We should be a country that is at peace with itself and at peace with the world. I have always felt that one of the best ways of judging society is how well it looks after children and older people. There are many societies from the forests of Brazil to the advanced economies of northern Europe that do things that we should aspire to. Children have a right to love, health and protection from birth and we could do a lot more for many children in Scotland in their early years. It should not be possible for anybody on retirement to find that they have been robbed of their pension. The basic pension should provide a decent basic income. In fact I would like our pension, child support and entire benefits system to be redesigned to provide a basic income for all. We need to recognise that our mental and spiritual health is just as important as physical health. To achieve this we need a huge investment in the arts, theatre, music and in reconciling people with their natural environment.
We should look at the yin and yang of investment. 70% at least of offenders are between 15 and 25, so put more money into youth clubs and sport, not more police officers and ASBOs. . Educating offenders and giving them self respect and opportunities is better than locking them up in prisons, invest more in the former and you wont need the latter. We waste up to 80% of the energy we use so put 80% of new investment into insulation and energy saving.
One size does not fit all. At least a quarter of our children leave secondary school having not enjoyed it very much. Education should offer experiences and the opportunity for children to develop all of their potential not just those skills that can be expressed through writing examinations.
My vision for Scotland is a country where everyone has a sense of place and those places are well designed, environmentally sustainable, secure, in a community that loves cares for and respects every single member from birth to death.