I’m a social worker, originally from Saltcoats in North Ayrshire but I’ve lived in Dundee now for over 5 years. It’s the longest I’ve stayed in any one place! Having lived and worked all over – Ghana, Canada, Peru, Glasgow – during the decade before.
I’d read about the Irish Assembly and how much that was a catalyst for real change. I believe more opportunities for participatory democracy is a great thing, and necessary. ‘Normal’ people being able to have a say in the issues that affect them, too often political decisions – even on a local level – are taken by people with little understanding of how the majority of Scots live. The Assembly wasn’t – and was never going to be – the solution to all of that, but it’s a welcome start.
The most memorable part was meeting people from all over Scotland: new Scots, islanders, highlanders, young, old(er!) – it was great to hear so many fresh and differing perspectives. It has broadened my understanding of who ‘Scotland’ really is.
I have deepened my understanding of tax, particularly how taxation could – and should! – be used, i.e to promote greener and fairer policies. I have learned that consensus needs to be sought, each breakout table has taught me that. However, I have learned that if you explore the root issues, there is a clear majority support for tackling issues like climate change, poverty, and inequality.
Over the last decade, I’ve seen a real divergence on policy – and in the priorities – with respect to the Scottish and UK Governments. To an extent that’s been mirrored in wider society. I’m not a Nationalist by any means, but I do think (if the majority of Scots agree in May 2021) we need to have another referendum on the National Question. I believe in the vision for Scotland so many of my assembly members shared: that is, egalitarian, green, and poverty free.