I attended the launch of the YES campaign in Edinburgh this week. I said to a comrade who I was sitting beside that I felt that I was part of history. It was great to be in an audience which included the whole of the political spectrum. I hope this is going to be part of something new. Alex Salmond promised good old fashioned community campaigning and technological wizardry. Many prominent Scots came on the stage and spoke about what independence meant to them. Another one hundred had signed the campaign. It was great to see Alex Salmond and Patrick Harvie of the Greens come on stage together. However however eloquent and passionate the speakers were, it was evident to me how little women, people with disabilities, ethnic minorities, young people were on the platform.
I describe myself a a Feminist republican and want Scottish people be able to participate in decisions that mean so much to them. However with the promise of an independent nation I want to see a new kind of politics away from the adversarial and towards more a fairer kinder society it’s why I decided to join a political party in the first place. The campaign needs to widen out to ensure that more voices are listened too not just under a party’s or group’s banner but those of women, people with disabilities, ethnic minorities. The challenge to the YES campaign is to ensure all feel included.
It wasn’t too great a start to such a wide campaign when at least ninety percent of those who spoke were middle aged men. the campaign is too important to leave it in the hands of a few. Women’s voices need to be listened too. At the weekend I spoke to a TV researcher who had been involved in bringing together politicians for political programmes. They said that although they had approached all the parties with a request for female representatives, they were disappointed that none were available. I know many talented eloquent women who would have been a credit to their parties but were for whatever reason were overlooked. This is a criticism we all have to take to help ensure some kind of gender balance as a very beginning of diversification and wider representation.
I’m a member of the Scottish Socialist Party. We recognise the need for gender equality and have a male and female co-spokesperson like all the political parties though we recognise that we have still much to do to encourage women to feel more able to be involved and included. The labour and Conservative government who will support the NO campaign both have female leaders. Women who say YES must be supported in speaking out about why Independence means so much to them.
I liked Elaine C. Smith’s vision of a Scotland where we can eradicate poverty. Imagine Scotland as an independent country where all it’s citizens are fairly represented.I’m a proud passionate woman of the left and along with my comrades dream of a land like that. We are a great nation, a land of immigrants all who diversify our nation. A place where I am proud to call home and a place where I want everyone regardless of background to feel at home. That’s why I am proud to support the YES campaign wholeheartedly and will be campaigning for a referendum but I want a campaign where all are recognised and not just lip service paid too.