Independence will rejuvenate Scotland’s democratic spirit

We need more democracy in Scotland. It will be good for us.

Independence, and the final shifting of the vast majority of powers from Westminster to Holyrood will rejuvenate – or even birth for the first time – the democratic spirit in parts of the country where it’s been historically weak.

I grew up in Angus surrounded by wise, interesting folk who really cared about their communities and did what they could to offset the bad and promote the good. None of them ever considered politics.

“Government” was something dimly hostile and very far away. Aside fae the elected member for the region, who ye kent fae the occasional leaflets, you had nae idea who made up the government.

“Cooncil” was something to be complained bitterly about when clattering through a pothole – or a thing to desperately apply for work to when leaving school.

Neither council or government were seen as democratic agencies designed by us, run by us and responsible and reporting to us.

They were faceless organisations with unknown motives who occasionally reached into our lives and made things worse. The cooncil cut bus services. The government sent Arbroath’s Marines off to Iraq. We protested both. We were pitted against “government”.

Things have improved markedly since devolution.

It is increasingly common for normal people to end up within the political sphere. MSPs with accents like ours exist in abundance. Issues we care about find themselves at the centre of political debate.

When pals in pubs and colleagues at work have stuff to say about politicians, governmental decisions, official statements, more and more often they look at decisions made – or some that should be made – here, by Scottish-based politicians.

A democratic ecosystem is emerging. Slowly and surely, Holyrood has grown, vote by vote, in esteem and influence. Our democratic engagement has increased.

With a victory in next year’s referendum, we will infuse Holyrood with the legitimacy of a nation. We will empower it to be the ultimate political chamber in the land, and by doing so we will empower ourselves.

The next generations going forward will see that politics is something that you do, not something that happens to you. This is a tremendous change.

Academic studies have shown that being democratically involved is positive for your self esteem – it feels good to have a say over the world around you.

Bringing democracy in Scotland fully to life, with Holyrood the beating heart of that, is reason enough to work hard to win that Yes vote.