My name is Sandra Marshall and I live in the South of Scotland near Edinburgh.
At this moment I am sitting in my parents’ house near Penicuik in the quiet space I have needed to find all year, away from chaos!
I came here today because I needed to think. I needed to focus my action in a way that will benefit the lives of the families I am a member of, in a method that will allow me to step forward in the never ending pattern of life. I gave myself permission to stop for one afternoon and look at life from a different perspective. I can truly listen to God’s voice in this house.
As I watched the wind making music with the leaves and branches on the trees and enjoyed the bright sunlight making the garden bright with laughter I considered again what steps to take, for some reason picking up the book I brought with me to read, a book about community development, that I intended to use to help projects we are trying to make work in Muirhouse.
Reading the two page introduction was all that was needed. There it all was in black and white, everything considered and, to a certain extent written about throughout the last ten years, there on the pages in black and white, the New Enlightenment of the last twenty-one years, there, contained in those pages.
Why am I writing this?
I live in Scotland.
I live in a country with 5.8 million people, who at present do not have the right of self-determination.
I live in a country that is wealthy, the 6th wealthiest country in the world, a country that has no right to spend that wealth on its people.
I live in a country that has a right to be an independent federal state and remain a member of the Commonwealth.
I live in a country that has the right to be an independent federal state and still trade with its neighbours including England.
I live in a country that should have no problem visiting family in other independent federal states within the UK should common sense reappear and federalism be adopted throughout the UK.
I live in a country that has an alliance with most other European countries, indeed most other nations throughout the world. A country with an open outward looking perspective and a multicultural diverse society.
I live in a country that does not really need to ask for its independence but could actually become an independent country and re-negotiate its alliances employing similar methods as those that Westminster uses when trying to negotiate separation from Europe.
I live in a country that has a thriving food and drink industry, wool and textile co-operatives that export worldwide, fantastic research projects including space research, a viable oil and gas industry, increasingly viable renewable energy including hydro-electric, solar energy, wind turbines, wave and experimental tidal energy, a responsible approach to dealing with environmental issues, organic and hydroculture farming projects, excellent further education provision, community development, regeneration, health & wellbeing, social housing, social justice, better mental health provision, free child nursery places, free further education to Scottish citizens, free prescriptions, and an increasing potential for sustainable local community ownership, co-operatives and sustainable micro-economy, all of which hard work has been put in place and worked on since power was originally devolved from Westminster.
I have no clue (except perhaps I do?) why we are still too poor and too small to be independent.
I have no idea (except perhaps I do?) why we are getting poorer again instead of having enough resources to live with.
I have no understanding (except perhaps I do?) why we are the ones to do all the work and gain nothing from that work.
I cannot comprehend (except perhaps I can?) why a government would try its hardest to employ the rules of divide and conquer, low wages, cut health & social care services, cut local government budgets and make false promises to farmers and fishermen to push forward its own agenda because of fear of working with neighbours on an equal terms basis as an independent federal government with a negotiated treaty created for the benefit of both parties.
Is it not time that we all woke up. Have we actually looked at the modern world with reality? Or does the need for everything to stay the same take over? Is it not clear that the measurements we use to gauge where either economy lies are wrong.
Do I see differently, I see a run down state of affairs in Westminster where no-one is unafraid? Where there is no strong leader and everything is in disarray. Is it not self-evident that the fear in Westminster has caused a leader there to choose to micro-manage her own government, and take back control from Scotland because of the need of Scottish resources to make their government plan work?
I am not trying to say that the Prime Minister does not have her country’s best interests at heart, Alex Salmond stood in a similar position at the end of the referendum campaign and gave way because he knew the truth. It is never easy to let go and change tack. It is never easy to admit you are wrong and there is another, much better way, and it is never easy, when something means so much to you to delegate to others. It is not easy, however, would it not be better to look at the alternatives rather than trying to negotiate a mess?
One thing I do see in Scotland, that I do not see in England at present is strong leadership and some strong opposition (not all, but some!).
Just one more to think about. How many laws have to travel from Scotland to England and take twenty years longer to enforce in England than in Scotland because……….?