There’s nothing wrong with moving countries if you want to – I came to Scotland from Australia; it was supposed to be a holiday but I met a wonderful Scotsman and I stayed. More than 18 years later, we’re still here and both campaigning for independence to give our daughters’ generation all the opportunities that it will bring. I want to see the eyes of our children lifted so they can see further, I want them to be ambitious to build a better country, and I want them to be able to do it here if they want to.
I read the article by my colleague, Labour councillor Bill Cook last week. It was lovely to read about a grandad being proud of his grandson and I’m sorry he is separated from him by such a distance. I see Bill’s son, David, headed south to find work like so many Scots have had to do before him. I want to see future generations of young Scots being able to find opportunities in Scotland. More than 14,000 children in Edinburgh live in poverty; one in five in my Leith Walk ward but even more in Bill’s Liberton/Gilmerton ward: 28 per cent of children in Bill’s ward live in poverty. Those statistics are two years old but since then UK benefit cuts have sliced deeper, more people have been forced to use food banks, people are being forced out of their homes. I want better than that for Scotland.
I want a Scotland where no-one is forced to survive without dignity, where food banks are a thing of the past and where people are safe in their homes. I want a Scotland where children grow up without fear of adulthood, a Scotland that can decide its own future, a Scotland that offers opportunity to all of its people. Children shouldn’t go to bed hungry and parents shouldn’t be shamed by queuing for a charity handout. This is a rich country but there’s poverty amidst the plenty and we should take control of our own resources.
For more than 30 years Scotland has paid more in tax per head than the rest of the UK and we’ve got precious little to show for it – it’s time we changed that. Saying we’ve got to suffer governments that don’t care and just wait for a government that does is saying Thatcher and Major were worth it to get Blair and Brown and that Cameron and Osborne are worth it in the hope of getting Miliband and Balls. That’s not ambition.
Let’s build a country where politicians are really accountable and the people can be heard, where Edinburgh is the capital city of an independent country with all the possibilities and opportunities that brings, where the future is a time of hope and promise. We can build a better country and live a better life. I want people to vote for independence, not just for ourselves but for our children and our grandchildren as well. This is our time but the future is theirs – voting Yes is our key to their success.
Deidre Brock is an SNP councillor for Edinburgh’s Leith Walk ward.