As last time, the SUWN will be campaigning hard for our right to run our own country AND for the policies that will bring in a fairer system when we have won that right. The change of flag needs to symbolise a complete change of outlook. This is an opportunity to redefine what makes a good society, and we will aim to ensure that social security is central to the Independence debate. An independent Scotland would open a wealth of possibilities. Instead of fighting a rear-guard action against a continuous onslaught from the DWP, we could be looking at the end of sanctions and computer-based assessments, and the future introduction of a Universal Basic Income. But we can’t take any of this for granted. If we want to see real change, we need to demonstrate what is possible now. We need to raise people’s hopes and expectations, so that when we win Independence we can’t be told to go back in the box and be satisfied with minor reforms. We must demand a real difference in Scotland that can also provide a source of hope beyond our borders.
The SNP has chosen to use Brexit as the trigger for a second referendum. We have argued that there was already ample cause for another vote in the UK Government’s failure to implement the ‘Vow’, and that the Scottish Government’s inability to protect our most vulnerable citizens from the depredations of UK ‘austerity’ should have been a red line issue. But whatever your view on the EU – and we have activists who voted on either side of that referendum for a variety of reasons – we now have an opportunity to make real change here in Scotland.
In 2014, YES won massively in the schemes, but we were beaten by the higher turnout among more prosperous voters who feared that change might impact their comfortable existence. This time we need to ensure that the working-class vote is big enough to win us the freedom to create a better system.