This Thursday the 18th of September 2014 people who live in Scotland will get a vote to decide if they would rather be governed as a separate country or remain as part of the United Kingdom. It's the most important vote I'll make in my lifetime.
I'm going to vote Yes.
There are two main reasons for me making this huge decision. The first is the case of representation.
Scotland is a country, and should get the government for which it votes. Over 38 of the last 68 years we've been governed by a party that did not have the consent of the Scottish people. While we may share a common culture with the rest of the United Kingdom, we have diverged significantly over the last 30 years in our principles.
This difference is becoming more and more polarised. Westminster has to work at the scale of the whole United Kingdom and do what is best for the majority. Unfortunately this means that Scotland's interests are insignificant and the will of its people can be easily ignored:
Three main powers remain reserved to Westminster. For each Scotland has a radically differing view on.
On energy, where Scotland has masses of potential for renewables, enough to make north sea oil appear insignificant, yet Westminster focuses on building a new generation of expensive nuclear power stations instead.
On welfare, where the poorer amongst us are being demonized by polices like the Bedroom Tax and Work Capability Assessments. Policies that target and hurt the most vulnerable of our society.
On defence, where the entire Scottish parliament voted against going to war in Iraq, but were ignored.
English parties are now battling against the rise of right-wing parties like UKIP and the BNP, and Labour are leaving their trade union past behind. We are only going to see more polices with which Scotland fundamentally disagrees, but is helpless to prevent.
We are heading in the wrong direction with regard to the distribution of wealth, opportunities, and privileges within our society. The crucial lever to create change here is having access to the welfare system.
Over the last few years, families that are living pay cheque to pay cheque have had their benefits cancelled for bureaucratic reasons. Food banks have arisen to meet the needs of families that do not have the money to buy food. This video is from a food bank in Glasgow where I live.
We live in one of the richest countries in the world. Not being able to provide food for all in our society is unacceptable, yet this is the political path we have been set by Westminster.
A Brighter Future
Our principles, needs and context are different from the rest of the UK. I'd like to see a governmental system that reflects this.
We can build a brighter future for Scotland. We can change policies to eradicate food poverty. We can lead the world on renewables and never ever again be dragged into an illegal war.
Let's take the power back.