In the 2011 elections, when the SNP won with an overall majority, the Scots electorate gave the Scottish government the mandate to hold an independence referendum.
We now have less than two months until Scotland will answer the most important question we will be asked in our lifetime, “Should Scotland be an independent county?”
Recently, politics has been revived throughout Scotland, with grassroots groups emerging across the country. This can be seen from the highlands to the borders with a huge variety of groups campaigning for Independence, for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
We are very lucky in Aberdeenshire to have such a fantastic group of Yes Activists who are out and about on the streets spreading the positive case for independence. As we are currently on Parliamentary Recces I have been able to spend my days at the Constituency Office and my evenings out canvassing with our Yes Activists. From Kemnay to Kintore, Banchory to Westhill there are canvassers out almost every night through the week. Talking with people on the doorstep is the best way to engage, to allow people to voice their concerns and to chat with people about what independence will mean for them and their family.
No doubt you’ll have seen large Yes signs throughout the constituency, as well as Yes Posters in windows and Yes Stickers on cars, the momentum is truly with the Yes Campaign.
Throughout Scotland we have volunteers knocking on doors to engage with millions of voters. Yes Scotland is the civic umbrella organisation taking the lead in the Yes vote in September. Within Yes Scotland there are numerous groups campaigning for independence - from The Radical Independence Campaign who are targeting Scotland’s most deprived communities with their hard-hitting message that ‘Britain is for the rich – Scotland can be ours’ to Women For Independence who have outlined ambitious plans to target female voters. The Common Weal project is drawing together progressive ideas for Scotland’s future which is gaining support across the independence movement.
A network of pro-independence business owners formed Business for Scotland and they make the economic case for independence, dismantling disingenuous arguments that Scotland is too poor to be independent or would uniquely be faced with insurmountable challenges.
The White Paper, Scotland’s Future, set out plans to do even more to support small businesses in an independent Scotland, promising to reduce compliance burdens and to look at increasing the National Insurance employment allowance for small business. The Scottish Government recently launched an information leaflet for SME’s highlighting the benefits a Yes vote will bring
Under this Scottish Government, small businesses benefit from the most comprehensive package of rates relief on offer anywhere in the UK. And since the introduction of the Small Business Bonus Scheme in 2009, the number of SMEs in Scotland has grown to a record high. As a result, our businesses are thriving, and helping to support the record number of people now in employment in Scotland.
The more people find out about independence the more likely they are to vote Yes, and with a Yes vote we will gain responsibility for our own tax and spending decisions, we will then have the opportunity to create tens of thousands of jobs and significantly boost our economy.
This Saturday, July 26, will see National Collective’s Yestival come to Aberdeen. Aiming to inspire Scotland to choose independence, Yestival has been travelling across Scotland throughout July.
I am really looking forward to Banchory Show this weekend and Aboyne Games the following weekend. If you see me please come over and say hello as Mr Q and I are always keen to meet with those of you who read our Holyrood Happenings Column.