Editorial: Let’s pray the referendum brings a change to political culture

Sunday Supplement

Our detailed look back on the stories that we have been talking about in Moray…..

It has actually been a quiet, non-controversial and generally enjoyable week for the people of Moray.

Or at least it has been if you are one of the rare breed who has managed to escape all mention of the forthcoming independence referendum.

On insideMoray I’ve been very careful take a neutral line on the entire debate – and as those who know me outside the world of this community news site will know just how difficult a personal job that has been.

Today I’m going to break from that a little being as it is the final Sunday before polling opens on what will be the single most important democratic decision taken by the people of Scotland.

I am speaking of course as a long-time believer in an independent Scotland, just in case that was not already clear.

That said, I also believe in the democratic process and the right of each of us to take our personal decisions in the sure knowledge that we will adhere to the will of the majority.

So I’m not about to try and sway minds, but I would hope to perhaps concentrate them a little.

[box] “I joined the SNP not because of impending referendum but because I believed that particular party was doing great things for Scotland.”[/box] I joined the SNP not because of impending referendum but because I believed that particular party was doing great things for Scotland, while on a local level I had built a massive respect for grass-roots SNP supporters.

So I then took a step further by running as an SNP candidate for Moray Council not because I was a member of the SNP, but because I was outraged at the manner in which a friend and colleague had been treated after being democratically elected into office.

A candidate who has proven himself to be far more able than I was eventually elected – and being a great advocate of the democratic process I welcome that – more now perhaps than I realised at the time.

Now on Thursday I hope that the same democratic process allows Scotland to go forward as an independent nation. However, the day after the referendum I will tender my resignation from the SNP, regardless of the outcome.

I doubt I will be considered a great loss to the party – but it is not the SNP I have any gripe with, it is politics in general. Regardless if Scotland remains in the union or leaves the union I aim to spend the rest of my days fighting for a change in our political structure.

[box] “I’ve come to the conclusion that our party political system not only fails to serve the people but actively works against them.”[/box] Having seen and worked within Scottish politics for and on behalf of members of three of the four major political parties, having also worked within the process during this referendum, I’ve come to the conclusion that our party political system not only fails to serve the people but actively works against them.

Little wonder engagement at elections has been so poor.

It is widely expected that perhaps more than 80% of the electorate will turn out on Thursday, representing the highest election turnout ever recorded. I believe such great numbers are turning out because this time they believe their vote will make a difference – this time they are not voting for a party political system, they are voting for a cause.

If the result of this is Yes it will produce a massive change for every man, woman and child in Scotland.

My hope is that in the midst of that change we can produce a new political system that really is fair and equal to all, one that is not serving the interests of politicians or powerful groups who actively lobby their support.

We have a chance to change all our lives for the better – I pray that we take it.

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