Friday, 7 March 2014

Public meeting on Scottish independence

A top-level panel will address a public meeting in Kilwinning next week – Thursday, March 13th – on the subject of Scottish independence.

The meeting, which starts at 7:30pm in Nethermain’s Community Centre, will hear from Alex Neil MSP (Scotland’s Health Secretary), Jeanne Freeman (former Special Advisor to Labour First Minister Jack McConnell) and Richie Venton (Ayrshire Organiser for the Scottish Socialist Party).

The event is billed as ‘the ideal opportunity for anyone who is undecided on independence to have their questions answered’.

Alex Neil, originally from Patna in East Ayrshire, said, “A ‘YES’ vote gives us the chance to build a fairer and more prosperous Scotland , to rid ourselves of Westminster welfare cuts, like the Bedroom Tax, and to stop Trident nuclear weapons being based on the Clyde .

“Voting ‘No’ means we will continue to have our finances cut to ribbons by London. Voting ‘No’ means we have an uncertain future in a bankrupt United Kingdom, which will use a ‘No’ vote to deny the Scottish Parliament any further powers.”

Jeane Freeman is a Labour voter and founding member of ‘Women for Independence’. She believes that women's experience of the British Union is one of inequality because of decisions made outside of Scotland, adding, “The question is – who do we believe has the better chance of giving us the opportunities, the policies and the laws to take us forward and address our hopes for ourselves, our families and our communities?

“For me, the answer to that question is us - the people who live in Scotland. We are our best bet.”

Richie Venton of the Scottish Socialist Party will be a well-known face to many locals from his time manning street-stalls in Saltcoats, Kilwinning and Irvine. The SSP has been at the forefront locally of campaigns opposing cuts to public services and the imposition of the Bedroom Tax. Since its creation in 1997 the Scottish Socialist Party has championed the cause of an independent socialist Scotland.

Mr Venton said, “A ‘YES’ vote is a means to a very desirable end. It is a vote for democracy, for the actual right to choose and elect your preferred government and to then fight for measures like a decent living minimum wage for all at 16, with equal pay for women. It opens the path to vast improvements in the rights and living standards of the working class of Scotland - which have absolutely no prospect of being achieved under a Miliband Labour Government, let alone some computation of the Tories, Lib Dems or UKIP.”

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