Springingtiger's Blog

A New Scottish Manifesto

I am not standing for election to the Scottish Parliament, but if I were then this would be my manifesto.

Why should you vote for an Independent, an Independent has but one vote and no party to give him or her weight? You should vote for me for exactly that reason, because I am independent. Party politicians are bound to vote along the party line whether that favours their constituents or no whereas the independent is free to fight for their constituents regardless of the will of the party bosses. It is true that parties have much more voting power than independents, but a party MSP (Member of the Scottish Parliament) has no more power individually to influence than an independent. In fact because of our voting system it is possible that your independent MSP could – if the party shares are close enough – wield considerable influence.

Most people recognise that some spending cuts are inevitable what is not inevitable is where those cuts will fall. Some cuts must not be allowed. Libraries must be protected, a cut in library services disproportionately effects the elderly and the disabled. Whereas most people can buy ordinary books fairly cheaply audio-books and large print books tend not to be as readily available and are rarely discounted so people with sight problems are hit harder by library cuts than others. The Internet is considered almost essential, the library allows people on restricted incomes and those who need support in using computers access to the Internet. The library is warm, light and there are people, this is important when someone lives alone and is hard-pressed to meet heating costs, six days a week they can escape their isolation and the cold.

Public transport is essential to many people with disabilities. Many of us are unable to drive for various reasons and we rely on public transport, wheelchair access buses give freedom to many people. If public transport is cut, if free bus passes are cut then many disabled and older people will be denied basic human rights of participation in society. Without the bus we cannot work or get out for entertainment or to socialise. The free travel enjoyed by the elderly and disabled secures for them a basic human right to be part of society.

It is time that society stood up not only for the disadvantaged but also for those who care for them. When cuts lead to the loss of a daycare place it isn’t only an old or disabled person who suffers, but frequently a carer is deprived of a precious few hours of respite. More must be done to make easier the lives of carers, there should be dedicated support readily available, increased availability of respite care, carers should receive free public transport when accompanying the person in their charge and they should also have parking privileges.

Education must not only be protected but enhanced. Everyone should have the right to Internet access, if not in their own home then easily accessible locally. We need to look again at language teaching, surely for economic reasons it makes more sense to teach Arabic and Chines than some European languages. Like everyone I feel that the cold-blooded attempted murder of the Gaelic language was reprehensible, but that is no reason for teaching it. Gaelic should not be allowed to die out, but it has not been a majority language or of much commercial use for several centuries. It made some sense for the newly independent Irish Republic to make Irish the national language as a century ago there were many Irish speakers and it reinforced a national identity, there is no such justification for over-promoting Gaelic. Education must be useful, there must be an aesthetic and cultural element, but the emphasis now must be on technological literacy. Scotland may be on the edge of Europe but technology can put her at the heart of global society.

We need to concentrate on developing an economic model that can raise the income of the Scottish People. We must restore the quality and reputation of Scottish Education and we must make use of technology, rather than looking to the – now discredited Irish and Icelandic – we should be drawing our exemplars from the East and providing the world with services which being based on global inter-connectivity do not geographically disadvantage us. Oh, and we should continue to build on Tourism.

I believe in Scotland, I believe in the ingenuity of the Scottish people – just look at the roll of Scottish inventors, entrepreneurs and adventurers – I believe that with vision Scotland can stand shoulder to shoulder with the greatest of nations. No nation today can stand alone, but Scotland can be the partner of many and the equal of them all.

And so if I were standing for election – which I’m not –I would venture that I have the will and the vision to make your vote count. Thank you.


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