RECENTLY I’ve had a health issue and had to have various procedures and scans to assess the problem.

Now I am waiting for an operation, which will be in a few weeks’ time. Next week, I meet the surgeon and then have a pre-op. As I read of the consultants and junior doctors’ continued strikes in England over pay and conditions and the NHS there being eroded and underfunded, I am very grateful to live in Scotland and that I don’t have to worry that consultants or doctors are on strike here. It’s bad enough waiting a week for test results.

I’m glad my three grown-up children don’t have huge levels of student debt to pay off. I’m glad that Scotland is at least trying to protect health care for all and the NHS. I’m glad that under Alex Salmond, Scotland developed its renewable potential. I’m also grateful that Nicola Sturgeon prioritised babies, nursery and childcare – with baby boxes (below) and a child payment uplift because she recognised that you can forget the next 15 years at school if children get off to a bad start in life. I’m glad Scotland wants to protect food safety (but worry we won’t be “allowed” to).

The National:

Yes, the Scottish Government made errors over the ferry procurement – but at the same time, the Queensferry Crossing was a success story. I’m certainly grateful to live in a Scotland where most people prioritise a wellbeing economy, where all children deserve fair opportunities; where people value equality and a greener Scotland.

The trouble is, Scotland doesn’t have the levers to achieve this or a modern democracy – all it can do under the devolved settlement is to tinker at the edges.

In a federal state, the central government has clearly defined roles – federal roads, foreign police – and they don’t have to “allow’ the states to do anything! This confusing and unworkable devolved UK system is a mess and not used anywhere else. In a federal state, the central government doesn’t “allow” the states broadcasting rights, immigration laws, or Vat rates. Each state has its own laws for starters. I lived several years in Chicago and it surprised me greatly that major decisions were made at the local level (though I am aware that things in the US are not perfect by any means). I also didn’t realise back then I should be a proud Scot. So many Scots are also totally ignorant of our own heritage and history.

The UK system is like a parent and child – where Whitehall will only allow the Scottish people certain rights over our own lives if it so chooses. The British state, since its inception, has been fixated on centralised control, of the supposed “stability” of the Crown in Parliament. Whatever happened to the sovereignty of the Scots people?

I’m proud Scotland has leading universities and innovative scientists, I’m proud Scotland has major international festivals and a successful creative community of artists and musicians. I’m proud Scotland has a wealth of resources – whisky, quality food and the potential to be a world leader in renewables. But even while most Scots want better equality and democracy, we don’t have the devolved levers over the economy to achieve this – and sadly, Scotland is one of the most unequal and exploited nations in the developed world.

Like many Scots, I wasn’t taught to be a proud Scot at school – but to feel second-rate to London and its history. Just as in Northern Ireland where children are taught about English rivers, but not about their own Irish rivers! The MSN Unionist media may try to claim the British state celebrates its diversity, but it’s a hollow front as it has also suppressed other cultures and languages. Our diversity can actually make us stronger, not weaker.

The Union believes in a mono-global culture. In the 1800s, European countries realised to harness their real potential, they must have national renewal and national aspiration and the map of Europe changed from huge empires to the small nations of today. Scotland must join this Europe of sovereign, free nations in order to shape and control our future destiny.

We can still share security and co-operate on defence with rUK – independence just means that Scots voices have a say and not just a tiny Tory elite.
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