Not for walking away (Beatrice Wishart)
In conversations with women of all ages about the referendum, many have the same questions about independence as men.
They understand as well as anyone just how important it is for jobs, for businesses, and for families, that we get the answer right in September, and the need to balance the practical, sometimes complex, issues of life with the emotions of our national culture and identity.
Many household budgets in Shetland rely on incomes from the oil and gas employers, and recognition of the benefits of the energy sector within a strong UK economy are not exclusive to men.
Childcare is often assumed to be of interest only to women. That is a rather outdated view. But parents are right to question the Scottish government’s pledge to improve childcare after the referendum when they have had seven years in which to do so. That it finally acted to improve childcare for two-year-olds only came about after pressure from the Liberal Democrats.
Who doesn’t want a Scotland where everyone has a decent place to live, with access to first-rate health and social care, and an education system which gives our children and grandchildren the skills they need to go out and take their place in today’s modern world? Where the growing number of older people in our society are respected, and cared for with dignity?
Do we not also care about these issues for our family and friends in Wales, Northern Ireland and England? The union may not be perfect but we can achieve and improve much more from within the safety and security of the United Kingdom than walking away from it.
Voting “no” to independence is not voting for the status quo. The powers devolved to the Scottish Parliament mean we already have control over things like transport, health, education, childcare, justice, agriculture, fisheries and rural affairs, and more are to come.
Substantial new powers were agreed under The Scotland Act 2012 – including a new Scottish rate of income tax – and the Liberal Democrats, Labour and Conservatives have either published or are in the process of setting out their proposals for more devolution, building on the Scottish Parliament’s success of the last 15 years.
Voting “no” to independence does not mean that Scotland will stand still, or that you are anti-Scottish. Far from it, but if Scotland leaves the UK there will be no going back. It’s permanent. The referendum isn’t like an election where you can change the result next time you are in the polling booth.
We have the opportunity to continue to build on what we’ve got from within the safety and security of the UK family. Sharing resources, risks and successes across a population of 63 million instead of across Scotland’s five million. The best of both worlds. Better together.
Vote “no” on 18th September.