The view of a first time campaigner
I have never actively campaigned for anything before. Like anyone, I have my beliefs and opinions, and am happy to debate and defend these around any dinner table with a glass of red wine in hand. However, I have never before felt compelled to write to an MP, or take part in a march, or lobby the UK or Scottish Governments in the name of a belief.
Belief in the United Kingdom changed that. The question of independence for Scotland has been around for years now, and it was something I had been aware of but dismissed out of hand as a pipe dream, something that would never happen. With the advent of the landslide SNP victory at the last Scottish elections, all that changed, and the independence question suddenly became very real and very relevant.
I believe wholeheartedly in the UK. I am so proud to be a Scot, but just as proud to be British. The proposal of an independent Scotland strikes me as ill-thought-out. Simply, I do not want Scotland to become an independent country. With that I mind I signed up for the Better Together Campaign.
Independence is a matter that will have an effect on everyone living in Scotland, and there is no room for apathy in the run-up to the referendum. I want to make sure that because of my strong opinion on the debate, I am doing everything I can to stand up for my beliefs. Never before have the people of Scotland had to make such an important decision, and each and every person needs to take part in the upcoming vote. The SNP are very good at painting a nice picture of a prosperous independent Scotland, but on closer inspection you begin to realise that they don’t have all the answers, and appear to be making it up as they go along.
I joined Better Together to encourage people to question the SNP, to look at all the benefits of remaining part of such a strong Union, and to show them that voting to remain with the Union is truly the best thing for Scotland.
And so it was that I found myself on Edinburgh's Princes Street last Saturday morning, the sun shining down and leaflets in hand, inviting people to make their voices heard, and to vote to stay within the Union. I had initially been worried as I know how emotive this issue can be and I didn’t want anybody confronting me on the street. I was however, pleasantly surprised. People were interested, polite, and most took a leaflet. I was encouraged to see some of those I had briefly chatted to stopping by the information stall further down the street to put their names to the campaign. I was also not the only first-timer, and I enjoyed talking with other like-minded Scots about the reasons for staying part of the UK.
This first contribution of mine was small, but I don’t feel it was insignificant. The road is a long one, and there are many more people to reach out to between now and 2014. I’ll certainly be out and about again, campaigning for what I believe in. I would invite anyone reading this to join in with us, and help us to tell people just exactly why we’re Better Together!
Elizabeth Tracey is from Edinburgh and is a first time campaigner for Better Together