What are we going to do on September 19? Yes, I know…party long and hard, barbecue the haggis and smear on the chip fat etc. But that’s also the time when the work starts because the referendum is only the mandate. The talks follow along with the job of building the new nation which isn’t left to politicians and institutions but is done by us.
The most important part will be a sense of urgency and purpose to bring about the plans for change from streamlining and collecting the taxes to prioritising the areas where they should be spent. And if this new people engagement means anything, it is that we are no longer bystanders, passive observers in our own society as things are done TO us and FOR us.
I believe that each and every one of us (that’s No’s too) should see a role for ourselves in energising and supporting the momentum that has got us here. Loosely basing my idea on JFK – Ask not what your country can do for you…ask what you can do for your country – I think we should start a national volunteer register.
Everyone has a talent. I’m always struck by the range and depth of knowledge of contributors who post here – their life stories of living and working abroad (as some still do), of their professional experience in medicine, finance, oil and academia – and I realise that if you multiply that by the population at large, we have an unmatched reservoir of ability not defined by age or employability but by availability.
We should establish a register of names with identified talents. We can add ourselves to it and say what we are capable of, what we can offer in time, money and expertise and make ourselves available for the national effort.
We can put our shoulder to the wheel in the common weal. There is a great tradition of volunteering – we saw it at the Commonwealth Games – and we have a huge and valuable Third Sector in Scotland. The campaign has got people out of their houses and on to the streets and speaking to each other. In fact I think we may have overlooked the community spirit created by Yes canvassing, street stalls and discussions which has taken us beyond politics into a healthy involvement with our neighbours (and with strangers). This is a feel good factor to be nourished and used in future.
When a job needs doing in our area, the names on the register can be contacted and asked to give their time to the cause – and there couldn’t be a greater one than Scotland. This is an area where both sides can be reconciled and learn to work together in a shared interest. How good would it feel to know that not only did you deliver independence by campaigning and voting but that you stood ready to help when the country called?
A National Volunteer Register. Why don’t we start it – now?by