Friday, 6 June 2014

Meeting hears positive case for 'YES' vote

The latest pro-independence public meeting organised by YES Scotland in North Ayrshire attracted a very large crowd to the Volunteer Rooms in Irvine.

Chaired by former SNP MSP Kay Ullrich, the meeting heard from Jeanne Freeman of Women for Independence, Alex Bell of Labour for Independence and Robin McAlpine, director of the Jimmy Reid Foundation.

Ms Freeman explained her career path had taken in nursing, university and working as Chief Political Advisor to Jack McConnell MSP while he served as the Labour First Minister of Scotland. She told the crowd, “I believe that decisions on education, the NHS, transport and justice are better when they’re made closer to the people affected by those decisions, here in Scotland.

“Scotland’s NHS has remained true to its founding principles to deliver the highest-quality health care to all of our people, but Scotland needs full powers over the economy and welfare because people’s lives don’t exist in separate compartments.

“If we had the best education system in the world, other factors could prevent it delivering for our children. If a child goes to school hungry, or if a child goes to school upset because her parents are worrying about the pressure on granny from welfare reforms, then that child cannot take the full benefit of the education on offer. That’s why we need a ‘YES’ vote and the full powers of independence.”

Alex Bell stated that a ‘YES’ vote was the best way to secure fairness and equality in Scotland, adding, “We don’t want a society of welfare caps where people have to decide between heating and eating, or where the UK parties want to spend more of our money on Trident nuclear weapons.

“I seldom quote Tory prime ministers, but when Cameron asks ‘can you imagine waking up in a different country with a different future’, I will join with many Scots in answering ‘Yes, Prime Minister’.”

Robin McAlpine of the Jimmy Reid Foundation explained that the UK was one of the most unfair and unequal countries in Europe, saying, “A working person in the UK is likely to have the third-longest working hours and the second-lowest wages in Europe .

“Our elderly have the lowest pensions in Europe and are the third most likely to be living in poverty. Disabled people in the UK are the most likely in Europe to be living in poverty. Does anyone believe that’s good enough?”

Mr McAlpine concluded by saying, “It doesn’t have to be like that and a ‘YES’ vote gives us the opportunity to change it.”

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