With the Scottish referendum just one week away, we now have a post from the Yes side of the argument. Writing exclusively for Slugger O’Toole, Yes Chief Executive, Blair Jenkins tells us why people should vote Yes next Thursday.
In just a few days’ time, the people of Scotland have the opportunity to change their destiny. With just the tick of a box on September 18, we can provide ourselves and our children with a brighter, more positive and prosperous future.
Decisions about the future of Scotland are best made by the people who care most about Scotland – the people who live in Scotland. Unlike Westminster, when we vote for our first independent Scottish parliament six weeks after independence, we’ll get the government we vote for. The people of Scotland have the greatest stake in making our nation a success. That means we are more likely to make the right choices for our society and our economy – and to make decisions that mean our huge wealth delivers far greater benefits for the people living here.
Even our opponents agree that Scotland has what it takes to be a successful independent country. We have contributed more tax per head than the rest of the UK in each of the last thirty years. An independent Scotland would be among the twenty wealthiest countries on earth. Our strength in food and drink, life sciences, tourism, wealth management, renewable energy and higher education all supplement the bonus of our North Sea oil and gas. With a Yes vote, we will be able to use our vast wealth and resources to make life better and fairer for people living in Scotland.
Our businesses will benefit from the economic policy being designed for Scotland, and we’ll all benefit by being able to properly protect and invest in world class public services, including a quality NHS and education system, and from investing in a ‘rainy day’ oil fund, providing security for the future.
The right to a free education will be enshrined in our written constitution, and the people of Scotland will be able to go to university based on their ability to learn, not to pay, and we can use our wealth and control over our tax system to attract more employers to invest in Scotland, creating more and better local jobs for younger people.
We can create a fairer welfare system, and we can take action to tackle rising energy bills, and ensure that benefits, tax credits and the basic rate tax allowance always keep up with rising living costs. The current Scottish Government outlines in its White Paper that young families will see an increase in childcare provision with all three and four year olds entitled to 1,140 free hours per year.
The White Paper also states their intention to bring the Royal Mail back into public ownership, remove immoral and expensive nuclear weapons from Faslane, and ensure that the state pension increases by at least 2.5%, or in line with the cost of living or earnings, as part of a ‘triple-lock’ protection. Scottish Government plans would see new pensioners receiving £160 per week under the single tier pension –around £5 a week or £260 per year higher than as part of the UK.
Westminster isn’t working for Scotland and hasn’t done for decades under successive Conservative and Labour governments. We can choose to go down a different path: to make sure important decisions about Scotland are made here in Scotland, and not by Tory governments we didn’t vote for. On September 18, the people of Scotland will answer the most important question of a generation: should Scotland be an independent country? I believe that it is best for Scotland that we vote Yes.
Blair Jenkins is the Chief Executive of the Yes Scotland campaign.