By Scotland Now
ONE of the architects of Scottish devolution KENYON WRIGHT says a Yes vote on Thursday will deliver a brighter future for generations to come in Scotland.
Canon Kenyon Wright
DEAR citizens of Scotland, we stand at a crossroads of history and the way we choose to take will shape the lives of all of us for generations to come.
Whichever road we take, we can be proud of the way the whole nation has been set alight.
People who in the past saw no point in voting have become deeply and intelligently involved in the debate. Scotland as a nation has awakened – and I do not think we will go back to sleep.
Why is this? A taxi driver in Edinburgh gave me the answer: “We are alive. For the first time, people really believe it is they who decide.”
Whatever we decide, we must forge a new unity in our beloved Scotland and not lose the unbelievable energy and commitment that has been built up these last months.
I have no right to tell you what to do on Thursday but maybe from my own experience I might be able to clarify what this is all about and help some of those who are still confused by the conflicting messages we receive every day.
I am not a politician. I am not a member of any party. I am a patriot but not a nationalist.
I say “Yes” and I ask you to hear my reasons and make your own decision, if you have not already done so.
The debate seems to have centred on two areas – the economy and power.
ON this, confusion is understandable, for we have credible voices on both sides.
The No campaign from the start had “Project Fear”, telling us how poor, weak, friendless and alone Scotland would be.
In these last days, the message of fear has come back with a vengeance, as the Prime Minister and the Government have openly pressurised and cajoled big business to make the message as gloomy as possible. They promised us daily doses of “shock and awe”. It has certainly been shocking and awful.
On the Yes side, Business for Scotland, with thousands of business people in companies large and small, tell us Scotland is one of the richest countries in the world and would thrive as an independent nation.
The confusion boils down to your answer to a single question: “Who do you trust?”
BEHIND the economic questions lies one even more important. Simply, who controls and decides? Where is the power to make the decisions that affect our lives – in Westminster or in Scotland?
After blackmail – “Be naughty and vote Yes and you will suffer” – we now have bribery: “Be good and vote No and we’ll give you your reward.”
The promise of more devolution is an illusion. Firstly, if our past experience is anything to go by, promises made in the heat of the debate may never be kept – especially as polls in England show strong opposition to giving anything away to Scotland.
Secondly, devolution – even the Maxiest and most accelerated – leaves real power at Westminster. Don’t forget that, in the British system, nothing is irreversible.
Any powers “given” by London can be undermined or even taken away at the whim of any future government.
Devolution will not protect our public services, and especially the NHS, from cuts in Scotland’s
finances imposed by Westminster’s austerity policies.
Devolution is power by the gift of others. Power in Scotland is ours by right.
In brief, there is one single central question which I believe every Scot should ask when voting. It is this: “Where should the final power over Scotland’s affairs lie – with Westminster or with the people of Scotland?”
Consider this as a possible – maybe even probable – scenario if we say No.
It is four years ahead. Scotland has been dragged out of Europe by a Conservative-UKIP coalition, led by Boris Johnson – who has openly opposed any further devolution – and UK government cuts to Scotland’s finances have begun to undermine our social services and NHS.
Scotland needs not devolution but the power and right to make our own decisions.
We will make mistakes but they will be our mistakes instead of the mistakes of others, forced upon us by governments we did not elect, with policies we rejected.
IF you vote No, I ask you to consider not just what you are voting against – Scotland’s right to control our own destiny – but also what you would be voting for.
To vote No is to vote for the system that allowed Maggie to impose the poll tax and much else. The system that allowed Tony to take us to war based on lies. The system that allowed Cameron to dictate there would be no second question for a middle way on the voting paper. The system that has so often been used against us and, sooner or later, will be again.
Is that what you want?
If you vote Yes, you are saying you believe Scotland can do it, is able to prosper and take its place among the nations. Cameron is right. There is no way back. But there are plenty of ways forward.
Independence, yes, but I prefer to call it Interdependence, since a new Scotland would, I am sure, enter into better relationships with our neighbours in these islands and in Europe, based on meeting face to face as equals.
Independence is a means, not an end. To support an independent Scotland is to say Yes to a nation with a social agenda, committed to justice and the welfare of those in need, and of all our children; a nation in which power comes from the people and is shared with local government; a nation with a constitution that protects our rights from any arbitrary decision of governments.
Thomas Paine, the political radical, once said: “The first duty of every patriot is to protect his people from their government.”
We have been doing that for years against the UK Government – we will not let Scotland off the hook.
As I write this letter, I can hear in my mind the voice of Hamish Henderson, the Scottish poet, singing two lines of his famous song Freedom Come All Ye, so relevant to our time:
“So come all ye at hame wi’ freedom, Never heed whit the hoodies croak for doom.”
Scotland’s future is in your hands as never before.
Of one thing, I am convinced. If we say Yes, future generations will thank us for the proud caring
Scotland in which they live.
If we say No, they will ask in despair and disbelief, why we briefly held the nation’s fate in our hands, and let it drop.
We stand at that crossroads. We look ahead along the new way – the road less travelled. We cannot see all the way ahead but we can see far enough to know the nation would be safe in our hands.
I know the powerful will say No.