Saturday morning, I took the train to Glasgow, the largest city in Scotland. I envy the train system Europeans enjoy on a daily basis. No need to arrive two hours beforehand, no lines to wait in, no security. I chose Saturday for my visit because Young Scots for Independence, the national youth branch of the Scottish National Party, was holding its annual conference at University of Strathclyde Glasgow. As my mentor and I discussed leading up to this summer, young people are an interesting demographic to study as they will be disproportionately affected by Brexit, especially as seekers of employment at the present or in the near future. As some of the event was for members only, I attended the public segment where members proposed a number of policy resolutions for the organization to consider. Here are a few I witnessed, all of which were adopted and offer insights into issues that matter to pro-independence youth in Scotland. I am presenting the arguments as discussed at the conference, and they do not necessarily represent my own opinions.
The Emily Test
This resolution supports the introduction of a nation-wide program based on the Emily Test, a campaign recently implemented across several universities in Scotland which provides information about support resources to victims of sexual assault and other forms of gender-based violence. This specific resolution is unrelated to the independence movement, but it is still interesting as it signifies a parallel in focus on combating assault on campuses in America today.
As in many urban areas, rising rent is a real problem for many. Whether due to gentrification or other market forces, affordable housing can be hard to come by. This resolution supports the implementation of stronger rent controls, protecting residents from the pressures of rising costs of housing. The resolution clearly prioritizes government control over the free market, explaining that prices should be based solely upon quality of housing as opposed to market forces. Housing is a devolved power, so the Scottish government does have the ability to exert greater control over this subject.
Scottish National Transit Authority
This resolution calls for the Scottish government to consider establishing a publicly-owned Scottish National Transit Authority which would operate and regulate transportation within Scotland. This step, in effect nationalizing all transportation services in Scotland, would require action from the UK Parliament, as some power related to transportation and other relevant areas still rest with the UK government. There was also discussion about adding a clause dedicated to walking, cycling, and other forms of “active transportation.” The SNP believes more needs to be done to combat climate change, and I sensed that there was dissatisfaction in the room related to the current efforts and abilities of the Scottish government to tackle this issue. A number expressed beliefs that an independent Scotland would be better able to address climate issues.
In addition to the attending the conference, I also spent several hours exploring Glasgow. The highlight was the Glasgow Cathedral and the adjacent Glasgow Necropolis, a massive cemetery in the heart of the city. Here is a short clip I made from videos I took. I hope you enjoy!