by Nathan Sparling
Pride. Pride is what I felt last year in Scotland whilst leading thousands of students in the campaign for Equal Marriage. We helped bring together tens of thousands of supporters in a ‘rainbow coalition’ of conjoined organisations through a visionary campaign that was both insightful and inspiring; a campaign built on the foundation that marriage equality was morally right, and that denying people the ability to marry, was wrong. On that basis, the campaign was positive, it was visionary and it was strong. A success on all fronts, it garnered a committed support from not only the Scottish Government, but the Scottish people themselves.
Growing up, we all learned how to say ‘please’, ‘excuse me’ and ‘thank you’. We learned not to be selfish, we learned not to be cruel, we learned right from wrong, we learned to have morals and treat others with kindness, dignity and respect. We were all raised with the same distinct, inbuilt, cognitive instinct to propagate good. Yet somewhere along the way we lost track and unfortunately, we live in a world in which the ideals we were brought up to believe, or should have been brought up to believe, aren’t unfortunately, steadfast.
Pride. I am proud. I am proud to campaign for Independence because, not only is it the right thing to do in times like these, but, it will give us a vision that equality issues like marriage equality are the right thing to aim for in times like these. Everyone in our country deserves the right to marry the one they love. A right that I see at the end of the tunnel in my own future thanks to the involvement from the Deputy First Minister and the Scottish Government, aiming to bring forward legislation.
Every campaign – much like the one for Equal Marriage – has both sides, which is as is to be expected. There was the side whom progression and change where an alien concept, like a foreign object that has burrowed under the skin, simply an annoyance waiting to be removed. A splinter. On the other side of the spectrum, the that see’s not gender, simply love. The debate for Independence seems to be swinging the same way – the Unionists who will argue, lie and mislead the public to return a No vote in 2014 – and those who are pro-independence – arguing for progression, change and the right thing – an Independent Scotland electing a Scottish Parliament to govern a sovereign state.
Activism, social mobility and a positive vision where all things that guaranteed the commitment from the Scottish Government on marriage equality. It is these three components, brought together by those knowing and believing that Independence is the right thing for Scotland, that will guarantee a welcoming, truthful and insightful vision from the Yes campaign.
Equal Marriage is as important to me a decision as Independence for Scotland. Simply because both are about just that, decisions. Decisions that should have a clear-cut and obvious outcome. They are about being able to decide for yourself, for ourselves as citizens of Scotland. What is right for the people of Scotland and democracy is what is important here. It is about how a nation of equals can live in a progressive country, run by a Government elected solely by the people of Scotland.
It must be made clear, that a Yes vote in 2014 does not return a specific party in Government, nor does it set in stone policies or decisions, but in order to win over the hearts and minds of the Scottish people, we must be clear about one thing: independence for Scotland means progression. It means change. It means decisions, not always easy ones. It means choice, not always clear ones. But above all, it makes us as citizens of this country, united. That includes you and I, reader.
Independence will give us the power, the right and the fight to bring equality to this country. For women. For children. For lesbians. For asylum seekers. For gay men. For immigrants. For bisexual men and women. For trans people. For our friends. For our family. The decision on Independence will give us the right, to live as equals in our society.
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Times and details for all the Radical Indy Conference sessions, including Nathan’s, can be found here.