ALTHOUGH born in Glasgow, I have lived in several countries across the world. Every one has been different, a complex mixture of people and places. I am retired now, but until two years ago was living and working at Microsoft HQ in Washington State in the US. I was there for Scotland’s first independence referendum so had to watch from afar. I was still registered to vote in the UK, but my last place of residence was Milton Keynes so despite being Scottish I had no vote.

The US, particularly, was interesting, a country completed polarised by its politics. Not something I thought would happen in the UK but when I returned after seven years it looked like it is has headed down the same dark nationalistic path.

Money, often from undisclosed sources, flows through the veins of American politics and evidence suggests that same money is active here now. The US has little measured news or current affairs – like the country, the output is polarised. To think we once laughed at how poor the US media was, nostalgic for the good old BBC.

We returned to Scotland in 2018, a move we made in part because of where Trump and the dark money were leading the US.

Another factor, of course, was the cost of health care in the US. As a retired couple, health insurance was costing us $1200 a month plus excess. Of course, if you get seriously ill you might still go bust very quickly.

My wife and I hadn’t lived in Scotland for about 30 years and felt like strangers in our own land when we came back.

The BBC we remembered was long gone, the news output in Scotland and the UK is now polarised. The BBC often has the feel of a state-controlled channel and many newspapers owned by rich barons are similarly sources of misinformation.

What is not misinformation is that UK debt, like USA debt, has been growing for many years (the UK’s is currently about 85% of GDP). The UK, again like the USA, now seems to be run for the benefit of the wealthy with spiralling debt and government ministers who tell bare-faced lies.

I feel nothing but shame at the rise of food-bank use in Scotland and the fact some children go hungry when schools close for holidays.

And yes, I would pay more tax to stop these things.

On the upside, the humour of the Scottish people is truly uplifting. When I look round the world, there are numerous countries the size of Scotland doing so much better. There are really zero credible reasons why Scotland cannot go its own.

England continues to lurch to the right of politics, bringing increasing inward-looking xenophobia and polarisation. The Conservatives are cosying up to the right-wing extremist sects of the US and now wish to have a trade deal in secret. Meanwhile, the Labour Party just look inept.

Scotland and England are diverging politically, the UK increasingly looks like a failing state. The current Prime Minister is a joke around the world, rating lower than Trump.

Scotland needs competent government; the UK is leading us further from that goal.

I will be voting Yes to independence. We can and must do better.

Neil Martin lives in Fife