"I am quite happy with the way things are..."
"I'm swaying towards a 'No' vote. I don't feel that Scotland somehow needs to be fixed, we don't feel broken."
So say two members of the "Times 10 Referendum panel" who have not yet decided how they are going to vote in the referendum*.
But when we decide how to vote, we should surely look beyond our own, immediate circumstances. We don't need to be saintly about it. Wealth inequality is not just a problem for those at the bottom of the ladder. As the Nobel prize winning economist, Professor Joseph Stiglitz, argues, wealth inequality damages not just the social fabric but the economic well-being of a country. In a bravura performance in Troon last week, Robin McAlpine reminded us of how the Jimmy Reid Foundation's work and modelling has shown that taking workers out of low into medium pay could lead to a 30% increase in tax revenues without tax rates being increased at all. In simple terms, from our own self-interested points of view if nothing else, if it is broke, we'll want to fix it.
So. Here's an extract from the edition of the Evening Times, published the same day as the Times piece. The speaker is Julie Webster, the co-founder of the Greater Maryhill Foodbank:
"I have worked in social work for 20 years, so I am pretty hardened but we had a family come in on a Tuesday at 3pm having not eaten since the previous Friday.
There had been a problem with benefits and because it was a Bank Holiday weekend the mum had no money for food for her or her two children.
I watched the mum pick up and put down can after can, wondering what she was doing, before I realised she was looking for one with a ring pull.
She ripped the top off and starting eating the beans with her hands, she was so hungry. At that point I had to go to the toilets and have a cry."
What in the name of God do we think we are doing?
It is broke. We need to fix it. We can fix it. And once we've agreed we must fix it, we all owe each other a duty to spend some time and put some proper, responsible and honest thought into how.
*Scotland edition, published June 28 2014, at page 32