the Greens and Welsh Nationalists were willing to offer Labour a rainbow coalition to keep the Tories out of number Ten.
Labour wasn’t interested, full of such blind hatred for the SNP they preferred Tory rule to Home Rule.
Today with a third of England and Wales backing the ‘BNP in blazers’, otherwise known as UKIP we will see Westminster in a rapid race to the bottom in a desperate attempt to compete with the fruitcakes.
Westminster now sees no problem with the PM taking part in a televised debate with Nigel Farage because he has 29% of the share of the Euro polls, not actual seats! but when Salmond asked for a similar debate he was ridiculed and insulted. The insult is to the people of Scotland.
Independence or Better Together then?
Every General Election I used to worry about the Tories winning the election, now we have to worry that a racist homophobic right wing UKIP will take Westminster even further to the right and Labour will follow suit, anything to try and hold onto their seats.
When it comes to making a choice between Independence or Better Together on September 18th I have no doubts any more, thanks very much.