Who am I and why on earth should you read anything I have to say? Well, no reason really but you are here so you might as well take a look around.
This year, 2014, the year of the Scottish Referendum on Independence from the UK, I will turn 40. I am a Scot, born and predominantly raised in Scotland, with a keen interest in my country’s past, present and future. I have an unusual education in that I am now at my fifth place of tertiary education covering a fourth area of academic interest and sometime in the next few years I will embark on what I am calling my fifth career. I have several formal qualifications and am working on gaining a few more but on top of that I can turn my hands or mind to most topics with some degree of skill and ability. I am the archetypal jack of all trades and master of none but, in everything I have done to date, I have gained the respect of my colleagues for my abilities. I count that as my highest accolade by far.
I have been a soldier, a merchant navy sailor, an engineer, an office-dwelling human resources administrator, a police officer and am now training to be a health scientist. I have worked in the private sector and for the public sector in Scotland and have encountered people from pretty much every walk of life in this country. I consider myself a pragmatic idealist and an intellectual but have more time for ordinary people than I do for the intelligentsia and life-time academics and politicians who claim to speak for society.
Politics has always been a major interest of mine but this referendum campaign has re-woken the keen focus I had during my teens. Working life and ambitions for promotion stopped me from taking any active part in politics in the past but now I am free from those constraints. I am essentially a socialist with a heavy crust of environmentalist laid over the top. But I am not the sort of socialist who despises money and I have no objections to millionaires on principle. What I do utterly object to on principle is poverty and massive inequality and my focus for this forthcoming referendum is not on how best it serves my ends or the ends of the wealthy but on how the least well off and most disadvantaged in Scotland will fare in the coming years. To that end I am 100% convinced that independence is the way forward for the bulk of Scotland’s population.
In the interests of full disclosure, the SNP have had my vote all my adult life but the only policy of theirs I have an interest in is independence from the UK. The SNP are simply a means to an end for me and in an independent Scotland I am most likely to vote Green on the basis of the current political line-up.
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