SCOTLAND has been my home since I moved here from Dublin 22 years ago. I planned to move on after university, but fell in love with the place.

I stayed, built a career in communications, and my children were born here.

I teach them to be kind, tolerant, open-minded and honest, and I want the country they grow up in to share these values. At the time of the independence referendum in 2014, I was a busy, working mum. I kept up with the news but wasn’t engaged in politics. However, I was very interested in Scottish independence.

My vote ended up being a No after much deliberation. Influenced by intense media coverage, I was fearful of disrupting the status quo, plus I didn’t think the plans for currency were coherent enough. But I know things now that I didn’t then – like how media ownership can influence editorial, and the BBC bias in the run-up to the referendum.

When I heard the result of the Brexit vote, I immediately changed my mind on independence. I met someone who was interested in politics and how our world really works.

I didn’t realise how horrific the world can be until I met him (and I remind him of that every day). I became so interested in the role of communications in progressive social change that I’m currently studying a masters in international journalism alongside my work.

I’ve learned why it’s so important to be engaged in politics. No matter how good the status quo seems, we need to constantly test and challenge it or we’re at risk of regressing.

With coronavirus, we’re seeing the flaws of under-regulated capitalism and our broken UK political system. Struggles to get PPE to healthcare workers are a direct result of the privatisation of parts of the UK healthcare system. I’m appalled by what’s being played out at the highest levels of the UK Government. Mixed messaging, failure to act swiftly enough, and lack of engagement with the devolved nations have caused unnecessary loss of life. We’ve watched as Cabinet ministers smirk rather than answer difficult questions. It’s a mistake for democratic leaders to forget who the boss really is. And it’s not Dominic Cummings – it’s the people. Trust in the UK Government has been irrevocably damaged. I don’t trust Boris Johnson to do the best for the UK’s people, but I do trust Nicola Sturgeon to do the best for Scotland’s people.

READ MORE: Support for independence surges after Dominic Cummings scandal

There are better ways to organise ourselves, which are fairer for all and sustainable for the environment too. The UK Government isn’t showing any signs of wanting to progress in that direction. So while I’m not necessarily a nationalist, I’m in no doubt Scotland will stand stronger as an independent country. Crucial to indyref2 will be for all people and groups who want independence to collaborate. We must set aside any perceived differences, whether religious, racial or political, and work for our common ground.

It’s also crucial to have coherent plans for the currency, economy, and public services. We can’t be on the defensive. We need to be positive and confident, backed up with facts. No matter what you think about Brexit, we can learn lessons from the Leave campaign. “Get Brexit done” will be imprinted on the minds of many forever.

I’m excited to play my part in achieving Scotland’s independence, and I’m full of hope for my children’s and Scotland’s future. Ireland has done it, so why not Scotland?

Rhona Duffy, masters student and independent communications consultant from Dublin but living in Falkirk. Find her at @RhonaD11 or