So the referendum is this year. I’m going to vote yes. I’ve always thought that I would because it just always seemed right to me. People have said “Oh you can’t vote based on a gut feeling, you need the FACTS and the FIGURES and the INFORMATION,” to which I say, “it’s my vote and I’ll use it however the fuck I choose.” I don’t need to justify my decision.

However, I would like to be able to articulate why I feel the way I do, because “just …. because!” never really goes down that well in debate.  Also I think it’s really important to challenge yourself and call yourself out on things. So I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about this and reading stuff and talking to people because just because I felt a way about things before, doesn’t mean I can just mosey on through life based on that. Things change.

And I still think it’s really, really important that we vote yes.

1. Social justice. Our country is in a bad way. Food poverty is at an all time high. The uptake at food banks is ridiculous. PEOPLE CANNOT AFFORD TO FEED THEIR FAMILIES. The benefits system is crippling the most vulnerable people in society. This is the society our Westminster governments have created and are maintaining.

2. I want my vote to count. Since I’ve been 18 I’ve voted in every single general and local election. Not a single vote has made any difference to who governs us from Westminster. Scotland did not vote for their current government.

3. No-one knows the future aka what is wrong with a bit of idealism? People keep asking for promises, guarantees, about independence. When are we ever guaranteed anything from anyone? How far into the future has any potential government made promises? How often have they been kept? No, we don’t know what our future holds. But we do know that if we vote yes, we will get a say in it. If we vote no, we won’t.

4. It’s not a vote for Alex Salmond – it shouldn’t matter whether you like him or not. Vote yes, and choose choice. Independence does not necessarily mean SNP! It mean you get to choose your next government.  It means your vote will count.

5. Environment.  Scotland has already made amazing progress in environmental issues.  Independence would offer us a say in how our society is built, how our economy is run, how our natural resources are managed and how our environment is protected.

6. Culture.  Scotland is rich in culture and has a proud history of cultural exchange. We don’t need to be led by a government we didn’t vote for to keep that.  In fact, our culture could thrive in an independent Scotland.  Just look at National Collective.   

7. NHS Scotland.  It’s good.  Let’s keep control of it and ensure its protection.

8. Immigration. It would be encouraged – there would be a more liberal policy, a policy voted for by the citizens of Scotland to best suit their needs.  This appeals to me

9. Project Fear.  The desperation of the No campaign has been spectacular from the start.  A campaign based on peddling fear and negativity fizzled out as the Yes campaign picked up momentum, and now David Cameron is making pathetic noises from London as if we’re a beleaguered spouse finally gathering the strength to pack our bags.  Instead of giving us good, positive reasons to stay in the Union, they just tell us how terrible things could be if we’re independent.  Well, they’re pretty bad now, guys.

10. The alternative. The alternative is how things are now, and that is just not good enough.  This cannot be as good as it gets – we do not need to settle for it.

Okay, I know I don’t have facts and figures and information, and I know I’ve got a way to go before I win the debating champs.  But here is my nutshell anyway:

I’m Scottish because of an accident of birth. I’m a citizen of Scotland through choice.  I want it to be the country it can be.  I believe we deserve better.  That’s why I’m voting yes.