WHY VOTE YES by Tasmina Ahmed Sheikh

On 18 September this year, you and I will make a historic statement on our ballot paper. We will be saying ‘I trust Scotland’s people, those who live and work here, to make decisions about our country’s future.’
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Yes is a vote for Scotland’s Future, for ourselves, our children, the generations not yet born. We’re saying we believe in our own ability, the people in Scotland from every community and every background, to make the best choices for Scotland.
A Yes vote, led by an SNP government, brings with it guarantees that cannot come from Westminster. Governments here will always be formed by parties that win elections in Scotland.
Yes brings a new society, a Scotland that is fair, compassionate, honest and accountable to everyone.
There will be a transformational extension of childcare, giving our children the best start in life, making it easier for parents to return to work and delivering new job opportunities, adding to everyone’s prosperity.
It will mean the end of the Bedroom Tax that so disadvantages 85,000 of the most vulnerable Scots and it will protect pensioners’ incomes so that they don’t fall behind inflation.
There will be no illegal wars, no Trident missiles at the back door of our biggest city.
There are 650 Westminster MPs in all. Scotland has 59 of those seats so we don’t have the numbers to make a lot of noise about our particular needs and choices.
As only certain powers are devolved to the Scottish Parliament, our Scottish Government in Edinburgh has its hands tied and that means Scotland is held back economically, socially and in terms of our future prosperity. Why? Because Westminster rule means we cannot make our own decisions about big issues such as welfare benefits, immigration policy, asylum seekers, defence and foreign affairs.
This is not about the ‘break-up of Britain’ that some allege. The First Minister, Alex Salmond, spoke a while back about “the six unions.” He said that after independence five of the six will remain: the European Union, a wider defence union, a currency union, the monarchy and the social union.
Only that sixth union, the political and economic union, isn’t working for Scotland: “it holds Scotland back and imperils our future. It will not bend, and it will not change of its own accord. So we will –we must – change it.”
We want to see the closure of the Dungavel detention centre and end the practice of dawn raids. We can end the inhumane treatment of those who have exercised their legitimate right to seek asylum. We can develop proper, humane and compassionate treatment of refugees, and we can bring a more thought-out and appropriate policy on immigration.
The Westminster ‘go home’ advertisements will have no part in our new Scotland. The migrant communities who live and work here are a major contributor economically, socially and politically.
Do you want to see more of the old ‘same old, same old’ story that says No and changes nothing?
I know where I stand. I hope you will stand with me for yourselves, your children and the future of our country.
The world is watching and waiting, and Scotland is ready to get on.
Tasmina Ahmed Sheikh
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