“Simply because we were licked a hundred years before we started is no reason for us not to try to win.” – Atticus Finch, To Kill A Mockingbird

SELF-DETERMINING Scottish society has the opportunity to make great strides in realising human rights for everyone who chooses Scotland as home. If we consider human rights as basic individual rights based on our fundamental needs as human beings, then all manner of apparent and assumed difference or diversity inherent within society becomes secondary. The collective societal expression of human rights might then be seen as a way of embracing all those secondary differences and assumptions.

But who cares? Is an argument for improving human rights in Scotland important right now? Precisely because of what is happening to people and their families right now, it is. While moderately loathe to fall into the easy position of “Tory bashing”, to say the UK Government is attempting to enforce a society based on extreme individualism would seem to hold legitimacy, as does the assertion that assuring the pursuance of human rights is not on the current political agenda.

The UK Government has long since planned (or promised, depending on the target audience) to abolish the 1998 Human Rights Act, with the opt-out of specific parts of the European Convention viewed as a mechanism to accelerate the deportation of asylum seekers. We might assume that the implementation of these proposals will require legislative consent, however there is unfathomable evidence of the UK Government traversing parliamentary scrutiny and bypassing the pre-legislative process.

Critically, an independent Scotland will not be at the mercy of an unelected government, beyond the reach of the law; but instead, will offer the opportunity for the rights of ordinary people to challenge government to uphold its accountability. Independence should come with momentous expectation that the entrusted powers will be subject to a much greater level of answerability. It would seem reasonable to assume that people in Scotland will have extremely weighty expectations for significant and meaningful improvements when we secure independence. Moreover, after three centuries plus, history will see many countries look for inspiration from Scotland as they seek to self-determine their futures.

The tedious old trope about pro-independence values equating to anti-English sentiment is shattered when you consider the shared human rights values of many English people – be they writers, musicians, Finbarr from Notting Hill or Bazza from Solihull. The embarrassment that is “English Exceptionalism” is as viscerally abhorrent to people from England as it is to those in Scotland.

And beyond. Look no further than Mancunian Laura Clancy’s excellent book, Running The Family Firm: How The Monarchy Manages Its Image And Our Money, for evidence of advocacy for human rights versus political and historically constructed power.

Being pro-independence means being pro-human rights and anti-dehumanisation – if anything, it is a comprehensible response to the current gross abuse of political power by the ruling elite. We either accept the advancing decimation of democracy or self-determine our future. We will make quantum leaps in securing human rights when we secure independence for Scotland

This article was published as part of a special-edition paper distributed in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire by the Aberdeen Independence Movement. Click HERE to read more of these articles.