What does independence have to offer Glasgow?
On one level, independence offers absolutely nothing to the people of Glasgow. The last time I looked constitutional arrangements did not provide homes, jobs, food or an education for Glaswegians.
And yet this has not stopped the SNP from making wild promises about what independence will mean. Unless Alex Salmond has a Genie and a magic lamp, we need to base our judgment on evidence.
We can separate from the UK, but why should we? We have the best of both worlds. Devolution enables us to do things differently in Scotland, yet pool risk with the UK – our biggest trading partner for Scottish business – safeguarding pensions and financial stability.
An independent Scotland would lose English, Welsh and Northern Ireland MoD orders – killing shipbuilding for Glasgow – that’s not an opinion, it’s the reality of becoming a foreign country to the rest of the UK.
What Glasgow needs is more local power to affect greater social change – and that can be delivered under devolution. Glasgow has almost half of Scotland’s most deprived citizens, so you might have thought tackling poverty would have been the Scottish Government’s number 1 priority?
Why isn’t it?
Why won’t the SNP use devolved powers to protect Scots?
Why create a false premise that the world is either tartan or non-tartan?
Why say you are all for working in an economic and political union – the EU - but continually trash the strongest economic and political union Scotland has ever seen?
In practice, the Scottish Government have diminished the power of local authorities, local democracy, and ultimately local communities. It’s the great irony of self-determination – power for the people. But which people?
For example, the failure to reform the council tax – a key SNP manifesto pledge – has left us with a brain freeze since 2007 where Alex Salmond has written the richest Scots cheques for £1,535, while the poor got nothing, because they would have paid nothing, and councils are squeezed!
Meantime elderly and disabled Scots on benefits are £500 worse off each year because councils have had to introduce charging for Day Centres; and the rents for low income households have been rising. And before anyone mentions prescriptions, these were always free for those on low incomes.
Independence is vanity not sanity; but at least it has opened a debate on the need for change; not ideological change but the ability to enable a great City like Glasgow flourish, where local communities have access to the levers of power.
Glasgow, 18 November 2013
 In terms of the national share of the 5% most deprived people in Scotland from the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Statistics/SIMD/ConcentrationPaper Glasgow had 45.5% of the 5% most deprived vigintile across Scotland in 2012.