Following Jim Murphy’s suspension of his ‘100 Streets, 100 days’ tour, Ian took to the streets in his place on Monday. What follows is a guest post by Harriet Page, a student, who attended the rally.
Yesterday afternoon I had the pleasure of listening to Ian Murray speak on a street corner in Bruntsfield. He stood in place of Jim Murphy, who was advised by the police to suspend his tour of Scottish cities in light of the behaviour of some Yes Supporters
Awful though the tactics used against Jim Murphy are, I don’t want to talk about the negative side of this referendum, because I don’t think it is what matters; aggression and abuse and nationalism will not win. What matters are the passionate ideals about which Ian spoke yesterday, and for which Better Together activists have been fighting for months: about caring about food banks in Liverpool as well as Dundee; about wanting nuclear weapons gone, and not just from the Clyde but from the UK and from the rest of the world; about a Common Weal which doesn’t stop the minute you step south of an arbitrary border.
I have heard, countless times, that Westminster is for the rich. I don’t dispute this; I want it to change. But the promised Scotland of independence is built on corporate tax cuts and the exploitation of dirty energy sources. This is not a Scotland for the people. This is not a brave change; it is turning our backs on the many in the unfounded hope that we might improve things for the few.
I want nuclear disarmament through ambitious, multilateral action. I don’t want to limit my ambitions to moving Trident a few hundred miles south where the people of Wales will live with it in their waters, while we the people of Scotland will no longer have a say over what nuclear countries do with their weapons.
I want an end to food banks and food poverty. I want this to occur through the payment of a living wage – a proposal which the SNP voted against in Parliament. I want a country where no parent goes hungry to feed their child, not a government that diverts £1billion from anti-poverty measures. And I won’t stop wanting that just because the parent in question lives in Durham rather than Paisley.
Change needs to happen in the UK. We need to fight for equality, for education, for fair wages, for nuclear disarmament, for our NHS. And across the country people are already fighting this fight. I will not accept that the only way to achieve this is to separate from the UK, without caring for those living outside of Scotland.
The Yes campaign lacks ambition. Instead of fighting for nuclear disarmament it is fighting for washing its hands of Trident, for moving nuclear weapons instead of removing them. Instead of fighting for our NHS, built by concerted effort across the whole UK, it is asking that we break up our country on the grounds that the privatisation that has occurred under the SNP is slightly less obvious than that which has occurred under the Tories.
The Yes campaign would like us to believe that they have a monopoly on idealism, hope and solidarity. They want us to believe that support for the Union is mired in fear and doubt and lack of vision. They are wrong. I love my country – from Land’s End to John O’ Groats. I think every one of us in the United Kingdom is worth caring about, worth fighting for, worth standing alongside.
Ian articulated a positive vision for a no vote. That’s what I want to hear, because I believe in making my political ambitions bigger, not smaller. That’s why, on September 18th, I’ll be voting no.