"The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don't have any." - Alice Walker
I believe that Scotland should be independent.
I believe that the fundamental principles of democracy can and would be better served in an independent Scotland. With a Yes vote we would immediately set out on a new path; one which will see the elimination of the unelected House of Lords, where we can move forward with an existing, proven and, most importantly, fair system of proportional representation. Ultimately we would each find ourselves part of a smaller electorate, but one in which individual voices become louder, where the institutions controlling our future move closer and where accountability from those steering the way can be demanded more effectively.
What I refuse to believe is that Scotland has not the people, wealth nor ingenuity to succeed as an independent nation. The pursuit of a fairer and better future absolutely should not be stopped for reasons regarding the machinery or bureaucratic difficulties that are all to often allowed to dominate the debate. While other countries, many less well off, can manage to navigate the supposedly impossible choices and insurmountable difficulties of independent statehood, I see little sense in believing that Scotland is somehow special in alone failing to be able to do so.
I feel passionately that we should step out into the world, not better than, but finally equal to the other independent nations of this earth. Having shaken off that self-defeating habit of thinking so little of our abilities, we should learn to lead by example. With a Yes vote we will elect governments the majority living in Scotland wish for, enact the policies we believe in. Finally, we may say, loud and clear, to the world listening intently as it will be at the penultimate stage of this debate, 'this is the way Scotland believes a wealthy and socially progressive nation can and should run itself'.
I think it is clear that the majority of people living in Scotland believe in the benefits of free education, of a publicly funded NHS and of socially progressive welfare policies. Many of such ideas originated in a post-war United Kingdom. However, it appears to me that England is the one diverging sharply from this united ideological status quo. By contrast Scotland has shown, even while tied to the purse-strings of a government the overwhelming majority of Scots did not vote to elect, that we continue to believe strongly in such things and, crucially, that they can be afforded even in times of economic difficulty. With control of one-hundred percent of spending and taxation powers we will show that these things, and more, not only can continue to be possible but should be expected of a wealthy and forward-looking nation of this 21st century.
Scotland can. Scotland should.
University of Glasgow
University of Cambridge
[This piece was written as a contribution for the Student Voices project, a student chapter of the Academics for Yes group and can also be found here. For more information and instructions on how to contribute your own piece see here]