As many of you will already know, I bloody love democracy. You may not also know though that I also bloody love writing terms of reference for committee structures… Continue reading
This was my opening speech in a debate on independence at NCAFC Scotland Conference in February 2013.
Hi, I’m James McAsh. I was born in England to a Scottish mother and a father of majority English descent. On my mothers’ side my family has been in Scotland for as far back as I can go, in Edinburgh for the last couple of generations. My father’s family is mainly from Lancashire, where my dad was brought up, but we have some Irish ancestry there too. I have spent the first 18 years of my life in England, and the last 5 in Scotland.
So there is sort of a sentimental sense to which I am tied to Scotland staying within the UK – my family is the product of that union. But the reason why I am standing here today is not that. I am standing here opposing independence on the basis of socialism and working class unity.
A few years ago when I moved to Scotland I was convinced that Scotland should be independent. I was enchanted by the progressive nature of Scottish politics: no tuition fees, free prescriptions, no Tories! But as I have moved further left wing I have moved away from this view.
In the past few years there has been an ongoing debate about free education in the student movement. In 2012 NUS adopted policy in favour of it, in 2013 a similar policy was voted down. This year in particular lots of old and tired arguments, which I had assumed were dead in the water, came back to haunt us. So I’ve written up my thoughts on the subject: why I’m in favour of free education, why I think it matters so much, and how I defend my position to the arguments against.