Politics

Independence Referendum Reflection

Words are what spark emotions in people. For instance, we hear war and naturally we feel fear and anxiety. We hear Independence and we are met with a mix of good and bad emotions, pride, freedom, anxiety, suppression. In general, words can ignite something in us. It happened to me on September 11, 2001, when two planes crashed into the twin towers. I was only seven, I cried, I felt anger, I felt for the people who had died and those who had lost their loved ones. I felt emotions, but I didn’t understand why. On the news, the aftermath was occupied with political jargon, war and hatred. Being seven I couldn’t fully take it in, but I wanted to. From that point on I was filled with a morbid curiosity, I had to settle my own confusion.

It was 9/11 which sparked my political interest, but it had always been there. Everyone has it, we all care about the rules and regulations, but we only show it when we don’t approve. And that is what is happening right now. That is why we are having a referendum.

When Alex Salmond announced that there would be a Scottish referendum on September 18th, I wasn’t amused. Oh great, I thought, another political campaign. But it was just anxiety speaking. Over time I felt drawn towards it. What was the right answer? Was there a right answer? I spent hours gruelling over both campaigner’s websites. Partly for a debate that I was involved in with my other classmates at university, and partly because I wanted to know. But I got angry over the childishness on both websites and very quickly spiralled into a huff and gave up. Why was it so difficult to have a straight answer? How could I debate about it if I didn’t fully understand it. I was immediately brought back to seven year old me obsessing over 9/11. It spurred me on. I realised I was only angry because I didn’t understand. So this time I paid more attention, I starting watching the live debates, I started reading articles from both sides on a variety of news websites. I started taking an interest.

The funny thing was, so was everyone else. In the run up to the independence referendum there has been yes and no campaigners singing or shouting about independence. There has been customers coming into my work with balloons, badges, stickers, all of which were making their way onto the floor, or the ceiling, or our clothes. Within what felt like a few months, everything changed, everywhere I turned people were expressing themselves. Whether that be for independence or against. It was refreshing. For the first time ever, people I worked with were having healthy debates about it. These people were all between 16 and 27. We were all young and we were all interested in politics in some way or another. When have we ever been able to say that? It made me realise how big this has become. People want to be apart of Scotland’s future, we want to have a voice. It is clear that maybe Scottish people feel they were never heard before. That is certainly something to think about it anyway.

If you are reading this and your are still undecided, my advice is to settle your confusion, do your research and tomorrow vote for what you believe is the right decision, whatever that may be.

Now I have one question for you reader. Have my words sparked an interest?

Ministers’ call for veto on release of report that sheds HS2 project in bad light.

Cabinet Office Minister, Francis Maude and Transport Secretary, Patrick McLoughlin, have come under fire after a leaked letter to David Cameron, detailing their urge to veto the release of the project assessment review on HS2.

The letter reveals their concerns about the release of the report and believe it will cause “political and presentational” problems, if the document is released to the public.

Earlier in the year, the Information Commissioner stated that the documents should be released, but the government appealed against the decision, and will appear for a tribunal hearing later in the week.

In 2011, the project was placed under the amber/red category.

The controversial project is rumoured to have rising costs, and is expected to go over the expected £50billion budget.

The Department of Transport had previously refused disclosure of the review to the public and MPs, despite numerous requests under the Freedom of Information (FoI) Act. The department state that: “disclosure of the information would not be in the public interest.”

If the veto gets the go ahead, neither the public or MPs would have access to the information.

According to the Daily Mail, Stop HS2 Campaign Manager Joe Rukin said: “It is absolutely disgraceful that the Government doesn’t want MPs, who should be fully informed before voting on the colossal expenditure HS2 entails, to actually have all the information about the project.”

HS2 is considered controversial for a number of reasons, including the rising cost of the project, and the governments ability to knock down homes and parks, to make way for new railway tracks, if the bill is passed through parliament successfully.

Phase 1, is destined to run from London to the West Midlands, and is expected to be completed by 2024. With Phase 2, continuing to the North East of England, which is expected to be completed around 2032.