I haven't posted for a few days because I've been a little overstretched with trying to keep up with my work, take the cats to the vet for their annual check up, attend a very interesting and useful discussion to learn about non-binary gender identity and, of course, keep up with the latest developments on Scotland's upcoming independence referendum. Between all of that, I've let my Vegan MoFo blogging fall a little by the wayside, but I'm back today for a quick post.
In the fine tradition of intersectional vegan baketivism, I decided to make some traditional Scottish shortbread biscuits with messages supporting the Yes campaign, and particularly promoting the Green Yes. Directly below is the recipe, and underneath that I've decided to explain why I'll be voting yes in the referendum on 18 September.
Recipe: Shortbread Biscuits
- 150g vegan margarine
- 75g caster sugar
- 250g plain flour
- Approximately 100g icing sugar (how much you need depends on how much icing you want to use)
- A small amount of water
- Food colouring if you want coloured icing, such as this green vegan food colouring. Be careful; many food colourings you can buy in the shops may not be suitable for vegans, so check the labels carefully.
In a medium sized mixing bowl, beat the margarine and sugar together until thoroughly combined.
Add the flour and with the other ingredients together as much as possible, kneading with your hands to form a dough.
Roll out the dough to about 5mm thick and use biscuit cutters to cut out shapes. Place these on a baking tray lined with parchment paper, keeping a little space between each biscuit.
Bake in a preheated oven at 180°C for about 20-25 minutes, until golden.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool on wire racks before icing, if desired.
For the icing, I simply sifted some icing sugar into a bowl and added the water drop by drop with the food colouring until the consistency was about right, then used a piping bag to write on the biscuits.
Freedom! Or: why I'm voting yes in the Scottish independence referendum
Those of you who know me in person or who follow me on Twitter will probably already be aware that I am supporting a yes vote in the referendum for Scottish independence which will take place on 18 September 2014; less than a week away! It's an extraordinary and exciting time to live in Scotland, and it's changed my life already in more ways than one. Over the last few months alone, I've joined the world of social media, started campaigning for independence in my own small way in person by supporting and attending events, and joined a political party for the first time in my life.
I've been inspired by the diversity of the independence movement. Whilst the Green Yes campaign has been my main inspiration, I've also been proud to be part of a movement which includes groups such as Women for Independence, LGBT Yes and the Radical Independence Campaign. On the cultural side, we have thousands of wonderful artists and writers in the National Collective. I have never seen such broad engagement with politics in my entire life; an observation reflected in the fact that a record-breaking 97% of adults in Scotland are registered to vote in the referendum. It's an incredible time to be in Scotland.
Some people might ask why I, as an English person born in London, would support independence for Scotland from the rest of the United Kingdom. Simply put, I have chosen to make Scotland my home since I moved here four years ago, and I want what I believe is best for my adopted country. I'm also not the only person born from outside Scotland supporting independence, not by a long way! Although I've never been active with the group, I would happily describe myself as an English Scot for Yes. There are also a number of other similar groups, such as Scots Asians for Yes, Poles for an independent Scotland and Italian Scots for Yes. These groups testify to the inclusivity and broad appeal of the pro-independence campaign.
There are many, many blog posts and news articles out there already telling people why the author will be voting yes, so I'll keep my own reasons short. I believe that Scottish independence gives us an opportunity to build a better country and a better world, through environmental action, the promotion of peace and human rights, and the protection of public services.
I believe that an independent Scotland will be much more capable of taking action to protect the environment, and particularly in combating climate change. Whilst much debate has centred on Scotland's remaining oil reserves, I believe this is fairly irrelevant as, even if the very lowest estimate of the oil remaining in the ground is accurate, we can't burn it all anyway whilst reaching the necessary emissions targets to prevent catastrophic climate change. What is more important for Scottish finances is the huge wind and tidal energy generation potential we have here in Scotland; an estimated 25% of the total in all of Europe. We could become a major renewable energy exporter if we weren't hindered by the reluctance in Westminster to invest in clean energy solutions, led by ministers who would rather invest in the deeply controversial practice of hydraulic fracturing or fracking than genuine solutions to climate change.
In addition to this, an independent Scotland, as a new country, would have a unique opportunity to produce a written constitution which would protect human rights, including LGBTQIA rights, a stark contrast to the senior politicians in Westminster who favour pulling out of the European Convention on Human Rights and scrapping the Human Rights Act. We would gain control over immigration and asylum, and be able to become a far more progressive, inclusive and welcoming country than we are as part of the United Kingdom, whose attitude to refugees, asylum seekers and immigrants can be summed up in their appallingly offensive "go home" adverts.
Public services and welfare, currently threatened by cuts and privatisiation, could be protected so that we can ensure that we can all continue to enjoy an NHS which is free at point of use and a care and benefits system which supports those in need. We could create a much fairer and more equal society. Last but not least, we could also get rid of the hideous menace of nuclear weapons from our shores, and potentially pave the way for nuclear disarmament across the rest of the United Kingdom too. As a result of this, both CND and Trident Ploughshares support Scottish independence.
The Scottish independence referendum on 18 September 2014 is a unique opportunity to vote for the chance to create a fairer, more equal, greener and more peaceful society. I will be voting yes, and if you live in Scotland, I hope you will too.