By Pat Kane
There are parts of Scotland where the past, the present and the future gets rolled up in one. I’m often to be found in and about Spiers Wharf in Glasgow. The productive might of the 19th century is all around you. What are now designer residences used to be grain and sugar mills, or admin offices for the Clyde and Forth Canal.
On the hill is where my brother and I’s band Hue and Cry have our offices. A little further down is the Whisky Bond, where I do a lot of my work as writer, researcher and curator. I’m in the building alongside architects and sculptors, 3D and laser printing shops, dot-com and eco start-ups.
Spiers Wharf used to be a hub of the industrial revolution - now it’s a hub of the information revolution (and perhaps of the next industrial revolution too). You’ll find spots like this in the leading centres of the developed world - Barcelona, Copenhagen, Berlin, Milan, Prague. And as Glasgow’s competitiveness with these areas proves, you clearly don’t need independence to generate creative places.
But for me, Scottish indy has never been just about being as good as everyone or everywhere else. It’s always been a visionary thing - how can we do things differently, better, more humanely? And I think we have an opportunity to steer a society dominated by creativity and innovation in a different direction.
Glasgow, and too much of Scotland, is a place where the rich dominate the poor. Where those with skills and assets aplenty sit right next to those with very little. And where the affluent can outlive the struggling by up to 20 years. Where nearly a million men and women can’t get into the game of high-skill and high-wage creative jobs. Where hundreds of thousands of children are born to fail.
I’m on the lucky side of the divide. But I’m ashamed of living in a city, or a country, like this.
So many artists, creatives and entrepreneurs support indy because they know it’s not enough just to have talent and ambition. A creative society is built on solid ground.
For a nation to be an imagination, where everyone can bring their best ideas to the table, you have to start from a firm collective base. You need to be healthy, well-fed, well-parented, and well-housed, free from unnecessary worries and stresses You should be educated from childhood to adulthood without worrying about its cost. Your streets and parks have to be welcoming not alienating. You should use the giant natural wealth of Scotland to support small enterprises to grow and develop into bigger ones.
An independent nation, fully in control of its own resources, can take strong measures to improve opportunities for all Scots. That’s what we have the power to start doing with a Yes vote in September.
Independence is the chance to show the world a different model for 21st century society. Where progress is much more than cool, super-smart elites on one side and a struggling majority left behind on the other.
My Yes vote is the best creative act I can imagine: the thunderclap that starts a fair, prosperous and dynamic country. Let’s get started.
Courtesy of The Scottish Socialist Voice