Tuesday, 10 June 2014

The noise levels are rising, but who is listening?

With 99 days to go until you know what, both the Yes and Better Together camps appear to be raising their noise levels. There are innovative campaigns on social media, with Obama slogans being bellowed by both sides. This has been coupled with an increasing volume of commentary from politicians, writers and political commentators from across the globe.

This collective sound, however, is travelling very much in a single direction, from the top down. Those at the bottom are being drowned in the racket. Both sides claim to be representing the people of Scotland, yet are not taking the time to include, and listen properly to, the most marginalised individuals in our society.

As well as marking 100 days to the referendum, yesterday also heralded a startling warning from the Child Poverty Commission. This watchdog estimated there will be 3.5m children in poverty in the UK by 2020. A colossal number, I’m sure both sides would agree.

The referendum debate has been filled with a lot of uncertainty, and this was always going to be the case, as so many questions are impossible to answer. However, one thing we can be certain of is that when we wake up on Friday 19, September, poverty will still be a major issue in Scotland.

Both sides have acknowledged some of the issues of sever social and economic inequality and deprivation in Scotland. They also believe that the particular constitutional framework which they are promoting will be best placed to tackle these. However, neither side has articulated how it will involve those with direct experience of poverty.

‘When people in poverty are listened to, change happens.’
(Tricia, PTC Commissioner)

Just as struggles for gender and racial equality have been won when the oppressed have been at the heart of the struggle, the eradication of poverty in Scotland needs to have those with experience of it leading.

The Poverty Truth Commission believes those in positions of power need to stop and actually listen to those in poverty. On Saturday 21, June the Commission will be doing exactly this as it Turns Up the Volume on Poverty.

Through a mixture of music, comedy, dialogue and presentation the Commission will be highlighting our work over the last year and a half. The Commission will also be welcoming its new set of commissioners as they pick up the baton, ready to address the new challenges poverty will present immediately after the vote.

To register at this free event click here; call 0141 248 2911; or email info@povertytruthcommission.org #TurnItUp2014

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