10/09/2014 09:20 BST | Updated 09/11/2014 05:59 GMT

We Mustn't Confuse the Politics of Hope With the Politics of Hate


Next Thursday, Scotland will vote on whether it wants to stay in the United Kingdom or leave and become separate from the rest of the UK. In the last few weeks, the polls have narrowed considerably with one YouGov poll on Sunday suggesting that - for the first time - the "Yes" campaign is in the lead by 1 point. What's clear is it is neck-and-neck.

Some say that the "Yes" campaign is one of hope with their promises of an "end to austerity" and ridding Scotland of the "Bedroom Tax". They say that it is only by Scotland being independent that it can be truly prosperous and can have the National Health Service that Scottish citizens deserve - albeit without mentioning that health is fully devolved. This is the side of the "Yes" campaign that Alex Salmond would want you to see.

Politics of Hate

There is however another side; Jim Murphy - a senior Scottish Labour MP - had to suspend his speaking tour for Better Together, and seek further police advice for his safety. There is a film on the internet that shows him at rallies across Scotland being called a "quisling", "traitor", "war criminal" and an apologist for apartheid by "Yes" supporters. Many in Scotland are fearful of putting up "No Thanks" (to independence) posters in their windows because - as one friend told me - "I don't want my window smashed or my tyre slashed". Chris Hoy - Scotland's most famous cyclist was called a traitor and an "Uncle Tom" when he said "how proud I am to be Scottish and how proud I have been to compete for Britain, too, and I don't think these two things necessarily have to be mutually exclusive". Let's not forget, the online abuse that JK Rowling got when she gave £1 million to Better Together.

Scotland at the heart of the UK

The "Yes" campaign has been portraying British politicians as the enemy, as rulers ruling over Scotland and plundering it. What Alex Salmond forgets to say is that the truth isn't English rulers ruling over Scotland, it's that Scottish people throughout the history of the United Kingdom have been in political leadership at the heart of Westminster. Under recent Labour governments we had Gordon Brown, Alistair Darling, Robin Cook, George Robertson (who went on to lead NATO), John Reid, and Donald Dewer as Cabinet Ministers. More recently we've had Alistair Carmichael, Michael Moore and Danny Alexander. Keir Hardie himself was an MP at Westminster. The NHS, which is beloved across the UK, and is one the UK's most treasured institutions was founded by a Welshman.

Together we defeated fascism and abolished slavery and the United Kingdom - with Scotland at her heart - is known for being tolerant at home and compassionate abroad. Britons are the world's most racially tolerant people and the Department for International Development is tackling poverty generating opportunities in some of the most disadvantaged places in the world.

The union has helped British sport reach new heights, Sir Chris Hoy trained in Manchester to become one of cycling's most famous Olympians, Sir Alex Ferguson is one of football's all time most successful managers and Andy Murray, Scotland's most famous tennis player, lives in London. The inventor of the telephone, Alexander Graham Bell, went to university in the UK's capital as did Alexander Fleming who discovered penicillin.

My mother is Scottish, my father is Welsh and I grew up in England; I believe we need fundamental change. More power should be in Scottish hands; just as more power should be transferred from London to other regions of England. Change is coming to Scotland - with a "Yes" or "No" vote, that is not in doubt. Some said that there would never be a Scottish Assembly, let alone a Scottish Parliament, but it has been going from strength to strength since 1999. More needs to happen and the UK needs to evolve as every country does. I personally believe this should be federalism - confirming what we are, a nation of nations. The true hope of this country lies not only in our currency or our trade but also in the bonds and ties of history; our culture, our invention, our universities and our sport. We mustn't confuse a false picture of hatred of what we have created together with the hope that the United Kingdom brings to millions around the world - including us.