Michael Fry in his article (National July 2017) is quite right to look for growth and investment, while it’s also important to identify the levers for that growth – infrastructure, R & D, apprenticeships, education, entrepreneurship, decent childcare, housing, roads, etc.
It is also important we look at how to protect Scottish businesses. His article neglects to mention that significantly Scotland is not able to protect indigenous business from hostile take overs, as other countries are able to do. Our whisky industry was taken over by illegal scam on share prices. Independence would bring an end to Scotland being treated as a branch economy, which is always first to suffer in any downturn.
Yes entrepreneurship and hard work are essential – but even the successful will value a higher quality of life for all, with good healthcare, education, roads and less crime. A successful economy depends on more than economic growth and if we neglect young people to zero hours contracts, little prospects or a burdened welfare, we cannot expect a healthy sustainable country.
I view progressive socialism as one with high moral standards and family structures too, because otherwise it is socialism on rocky foundations. All this requires better team work. Equality does not mean we will be all the same and diversity is the key. A Co-operative team culture is central. It begins at school with mixed ability groups and with natural mentoring by more able pupils. The reality is that a 'co-operative culture' is more successful in many ways and more so than the failed project of 80s Reaganomics capitalism with its survival of the fittest. Those days of empire, of a ‘them and us’ culture are gone, I hope!
We don’t have to look far over the water to the Nordic countries of Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Iceland – who are all successful small countries with strong economic growth, alongside decent social care. That is welfare is not looked on as a ‘way of life’ but as a ‘short term safety net.’ This is about urgently devolving decision to the local level. Why should a few make important decisions? Grenfell Disaster – the TMO was organising 10,000 flats with total disorganisation and mismanagement.
Scotland has to decide now, which model of country we want to emulate – a small successful adaptable country in a larger trading block OR a low-regulated, low-wage capitalist economy with a tiny rich elite and the dire consequences of an appalling level of child poverty and the neglect of our most vulnerable.
Independence is a state of being, belief and need for autonomy.