Wellbeing economics – the key to a 60% Yes vote for Scottish independence

 

A sixty percentage Yes vote is achievable – with the right economic approach.

However, coronavirus changed everything; every rule of conservative economics has been shattered and the world is waking up to the need to truly build back better, to intertwine resilience, health, wellbeing and environmental sustainability into our socio-political approach.

The old mantras of the left and right only address half of the wellbeing equation each and as such, they are defunct, they represent the outdated political/tribal dividing lines of the last century.

Understanding that we can’t consume our way back to recovery, that the world economy has collapsed twice in just over a decade and, with climate change the single largest threat to prosperity and wellbeing starting to have a greater impact by the day, we desperately need to rethink economics.

Fortunately that’s what the people of Scotland want. They don’t want to go back to pre-covid normal, because normal wasn’t working. It was unjust, environmentally unsustainable, amplified inequality that impoverished communities and disadvantaged the small businesses that are the true backbone of our economy and the health crises has given people an opportunity to adjust their values.

Not only that, our poll – Panelbase for Believe in Scotland April 2021 – found that if you offer independence in parallel with a wellbeing approach to economics then 59% of the Scottish population would vote for Scottish independence. The same poll asked the standard Yes/No question without the wellbeing caveat and found 51% Yes 49% No, so it’s plain to see that a wellbeing approach would, if properly communicated would add 8% to Yes but offers the opportunity grow independence support above 60%.

A poll by Progress Scotland in 2020 found that 75% of Scottish voters would consider voting for independence if it was offered in conjunction with the right economic approach – wellbeing economics is that approach.

A poll carried out by Panelbase for the think tank Scotianomics last year (full report here) found that supporters of every single political party in Scotland overwhelmingly supported a wellbeing approach to economics. Not only did it find SNP and Labour voters wholeheartedly supporting the key elements of a wellbeing approach (which might have been expected), Conservative voters came out top on some of the key wellbeing value measures.

Crucially it also explains why so many people would switch to independence; the popularity of a wellbeing economic approach is truly cross-party and also appeals most to older voters who are the most likely to vote against independence. It’s not a tactical approach though, the reason it appeals to so many is that it is the right thing to do. We must cast off conservative (austerity) thinking and understand that left and right are outdated concepts, that society and the economy are two sides of the same coin – we cannot have a thriving society without a thriving economy and we cannot have a thriving economy without a thriving society. Traditional economic thinking sets left and right ideas, the two halves of the solution, against one another and that creates a boom and bust cycle for both society and the economy that we must break.

Want to know more about the Wellbeing approach?  Within days we will publish our outline Manifesto for Wellbeing and you can see it fort on our 22,000 strong Facebook Group.

Now here is the data bit!

Overall, there is a super majority level of acceptance of the need to move to a wellbeing approach. Lets look at one of the 17 value statements polled as an example:

Although it has wide ranging popularity across all age groups wellbeing economics appeals most to the older generations (often our most vulnerable) and those are the ones who need a safety net to allow them to vote with their hearts and switch to supporting Scottish independence.

There is significant majority support for a wellbeing approach across supporters of all parties and that includes Conservative voters, who are the least likely political demographic to support independence. 67% of Conservative voters agreeing with this key wellbeing statement (one of 17 wellbeing value statements in the survey) is a supermajority with 21% undecided and only 12% of Conservative voters disagreeing.

Conclusion

There is a pro-independence majority of 15 at Holyrood, which means there will be a second independence referendum before the end of 2023. The Scottish Government cannot enter into a new campaign without a new economic approach, one that is based both on the values of the nation and the post-covid economic reality.

Independence is within reach – we simply need to do the right thing by the people of Scotland and offer them a socioeconomic vision that they can be inspired by, one that will lead to greater prosperity, equality and environmental sustainability.

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