My name is Ena McLean. I am a member of the Scottish Socialist Party. I have never spoken at a public meeting in my life. I am not politically clever or savvy so I won’t be getting into party politics. I am here as an ordinary citizen to have a conversation with you about the coming referendum.
I am sure that some of you are finding it difficult to come to a decision about independence. The more you listen to the Yes/No debates the more confusing it gets. Who do you believe? Who can you trust?
The so-called experts can’t agree about anything. They contradict each other all the time. We’ve had scare tactics, promises of good times to come. Now both sides are being nice to each other. I’m really confused. So I decided to ignore them all and base my decision on Scotland as it is now and Scotland as I want it to be. My conclusion is that the only way to get the Scotland I want is to make a complete break with Westminster.
I am absolutely not anti-English. But I am completely anti-Westminster. In my opinion, Westminster is stuffed full of career politicians who yearn to be lords and ladies and millionaires, who are there solely to protect the interests of the very rich and powerful.
The English, Welsh and Irish working class are suffering the same Westminster imposed austerity as the Scots. The big difference between us is that we have a fantastic, once-only opportunity to create a new Scotland. A fairer and more equal democracy.
Just imagine if we could change the fact that one in three children in Glasgow alone live in abject poverty. Forget about the numbers for a minute and think about this in human terms. It means that one in three kids go to school on an empty stomach, or go to bed hungry in a cold home that the parents cant afford to heat.
I’m not talking about dysfunctional families, where drugs or alcohol abuse are an issue. I’m talking about families who are in work but earning such abysmally low wages that it’s a constant struggle to make ends meet. These are the families who are using food banks and pay day loans.
We have become a low wage economy in a rich country. Stagnant wages and the ever-rising cost of living are putting families at risk of real hardship. There is a better way, but as long as we’re tied to Westminster we are never going to find it.
Imagine too if we could change the fact that the sick and disabled are compelled to undergo humiliating assessments by profiteers who have no understanding of the effects of the illnesses and disabilities on the individuals they are assessing.
People who are affected have to go through those assessments on a regular basis just in case they should wake up one morning and find that where yesterday they could only walk 25 yards today they might be able to walk 26 – so they should be in a job.
It’s not enough to be sick or disabled, you have to be punished by having to worry from one assessment to the outcome of the next. This is the policy of Iain Duncan Smith. I listened to him on the Andrew Marr show a few weeks ago. He was outlining his fiendish plans for further reforms of welfare.
On the same programme he was asked to comment on the Tory MP who had been reprimanded for using taxpayers’ money to make mortgage payments on a house her parents were living in. Iain Duncan Smith sat there and made excuses for her.
She made a mistake; the press were out to get her; blah, blah, blah. On the one hand he is devising punishing plans for the sick, disabled and unemployed and on the other he is defending an expenses cheat. This is typical of the arrogance of the privileged. Better together with these posh parasites? I don’t think so!
The Westminster government are planning more austerity cuts which will plunge thousands more into extreme poverty. We can stop them by becoming independent.
A Yes vote is not a vote for Alex Salmond. It’s a vote for the people of Scotland to be able to start over again and create a new Scotland. How many countries get a chance to do that? Let’s not waste that chance.
I’ll finish by stealing a couple of words from the Bard. Let Scotland become a ‘burning shining light to a’ the place.