Scottish independence: What women want

Free use Today 09/06/2014

Yesterday, the Daily Record published an exclusive poll of 1000 Scottish women, asking for their views on the upcoming independence referendum and their thoughts on both the Yes and No campaigns.

The printed results made for depressing reading. Out of the 1000 women asked, only 34 per cent say they are backing a Yes vote compared to 50 per cent for No, with the remaining 16 per cent as yet undecided.

The Daily Record said that the women were shown seven key reasons for independence as put forward by Yes Scotland and 46 per cent said they found none of the reasons to be a compelling argument for voting Yes.

I would personally be extremely interested to see the details of the poll if 460 women could not find a single valid argument for independence. Surely the main objective of independence – to have Scotland governed by Scotland, is the most compelling argument of all? There was no mention of how many found Better Together’s key arguments unconvincing.

I must admit I struggle to contain my frustration at times, especially when people say they don’t have enough information. The Yes campaign, in its many forms, has been up and down the length and breadth of Scotland holding well publicised and well attended public meetings, where all are welcome regardless of voting intention. All of these meeting have come with full Q&A sessions afterwards, giving as many people as possible a chance to get their questions answered.

Thousands of grassroots Yes supporters from across the nation have been out in all weathers volunteering for door-knocking and leaflet-dropping or setting up street stalls. They chat with passers-by and hand out all kinds of information in order to make sure the people of Scotland are as well-informed as possible before making this momentous and historic decision on September 18th.

The results of the survey appeared in yesterday’s Daily Record

We are trying our best to get to you, to talk to you, and to put forward an extremely positive and progressive plan for Scotland’s future – but I feel like I need to ask: Are you listening?

I hear “Alex Salmond won’t give us answers” or “there’s too much uncertainty” all the time. Ask yourself, why he can’t give you definitive answers to the questions you have? Think about what’s stopping him from being able to validate with 100 per cent accuracy every single aspect of Scotland’s independence. Could the reason he is unable to do so be due to the fact that the UK Government has refused point blank to enter into any discussion about what would happen in the result of a Yes vote this September?

The White Paper tries to outline the Scottish Government’s vision for an independent Scotland and goes into a lot of detail on many of the key issues surrounding becoming our own sovereign country. Currency, pensions, education, welfare, the NHS, immigration, defence, the constitution, the economy, and where the money to finance Scotland will come from; it’s all there.

Many people from the Better Together side have been extremely quick to shoot down the contents of the White Paper, stating that it’s a SNP wish list and nothing more than an extension of their manifesto. Well, as a woman and a mother, if I had a political party promising to make higher education a fundamental and constitutional right of the people, securing my children’s chances to access a world-class education without being left to repay a mountain of debt into their thirties and beyond, I would vote for them tomorrow .

But I’m not voting for a political party in September and I’m not voting for a single promise. I’m voting for my country and what I truly believe is the best way to take what Scotland has and make it better.

Our referendum is a once in a lifetime chance to seize control of our own future – and yes, it is daunting but it’s also extremely exciting. I think it would be exceptionally sad if we missed our opportunity because we were too unsure, too nervous or too scared. It isn’t going to be handed to us on a golden plate, we will need to work hard to build the Scotland we want to become – but very rarely do the things which are worth having come along easily.

The truth is, the UK is not okay and it hasn’t been for a long time. You only need to look down your local high street to see what we have become; a drab row of charity shops, Poundlands, betting shops, food banks, and pay-day loan companies.

We have a chance to really create change and make a difference; if not for our generation then for our children’s. Let’s take this amazing opportunity and run with it, let’s take responsibility for our own affairs and show the world, but more importantly – ourselves, what we’re made of. It’s time to stand up and be a nation again, it’s time to stand up and be counted as a country in our own right.

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