Out lesbian Scottish Glasgow Labour Councillor, Judith Fisher, speaks with KaleidoScot about her reasons for voting that Scotland stays within United Kingdom.
I’ll be voting No on Thursday because we achieve more by working together for change.
We have more in common with people in Liverpool or in Newcastle, than divides us. We already manage our Health Service, Education and so many other issues at a Scottish level. Areas such as our Foreign Policy, International Development, it makes sense to be part of a larger unit, giving us more influence on the world stage, so we can help secure the rights of LGBTI individuals elsewhere in the world.
The UK is the best place in Europe to be gay. The rights we’ve secured have been hard fought for and I think we can be proud of what we’ve achieved together. So many of our rights are newly secured and need to be protected. Remaining part of the UK, as an active member of the EU, is the best way to do that.
Some would argue equality legislation could be better served enshrined in a constitution of an independent Scotland.
Our constitutional arrangements and the current ConDem Government are two separate issues. I expend my energies working to serve my constituents and in building a better, more equal society. I have no interest in supporting the Status Quo. However, the change I want to see is in reducing poverty, building more houses, creating jobs. These are all changes that can be made by political will, we already have the powers we need to achieve this, but channelling our energies into establishing the trappings of a nation state distracts from that. Politicians in Scotland have been forced by the SNP to spend the last few years talking about the constitution, when we should be actually doing things to change our country for the better.
A more equal society is possible, both for Scotland and the whole of the UK, but the best way of securing that is voting Labour. It doesn’t matter what constitutional set-up you have, it’s who you vote for that sets the agenda. No country can ever be an utopia, there will always be hard choices. The SNP would have us believe that we can top notch public services coupled with cuts in taxes for businesses. That just doesn’t stack up. You have to make choices.
Yet some say Scotland is already far more progressive than the rest of the UK.
It’s important to remember that a UKIP MEP was elected in Scotland, just like other parts of the UK. Scotland is not exempt from narrow nationalism and, as politicians; we need to make the case for a more co-operative approach to politics and the benefits of working together to achieve shared goals. That’s as true of the dangers of leaving the UK as it is of leaving the EU.
The EU has brought huge benefits to Scotland, particularly our more remote, fragile communities. Scotland’s membership of the EU as a separate nation would not be automatic, which is why a Labour Government at Westminster, with Scotland as a strong part of the UK, best helps us protect our membership of the EU.
How are you finding the referendum debate?
Throughout this campaign, the level of misogyny that has been directed at so many women who’ve exercised their democratic right to free speech has been horrendous. Whilst this hasn’t been exclusively from the Yes side, it has been much more prevalent and is a characteristic of what’s become known as the ‘cybernats’, nationalists using social media. There have been particular high-profile targets, but it’s been pervasive at every level.
It worries me, whatever the outcome on September the 18th. It’s not Westminster that’s holding us back from building a brighter, better society, it’s ourselves. I don’t think that Scotland is more misogynistic than the rest of the UK, but this campaign has certainly brought a certain vocal misogyny out from under its rock. I think we’re better than that.
By the 19th of September, I hope we’ll have made a positive choice to stay part of the UK, a renewed commitment to working together to build a better, more equal society.
A strong Scotland, as part of a strong United Kingdom, it’s the best of both worlds.
Judith Fisher is Labour Councillor for Drumchapel/Anniesland on Glasgow City Council. She lives in Glasgow with her wife and their young daughter. Prior to being elected, she worked in Higher Education.