Whenever I think about the campaign for an independent Scotland, the words of some famous Fifers come to mind.
I’m not talking about anything said by economist Adam Smith or former Prime Minister Gordon Brown – I’m referring to lyrics from a song by The Proclaimers:
‘I can’t understand why we let someone else rule our land, cap in hand…’
I can’t understand it either. Imagine Portugal being told what to do by Spain; Canada dictated to by the US… Why should Scotland have its decisions made by a government hundreds of miles away, dominated by a party we didn’t vote for?
Scotland is an amazing, incredible country. Scots invented the telephone, the TV, penicillin, golf, colour photography, anaesthetic, the Bank of England (it’s true!), the New York Times and so much more. We’re clever, ingenious, ambitious and strong – we can do anything!
But you know what? We should be doing better. An oil-rich country with thousands of people living in poverty. A fortune wasted on nuclear weapons most Scots don’t want. Too little effort made to close the gap between the rich and the poor. For these reasons and more, I’m voting Yes next Thursday.
I’ve spent the past couple of years campaigning for an independent Scotland. I’m not a politician; I’m not someone who has devoted my life to the cause. But I do feel strongly that it’s time for us to break free of Westminster and its policies that penalise the poor and the vulnerable and will dismantle the NHS. So I’ve been out knocking on doors, standing at street stalls and starting conversations with strangers, all in the effort to persuade people to vote Yes.
I’ve wandered around the streets of Kirkcaldy, Methil, Kinghorn, Burntisland and more; I’ve given out badges and stickers and wristbands; I’ve delivered leaflets and newspapers and information. And I’ve done all this surrounded by an ever-growing group of people who share my beliefs. These people are just normal Fifers, keen to take part in a grass roots movement to make Scotland better.
Because make no mistake, the campaign for independence is not led by any politician or political party. It’s led by volunteers who want to see Scotland become independent, to change the course of our future.
When we started our Yes group in Kirkcaldy, we had half a dozen people sitting in a pub, chatting about what we thought we could do. Now, we have crowds of 500 people turning out to listen to Nicola Sturgeon speak in St Bryce Kirk; we have happy, smiley supporters working in bustling Yes shops in Kirkcaldy and Burntisland; we have dozens of people desperate to join in, whether it’s dragging a giant Yes sign to the top of the Binn Hill in Burntisland, creating a wish tree about our hopes for the future, designing posters to promote the cause or just handing out leaflets on the High Street.
These people have amazed, impressed and inspired me, and have shown what we are capable of. With the national media against us and the three main political parties at Westminster ganging up to tell us what we can’t do, the Yes campaign has gone from strength to strength, turning a gap of 22 points in the polls to a ground-breaking lead.
And yet some people still doubt that we have what it takes to run our own country?
In the past 100 years, 59 countries have become independent from the UK. All of them have gone on to become growing, thriving nations. None of them has asked to re-join the UK.
Next Thursday, we have the chance to become a better country. It’s as simple as that.