Scottish referendum more than just about financial calculations, says new report

Scottish voters want the debate over independence to move beyond a somewhat cold and individual assessment of 'what is in it for me?', according to new research published today.

Scottish voters want the debate over independence to move beyond a somewhat cold and individual assessment of ‘what is in it for me?’, according to new research published today.

The Church of Scotland has today published Imagining Scotland’s Future: Our Vision, a report based on the views provided by over 900 people attending 32 community events as an alternative to the ongoing national debate over independence.

The event found that:

  • Many people feel that the referendum should be about more than the simple question “what is in it for me?”. “The idea”, the report concludes, “that being £500 better off or worse off would affect how people vote was conspicuous by its absence in all the 32 events. Instead participants prioritised the building of local communities on the principles of fairness, justice and sharing of resources.”
  • Dissatisfaction with the political system at all levels, not just Westminster or Holyrood. Participants, the report explains, wanted to see “integrity, accountability and transparency, being able to hold politicians accountable between elections and for the party system to be less powerful”.
  • Calls for radical changes including far greater local decision-making and for politicians to see themselves as public servants in a more participative democracy
  • Participants argued that a modern, successful economy needs limits placed on free market forces; business models should be more focused towards the employee and more value driven. There was a willingness to consider alternative and more progressive models of taxation to build a better society
  • “A strong expression of the need for prayer and for the Church to be involved in social action and in promoting Christian values such as love, hope, respect and forgiveness, as the fundamental building blocks to contributing towards the common good.”

Commenting on the report, Sally Foster-Fulton, convener of the Church of Scotland’s Church and Society, said:

“It is an inspiration to see that people in communities across Scotland are challenging the political status quo. The Church of Scotland is committed to finding ways to transform our political debate to ensure that wellbeing and values, such as justice, cohesion and sustainability become the measures for economic activity.”

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