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Money It’s Not About It But It’s The Money

Susan Stewart Resident of Alva considers the money

Susan Stewart of Alva – Second generation single parent thinks it’s the money and remembers her mother’s anger at the 40% rule imposed by Westminster in the 1979 referendum.

It’s not about the money. In fact, it’s never been about the money.
I know that’s what I should be saying. I should be saying that getting rid of Trident is far more important. I should say that being able to secure better fishing rights in Scottish waters is my priority. I should be yammering on about how the A9 will get its upgrade and people will be able to head north without having to write their blood type on their foreheads beforehand. Call me a typical representation of the miserly, money-grabbing Scot if you must, but for me…it IS about the money.
How can it not be?

Single Parenting in the Sixties

I’m a second generation single parent – not something I’m particularly proud of, but that’s how it turned out for me. My Mum was a single parent in the early sixties, when women were not supposed to be. If you wanted to buy something on hire purchase in those days, you had to get your ex husband to sign for it, since women were clearly not able to make such momentous financial decisions for themselves. Despite working two part-time jobs and moving into some of the worst housing estates in Edinburgh for cheaper rents, her budgeting skills were non- existent and we were…well, we were poor. Looking down the back of the sofa for bus fares poor. Hiding from the rent man poor. Getting our TV repossessed in the middle of a Tom and Jerry cartoon poor. I learnt at a very young age, that money matters.

Westminster Does not Talking About the Money

In 1979 when we were voting for devolution, I remember Mum raging at the news that the government had announced the 40% rule. This meant that although we had narrowly voted for devolution, we weren’t getting it. I asked Mum why. “Oh, it’ll be the money.” she answered. “They don’t want to lose what they get from the oil. And they’ll do anything to keep it.” I didn’t believe her. I didn’t know Scotland had any money. Of course, Westminster never talk about how much money they’ll lose if Scotland chooses independence. They insist they are only worried about how much money WE will lose if we go independent.

NHS England Moving Towards Privatisation

Today, I couldn’t be classed as poor. Oh, I lurched from one crisis to the other during my 20’s and 30’s, and a better psychologist than me would be able to tell whether that was nature or nurture. I have a reliable car and can even afford to go on holiday once a year. No one is coming to repossess my house or anything in it. I work for the NHS and have suffered from the centralization policies where hospitals and services have been closed down. And the dreadful New Labour policy of Public Finance Initiatives which are, and always will continue to cripple the NHS and lock the tax payer into long term debt. NHS England are moving towards more privatisation, and this has a knock on effect on the Barnett Formula being cut to reflect that. This means less for NHS Scotland. None of those policies are about what’s best for the patient. It’s about the money.

McCrone Report

Why did Westminster bury the McCrone Report that showed how rich Scotland would be if it were an independent nation? That was about money.
Why did David Cameron hold a cabinet meeting in Aberdeen in February, only the second ever meeting held in Scotland in 90 years? He’s talking about oil. Oil means money.

Billions of Barrels of Oil Left

I’m no economist, but the experts say there are billions of barrels of oil left in the North Sea. Which would be greater? Profit from oil divided by 65 million? Or divided by 5 million? Then there’s whisky. Whisky contributes around 4 billion to the UK’s balance of trade. Now, if you divide that by 5 million… It’s bald arithmetic and it makes sense to me. And if the oil runs out in 50 or 60 years, I’d still prefer the tax revenues to come to Scotland so that we can save some of it for our own future. Westminster is never going to save any of that money for us.

On Our Own Terms

So far, this referendum has bored me and fascinated me in equal measures. Some things go way over my head where I just stop listening or reading. I’m enough of a control freak to not let it beat me though, and I try to look up everything that everyone says, so that I know I’m doing the right thing by voting yes for independence. I’ve always voted for the SNP, so that we could get to this point. But I have no idea what my politics will be once we vote in our first independence elections. And I’m not one of these people who imagine Scotland will be dripping in riches with public services coming out of every government orifice. I think we might struggle in the early years, but then, assuming we vote in the right government, I think we’ll manage our own country and our own finances on our own terms, just as other independent countries do.
So, if it’s the money that you are worried about, I’d ask you to make your declaration right now and vote yes to independence on September the 18th.

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