‘It’s the chance of a lifetime...’

Alfie Dickson talks about independence referendum.
Alfie Dickson talks about independence referendum.

Every week in the lead up to the referendum we are speaking to members of the community to find out their views on independence as the country gets set for the big vote on September 18.

Alfie Dickson (70), a retired electrician, chairman of the Smokie Blues Organisation and well-known face in the town, tells me why he is a passionate believer in Scotland becoming an independent nation and how he thinks the momentum is with the Yes campaign.

“I believe this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and it may not come around again for another 300 years,” says Mr Dickson.

“This is a chance to be in total control of our wealth and resources with full tax-raising powers, creating jobs for Scottish people and to make us a fairer society.

“Think of the money saved with no House of Lords, 800 unelected members, 30 more then the European Parliament, each receiving equivalent of £300 a day.

“Getting rid of Trident will also save us money which will be used to spend on better things, like protecting the NHS in Scotland, which I believe will be privatised in the future under a Conservative Westminster government.”

The currency has been a contentious issue in the debate with the Better Together campaign claiming Scotland would lose the pound by voting yes.

However, Mr Dickson argues: “I think we will be able to keep the pound, there is always room for negotiation with politicians no matter what the chancellor and co say just now.

“What happens to England, Wales and Northern Ireland if Scotland doesn’t have the pound? Will the chancellor subsidise businesses up to £550m in transaction taxes with Scotland if we lose the pound?”

A lot has been made of Prime Minister David Cameron refusing a live TV debate with First Minister Alex Salmond, who will go head to head with Better Together chief Alistair Darling, something Mr Dickson feels strongly about.

“David Cameron says he is not the man to debate Scotland but is somehow the man to govern Scotland, to me that is wrong,” he insists. “All these politicians come up for a day or two and come out with hysterical scare stories for the No campaign then disappear again, the Prime Minister, the Chancellor, Shadow Chancellor, Gordon Brown, etc.”

Finally, how does Mr Dickson see the vote going on September 18?

He smiles: “I honestly believe the momentum is with the Yes campaign, latest polls are getting closer and come September I think the people of Scotland will say ‘Yes’!

“Since 1945, 140 countries have become independent and not one has returned.

“If we don’t grasp this chance now we will be a laughing stock around the world. No nation has knocked back independence before.

“You need to have faith in your ability and that of the people. Forget Salmond and the SNP, many people don’t like them. This is bigger than them. Don’t waste this chance.”