I LOOK north to Scotland with at least a tinge of envy.
Away from the apathy and dejection spawned by the Westminster sluggers, politics seems to be coming alive in your country, as it must when big and meaningful decisions are entrusted to the people.
The referendum has ignited a political spark. So debate rages for and against the SNP who, along with Ukip, are alone among the political parties seeing their memberships increase, 600 people attend a left-wing gathering in Glasgow to debate independence (a turnout that exceeds, per capita, any political gathering elsewhere in the UK) and think-tanks like the Jimmy Reid Foundation spark into life.
Regardless of the result of the referendum itself, this is nothing but good for the heart and soul of Scotland. The capacity of the Scottish people and their belief in themselves can only be enhanced.
The organisation I chair, Compass, doesn't have a fixed view on the referendum. Instead we start with this question: what is the good society and the good life as it relates to Scotland? What is to be a fully formed human being in the 21st century? What should we expect for our lives and those we live with?
Just to be asking these questions suggests a problem. Life for most in Scotland is insecure and anxious. All along the income chain most live just one or two pay cheques from economic disaster. Even those lucky enough to be well paid are exhausted by the earn-to-spend treadmill of modern consumer society, where enough is never enough.
Those further down the social ladder have all the pressure to keep up, but have to work two shifts a day to keep their heads above water. No-one has enough time for their friends and family. It's a life that is simply out of our control.
So the Reid Foundation's work on the Common Weal strikes a real chord. It says that, despite all we are told by the advertisers, we can't hope to buy the good society or the good life off the shelf in the
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