Statement to Hustings, organised by Yes for a Better Scotland. South Leith Parish Church. 8th of April.
As a Liberal Democrat, it is easy to feel that the entire world is against us, even the job. Although I was due to be back before this time, I am sorry to say that the cost-cutting that is globally taking place in the oil and gas industry has meant that my employer's client is saving money on personnel, leaving me literally stuck in the middle of the Persian Gulf. So apologies for not being here: I sincerely regret not being with you this evening.
Let's cut to the chase, as the Americans have it. Why should I be your MP?
First of all, the basics:
I live in the constituency with my family. Our child goes to Trinity Academy.
I work in the constituency (at least when not galavanting off to distance parts of the world) with a local company that specialises in oilfield-related software. Last year I was made redundant from my previous post, so from recent experience I know the taste of unemployment and the stresses that it brings.
My travel, both with my new and in previous employment, has been an education in its own right: Unfiltered by media outlets, one sees how the world really works. Nothing beats that first-hand experience. During the past twenty or so years, I have seen places that have regularly come up in the news: Russia, Israel, North Africa, the Middle East, and of course Europe.
With so many powers devolved to us here in Scotland, isn't it better for our Westminster MPs to have a strong knowledge of foreign affairs?
Closer to home I have lived in other parts of the UK, Ireland and Norway. These last experiences in particular informed my opinion in the recent independence referendum. I voted No.
I am not against Scottish Independence because of bloodymindedness or out of a wish to dupe anybody. I am against independence because at this time I can only see the movement deliver a different future for our country, not a better one.
The Yes movement has put the cart before the horse. Surely we should be all working hard to improve Scotland today, with the powers we already have, instead of promising the land of milk and honey tomorrow.
If in time Scotland evolves in a different direction from the rest of the United Kingdom, and the south will not follow our example and our lead, then the time for independence will have come because the case would be proven beyond all reasonable doubt. I applaud the energy and enthusiasm that the Yes Campaign has brought to politics. We should be directing that energy to making Scotland more progressive.
Greener. Better. Today.
Do not wait upon uncertain outcomes: we have the power to do the right things now. Use them.
And whatever that future holds, it is clear that Scotland still needs liberalism. Liberal values are the values of human rights: on the side of the the individual in the face of power. While often copied, they can only be delivered and upheld by a person, by a party, that holds liberal values to the core of their beliefs.
In today's Scotland, I am not seeing these liberal values being upheld. Power is being increasingly concentrated and centralised. It is not a trend limited to these shores. Across the world, governments grow in power and knowledge and as they do, the rights of individuals are being eroded. We must not let that continue.
Help stop that trend by voting for the party with a proven track record on upholding people's rights, both in Holyrood and at Westminster. On May 7th vote Liberal Democrat.