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Indy 1st, the Aye App and the Schemes - Guest post by Leanne Tervit

The text below is a piece I wrote 2 years ago when I stood as a candidate in the Council Elections.  Its as relevant today if not more so. I wonder if all the people I spoke to when campaigning have made it to 2024, and how life is for them now. I suspect much harder of thats even possible. Back then I was told to concentrate my campaign in the areas that voted. This went against everything I stood for so I made sure I also spent time in the schemes, doing my best to get folk registered.

Since then I made a point of highlighting voter registration at every opportunity. 

Now we can all do this with ease. With Indy 1st and their fabulous Aye App, now voter registration,  voter ID and even postal vote registration is simple and quick.

Anyone can now get into their communities and empower them by giving them a voice. Indy 1st cares. We care. Now instead of concentrating my campaign in affluent areas, I'll be where I belong, in the schemes of Dunfermline, I'll visit addiction services. Homeless services. If people feel they have nobody to vote for then they can use their ballots to make a statement. The point is registration and using ballots. I'll talk to my own people. Educating them on the importance of voter registration and Independence.  Give them a voice.

Have a read below of the piece I wrote 2 years ago and let me know your thoughts. Then join us at  Indy 1st fully fund Schemes for Indy and we WILL make a difference.

"After a lot of thought and a little persuasion, I decided to stand as an Alba Councillor. Its a little difficult for me as I'm a carer on benefits, and I'm struggling financially. Its costing me money to stand as my fuel costs have shot up. Im finding it hard to juggle my time between leafletting, caring, running the house and attending meetings.

Despite this I'm glad I did.  I feel we need more people like me in politics. People who come from deprived areas. People who are happy to sit in flats in council schemes and listen to people. People who have lived experience of poverty and all the social deprivation it brings.

Sitting on a broken sofa that they're still paying for on Tic. No flooring in their kitchens and no food in their cupboards. Listening to them while they tell you they cannot survive. That life itself is so hard that its not really worth living.

The young lad with mental health problems living in unsuitable housing with a young son. Being sent letters from the council demanding he pays his 12 quid arrears or he will be taken to court. He cannot afford the 12 quid as he is on emergency electric after topping it up £30 just 3 days earlier. Hes using what little money he has to keep his heating on for his son.

The pensioner whose main diet is the cheap shop brand supernoodles. He boils a kettle in the morning, fills a flask, and uses it for hot drinks and a hot meal of noodles.

The young woman who's had a difficult childhood, has a wee girl, and works part time. She can't afford to eat from shops so uses food banks, and community groups to feed herself and her child. She can't afford to clothe her wee girl and relies on donations from community groups. Her wee girl can't go to sports and dancing like her friends as her mum can't afford it. Her wee girl often gets angry at her and asks why she can't join her friends at activities and birthday parties. She feels huge guilt.

The  homeless lass. Younger than my daughter. Greatful for a bag of biscuits that she instantly shares amongst the other homeless on the street.

The beggar, with a smashed up face. He was beaten for his £20 begging money. Hes ex army, intelligent guy, somehow manages to keep up with whats going on in the world and spoke to us for a while about politics.

The man in a nice house. Worried sick about his daughter and granddaughter. She works and has a mortgage, but costs are already too high for her and he fears she may lose her home.

How many politicians and Councillors actually go into these flats and speak to people? People with addictions, people who have suffered trauma and abuse. People with nothing. People who have suffered loss. People whose homes don't have flooring. Who use a towel at a window for curtains.

People who can't afford the energy to have a wash or cook a meal.

These people, in poverty, who don't have money for the basics, pay more to live than those with money. They can't get to supermarkets as they don't have transport to buy in bulk. They use little local shops daily. They pay more for their energy as they have powercard meters. Their homes are often not energy efficient. They can't afford insurance so if something get damaged then its very hard to replace. They buy their large items on tic with inflated interest.

The whole system is against them. Why are they kept down? Wheres their support?

Campaiging has been hard in these local elections. Nobody is mentioning local issues. Absolutely everyone is worried about how they will manage  and some are worried how they will survive.

Any leader worth their salt would take us out this cruel union and help their people. Waiting means people dying. Possibly some of the people I've had chats with.

I'm just a local lassie with no background in politics, who looks after her mum and family. If I can see this in 3 weeks then how come our Gov cannot see this?  Dont they have a duty to protect their own people?

These people cannot wait. They dont have the means to survive. And thats how it is now for many many more. Its survival.

People. Humans. Fellow Scots.

If we want to change things then we start at the bottom up. Helping people in extreme poverty benefits everyone.

They need help, support and dignity. What they have is shame, guilt and no hope.

We need independence now. Not next year or 5 years or whatever year they want to throw at us. Now. We need to feed, clothe and heat our vulnerable people.

People will die, and many who don't are in a living hell with every waking moment consumed with worry and stress.

Surely we can do better."

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