St Andrew’s Day – A day to appreciate the things that make us proud and to reflect on the two visions for the future of our nation set out this week
In an exclusive article for Endeavour Public Affairs to mark St Andrew’s day on the 30th of November, Angus Robertson MP sets out a vision of two possible futures for Scotland. He concludes that the year ahead between now and Saint Andrew’s day 2014 will be the time for Scots to think and decide about those two futures. By the next time Scots gather to celebrate their patron Saint again he believes that Scots will have firmly chosen to become an independent nation.
Angus Robertson is the Scottish National Party Member of Parliament for Moray and is Leader of the SNP in Westminster.
To follow Angus Robertson on Twitter – @MorayMP
Saint Andrew’s day is once again upon us and we have an opportunity to appreciate the things that make us proud as a nation; a nation not just of home-grown Scots but of people from around the world who come to work and live here in our increasingly vibrant country. This year we have something else to be proud of, the most comprehensive blue print for a nation preparing for independence ever written. The document published this week; “Scotland’s Future” in fact gives us a vision of two possible futures.
A yes vote in next year’s referendum will create a distinctive and exciting future for Scotland. A future in which Scots get the government they want. A fairer more prosperous society in which we would invest in childcare not nuclear warheads. A country which would reverse the appalling inequalities and poverty created by successive Westminster governments; ridding us of the bedroom tax and the shame of hundreds of food banks in a country brimming with resources and talent. A country which would be welcomed into international organisations and not embark on illegal vanity wars that destroy hundreds of thousands of lives on the basis of a lie. The No campaign have dusted off every scare story and half-truth in the book: the Scots are too ‘wee’, too poor, too stupid, and the oil is running out. That is their decision and their strategy and one which I suspect they will come to rue by September 18th next year. The Yes campaign by contrast is based on a positive agenda, an encompassing, inclusive vision. It is Project Hope against Project Fear.
If there is no vote we would continue in the grip of the Westminster system with governments we do not vote for and policies imposed against the will of the Scottish people, such as the obscenity of Trident nuclear weapons dumped near our biggest city. No change on offer for the next fifty years, even though Trident is grotesquely expensive, immoral, and aimed at – it would appear – obliterating the people of Saint Petersburg. All imposed from a wasteful, undemocratic, and discredited parliament which now comprises more unelected peers than elected MPs.
The truth is Scotland would be welcomed into the world community as an independent nation. Nobody now seriously thinks Scots would be expelled from EU citizenship as the No campaign still trot out from time to time. The real threat to our membership of the EU comes from the increasingly desperate Eurosceptic braying emanating from Westminster. We know other NATO countries would welcome us with open arms because of our experience and contribution since its inception as an organisation over 60 years ago, and the giveaway is in the title because of our location in the North Atlantic. Westminster ministers now concede they would want an independent Scotland to be in NATO, as do many senior politicians in NATO member countries. Real people, who know of what they speak. Not scare stories.
Another truth is that a currency union between Scotland and the rest of the UK is in the best interests of Scotland AND the rest of the UK. Is George Osborne really going to give up all those balance of payment benefits from North Sea oil and gas, and hamper trade with the rest of the UK’s second biggest export market – namely Scotland out of political spite? Once these scare stories are one by one knocked over like shaky ten pin bowls, Scots will look at the rational and positive arguments for deciding our own future.
We are a proud nation, and one with an amazing heritage and history. We have contributed so much to the world’s literature and culture and Saint Andrew’s day is one of those moments where we can take stock. Westminster has served us badly for many years – and the chance to do something new – to address our problems and grasp our opportunities in a new way will, I believe, inspire us in the year ahead when we think about those two futures on offer. Time and time again, people say they want the Scottish Parliament taking the big decisions for Scotland in areas like social care and welfare as well as health, education, and housing. Now people have an opportunity to complete that transfer or power. Decisions made about Scotland are best taken by people who live and work here. That is the fundamental and compelling offer of independence, and why a growing number of undecided voters in public forum after public forum emerge saying they will vote Yes, having heard the facts rather than being fed scare stories from the No campaign who dub themselves ‘Project Fear‘ – so blatant is their negativity.
The year ahead between now and Saint Andrew’s day 2014 will be the time for Scots to think and decide about those two futures. By the next time we gather to celebrate our patron Saint again I believe that Scots will have firmly grasped that opportunity.
Published: Wednesday 29 November 2013
© Copyright of Endeavour Public Affairs 2013
Photograph: © Copyright of Angus Robertson MP
The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone.