Our future in your hands

Our future in your hands

10 September 2014

Since the starting pistol was fired on the referendum in January 2012, Unite has recognised that the potential implications of constitutional change would resonate differently across our diverse membership in Scotland.  

That’s why our lay member democracy in Scotland chose not to endorse either 'Better Together' or 'Yes Scotland', opting instead for a positive engagement across the entire debate that allows our members to reach their own determinations individually, in their workplaces and in their communities.  

The activism of Unite members in this referendum has been a reflection of the wider campaign itself. Despite recent headlines highlighting the unsavoury actions of an extreme minority in this debate, this has been a transformative process creating new levels of political engagement across our society that should be the envy of democracies across the world. 

Last month, hundreds of Unite members from across Scotland centred on Glasgow to hear Anas Sarwar MP and Derek MacKay MSP outline their respective campaign views for the future of the country and to take questions on our constitutional future.  

The event was the biggest gathering in a summer of activity from Unite which saw the union participate and sponsor town hall- style and pub debates and host deliberations across our various sectors and equalities committees - hearing contributions from beyond the mainstream from the likes of Radical Independence and Socialism First. 

What is increasingly clear as we near Thursday 18 September is that this will be a close race, going right to the wire.  We never envisaged anything else because this isn’t a run of the mill election; it’s a decision on the future of a nation and its people and everything which that entails.  

We won’t post our ballot papers or go into the voting booth equipped with every finite detail about what a future independent Scotland or United Kingdom will mean for us. No economist, industry expert or politician can guarantee you that.  You’ll make a judgement call based on your own determinations before answering the question: Should Scotland be an independent country? 

On September 19 there will be elation and disappointment but what there cannot be is recrimination and reprisal. The people will decide Scotland’s future and, however marginal that mandate may be, it needs to be accepted. 

Arguably, we are facing a sustained period of grand-bargaining on our constitutional future irrespective of the outcome, whether we are negotiating nation building or an extension of devolution.  So for trade unions like Unite our work doesn’t stop, if anything it intensifies.  

Decent jobs, decent lives, strong public services (including the defence of our NHS), tackling the disgrace of income inequality and the scourge of youth unemployment – these would be our priorities.  

We also need to advance our values of common ownership in our key economic sectors like energy and public transport and place them firmly into the political mainstream. 

Because the status-quo is not acceptable – not in our economy, politics or society.

You have a vote and a voice, so use it. And in a matter of days we’ll know the constitutional context in which we will collectively carry forward that social justice agenda.  


  • For all enquiries relating to Unite activity in the referendum, please contact Jackson Cullinane on 078101 57906 (Scottish Political Officer) or Peter Welsh (Scottish Communications) on 078101 57931.