Beyond Thursday’s big vote

Beyond Thursday’s big vote

Date: 16 September 2014

As the big decision on Scottish independence draws close, thoughts are turning to what comes next – whatever the outcome. 

In some ways it’s hard to predict, but a look back at the last few months might give some clues.  Many people have commented that the most striking thing has been the huge level of engagement, debate, discussion (and argument at times, of course) across the whole of Scottish society.  Guardian journalist Libby Brooks recently described Scotland as, “a place full of individuals who are doing things that they have never done before: taking part in campaigning, attending public meetings, having conversations about the future that they want for themselves and their children with an urgency that they have never displayed before.”  

There have been hundreds, or maybe even thousands, of town hall meetings, roundtables and panel debates, not to mention online discussions, stalls on high streets and doorstep conversations. We played our small part in that by holding debates under the banner of ‘2014 Matters’ across Scotland on social, economic and environmental justice, which reminded us how much people care about these big issues in the vote on Scotland’s future.  

Time and time again the themes of social justice, equality and fairness have come through from voters on both sides of the debate. All these themes are at the heart of WDM’s campaigns. And in Scotland the public desire for a society based on social justice and equality seems never to have been stronger.  

With 97% of Scotland’s eligible population now registered to vote and an electorate which is remarkably well informed and engaged, a big question is whether that level of engagement, passion and energy can continue after the referendum to make Scotland a fairer place and a better global citizen?

We really hope so, and to help that process along we’ve organised an open space event on 5 Oct.  Whatever you vote, and whatever the outcome, please do come along.

And whatever the outcome of the vote, there will be work to do. The only way to ensure that we see progress towards these strongly held values of social justice, equality and fairness is through challenging the system that stands in its way: a system based on neoliberal capitalism, that supports inequality of wealth and power and allows the rules of the market to extend into all aspects of our lives. The mainstream political parties on both sides of the referendum campaign must be challenged on this.  

We need to stop the corporate charter that is TTIP (the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership), stand up to austerity and reign in the power of the financial markets. These are all things that we can and must work on together – whatever way we plan to vote this Thursday, and whatever the outcome.