I’ve been having a wee think about this the last couple of days and have definitely came to the conclusion that the weeks and months after the YES vote comes in the hard work has to start. The Scotland that many have different visions of will need to be built brick by brick and cannot, must not, be left to the politicians in this country. None of them can be trusted to bring about the type of change many people desire.
There will be many vested interests the day after the vote, there will be the politicians, the companies, the land owners, the Police, the Church, the Education sector, the list is endless but we must not lose sight of the fact that either we ensure that we do not allow our country to be determined by the vested interest groups or we appreciate that the people are the largest vested interest group above all others, and we use that power accordingly.
Right after the vote not much will actually change straight away, things will pretty much be as they are now in the short-term and there lies the danger. This is the period that may result in complacency, a feeling that the job is done. Scotland needs root and branch change if we are to truly make it a land built on decency, on honesty, a land worth living in for everyone and some of the choices we will have to make will be very difficult ones.
We need a constitution, driven by the people, written by the people in the main and not the politicians and the lawyers. This constitution needs to put the rights of the people above all other; it needs to ensure that ultimately power lies with the people and not the parliament or big business. Our constitution has to enshrine a set of rights and principles that can never be changed without the consent of the people.
Our political system needs root and branch reform, from deciding our electoral system to the issue of recall of our politicians when they break the social contract with the voters. I would probably support a pure proportional representation system but open to ideas. Manifestos should also be legally binding agreements with the electorate, any government breaking their manifesto pledges must understand that they will be accountable to challenge in the courts, this might bring to an end the lies and false promises that are so much a part of our politics now and has resulted in a system loathed by most people.
Lobbying has to be either transparent or banned, I probably lean towards banned, while accepting there are times when large companies will have access to government this must never ever be anything that goes against the best interests of the people. I would like to see some form of legal framework for this and severe penalties for anyone who breaks it.
I would also favour a maximum term of office for politicians, say three terms at most. This would ensure that we do not allow a situation like now where we are stuck with the career politicians with little or no experience of real life.
We will need to accept that we all have a stake in making this country work and that will mean difficult choices and sometimes making decisions that people will hate and despise but ultimately are in the best interests of the individual. An example could be the fact that far too many people, especially young people, are left to rot in the never-ending cycle of unemployment and poor education. We will need to invest heavily in education, we will need to make the decision that we will not allow people to sit around doing nothing due to a lack of opportunity. However, in making these tough decisions we must ensure that when they are made that they are made with dignity at it’s heart. That education and training courses must be meaningful and where appropriate pay a living wage, that a system of social security is a system that gives you a hand up while protecting you at the same time. Very expensive no doubt, very hard to design no doubt but we cannot have the situation we have now.
There needs to be land reform, too much of our country is owned by very few people who then close it off to the rest of us. This is our country, the land is all our land and the days of the large landowners owning land and then closing that off to the people must go. There needs to be opportunities for communities to own their part of it, there needs to be a sensible system of management of the land and the opportunity to work on it if you wish. Again not an easy thing to bring about, but one to consider.
We need to harness our renewable energy potential and invest heavily in it, first to work towards 100% renewable energy for the people of Scotland at low rates and then with what’s left sold to any who want it.
Taxation must not be something that people and companies can hide away and not pay their fair share. Tax has be fair and transparent but any company or wealthy individual not paying their fair share the same as the man/woman in the street must understand that they will go to jail, they will lose their assets. The greater burden falls on those with the most, that is just a fact of life, just because you own a company that employs people does not mean that you can bend the law to suit your own needs because when you do that it is the poorest in society that pay for your wealth and that is not moral and not on.
Things like the banks must be regulated in ways that ordinary people are protected from any risks that the bankers take on behalf of share holders. The bankers must also understand that they are responsible for the decisions they make, they brought the world to it’s knees and in the UK they got a pay rise while in Iceland they went to jail, along with some of the politicians, I favour the Icelandic model.
There will need to be a referendum on the whole issue of the head of state. If we are to truly bring about a socially just, decent, and honest country then you cannot, you must not, have an unelected head of state. Every person, every young person needs to be able to aspire to being president if that is the system we have, we cannot have a system that allows a family by right of birth to hold power over one single person in this country. Those days need to be gone, they do us a dis-service and are an embarrassment. My children are not worth less than a child of the Windsors and will never ever be advised by me to bow and scrape to anyone.
I appreciate this a long blog, most of you won’t get to the end of it but we need to be thinking about these things now. These are just my ideas and are not exhaustive but are my starting point. Right now I am not involved in politics or political parties, there is no point because no matter how much you fight to change them, under the current system they won’t be changed. However, when we vote YES we must get involved or lose forever the opportunity to bring about real change for the better across the board. I know that I will be, I’ll be a pain in the arse fighting for my views.