[What follows is excerpted from a letter from Iain A J McKie published in today’s edition of The Herald:]
I have a great deal of sympathy with your correspondent Neil McPherson (Letters, September 13) and can understand his using the Scottish Government's track record to fuel his cynicism about independence resulting in a fairer society.
Like him I believe that to date our Government has proved to be a somewhat negative force in terms of social justice in its favouring of the system at the expense of the individual. In support of his argument he highlights regressive measures like the removal of the need for corroboration, unaccountable policing and Scotland's shame, the failure to resolve the disgrace that is the Lockerbie prosecution. To that I could add the Government's increasingly incestuous relationship with the Crown Office and police which has resulted in what Lord McCluskey has referred to as the "blurring of important boundaries" and the arrogant and obstructive "wha's like us"' approach to human rights principles espoused in the Supreme Court and European Court.
As a justice campaigner and supporter of independence, however, I have been encouraged to approach the referendum confident that a vote for independence will result in a new Scottish constitution which not only enshrines these principles of justice and equality but produces a government committed to that cause. (...)
Above all we require visionary voices offering escape from the old systems and self-serving values which have suffocated dissent and devalued justice. We need to develop the political will to ensure that our justice system and its institutions serve justice for all and not the self-interest of a minority elite.
I would be the first to accept that my Yes vote will be a considerable act of faith and that difficult times lie ahead, but at least it echoes Nelson Mandela's hope: "May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears."