On September 18th 2014 – only just turned 16 years old – I took a leap of faith. For the first time in my life, I cast my vote in favour of Scottish independence. I voted for hope. I voted for my future. I voted for the futures of any children or grandchildren of my own. I voted for my country, my home. But most importantly, I voted because it was my right to do so and my voice, it matters. Scotland’s voice, matters.
6 years on, the feelings I have for Scottish independence haven’t changed. I still have hope. However, what has changed since then is that Scotland is no longer in the same position as we were in 2014. We now know that the promises made by the Better Together Campaign during the referendum, were never going to kept. We no longer face the prospect of being dragged out of the European Union against our will – we have been. As a nation, we no longer believe that voting no to independence means that we can build a more equal society across the UK. Indeed, we are now aware that the Labour party will not sweep to power and fix the mess that we find ourselves in – not by the fault of the people of Scotland, might I add. And of course, most terrifying of all, we have learned the hard way that staying part of the UK means our NHS is up for grabs in a trade deal with the Donald. Therefore, the choice that Scotland faces today is entirely different to the choice we faced back in 2014.
And it is our choice to make.
Boris Johnson’s Tory party and the shambolic Brexit process have consistently demonstrated discontempt for Scotland. They have shown us that they do not care that Aberdeen will experience the most detrimental impact than any other city in the UK as a result of the hard Brexit they have bulldozed through Parliament. They do not care about protecting the rights of EU Citizens who have made Scotland their home. Nor do they care that this process will push 130,000 Scots into poverty. I mean, why would they? It has long been clear to us Scots that this is not a union of equals. All this process has done is reinforce this fact.
Well, the people of Scotland could not make it any clearer that we will not stand for this any longer. We have shown through consecutive elections, particularly in last year’s European and General Elections – where the Tories stood on explicit platforms to stop a second independence referendum – that we want the choice of a better future for our country. Voters have consistently given the SNP a mandate to deliver a referendum on Scotland’s future. A majority of MSPs in the Scottish Parliament voted to back a new referendum and new polls indicate that a majority of Scots would vote yes in another referendum. The idea that there is no appetite for Scottish independence is farcical. The message is indisputable and it cannot be ignored.
Scotland is on an entirely different path. We have unique needs and a separate vision going forward. We reject Boris Johnston as our prime minister; we reject Brexit; we reject Tory welfare cuts and we reject the plan that Westminster has conducted for Scotland and this must be respected. It really is simple. The UK Government and their outrageous PM are either for democracy or they are against it. They either stand with democracy or against it. There is no inbetween.
Denying Scotland the right to choose our own path is not democracy.