‘YOU look like Maggie Thatcher!” a friend said. Aged five and in primary one, I was lying on top of a cement tunnel, a playgroup staple of the 1970s, my hands gripping the edge of the circular opening as I dropped my head down and peeped inside at my two friends. To them, I was upside down, my hair dangling down.

“Who’s Maggie Thatcher?”, I asked, not knowing that this Maggie was planning on stealing my school milk and systematically engineering the destruction of public services and social housing. Let’s not even mention the poll tax, shall we?

As working-class kids from an area categorised as deprived, in our homes Maggie Thatcher was a threat and a villain. A playground taunt to anyone being silly. I told my mum that evening: “Catherine said I looked like Maggie Thatcher.” My mum’s face has a look of what I now describe as furious offence. “You do not look like that woman!” she said. I may have left out some expletives, but you get the picture.

I did not know at that age what exactly was going on politically around me, but as I look back and remember my mum’s words and the playground taunts, the news on the TV and family-gathering discussions with my now grown-up eyes, I can see where the rage and fury towards Thatcher and her government came from.

I now understand just how brutal Section 28 was, the systematic selling-off of social housing, the de-industrialisation with no just transition, just using working-class people as disposable and as working fodder.

Specific memories of the miners’ strikes of the 1980s, the clashes and violence on the news, and my family praising the efforts of miners and being vocal in their disdain towards the UK Government never really left my mind growing up. Uncertainty and worry, the imbalance of political power was reflected across society, and it’s back with a vengeance.

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I see and feel those same things I did back then right now. I see it in the media and conversations with those around me. Of course, we now also live in a very different time, with a very different landscape of how we can access and interact with media.

The discourse is broader, and the working classes, who were then powerless, now have a tool that gives them a better way to organise and gather and to have discussions and give action to them. Credibility is something I feel we still must fight for, though, as the patronising ruling class deems us uneducated and not reliable enough to make our own decisions.

The notion of Scotland being independent and us Scots making our own decisions is shooed away and mocked as a pipe dream. We hear it now in their mocking of what they call a “pretendy ref”. How patronising can they be?

The biggest difference between a few decades ago and now, though, is our Parliament and our ever-growing Yes movement. We have a way out.

There is no doubt that the UK Government is no longer fit for purpose (has it ever been?) We watch as privileged politicians get away with breaking laws, in some cases at the same time as thousands of people were dying.

We are not just constrained in this Union – we are at serious risk. Our most vulnerable always have been, but now we look across society at those who have been able to save, buffer and support, and we see other family members who are starting to struggle themselves.

I have people coming to me as their signpost to support services who have never known this level of financial uncertainty before – for example, situations where there are two full-time earners with an empty nest struggling to pay the last few years of a mortgage.

This doesn’t fit into the UK Government’s narrative of supporting “hard-working families”, whatever that means anyway, as I know people who earn nothing for caring but work hard every day of their lives.

Here is where we see the tale of two governments, where the Scottish Government consistently mitigates the harsh decisions made at the UK level, such as with a top-up of an extra £800 this year for carers. A compassionate government is what we desperately need right now, and that’s what I see at Holyrood.

This is not just about economics. There is no doubt such an energy-rich country and one so abundant in natural resources can thrive independently. I could pitch to you the food and drink industries, tourism, fishing and agriculture till the cows come home (excuse the pun).

But this is also a matter of trust. Who do we trust to manage and run our affairs? Who do we trust to ensure the future is fairer and brighter? We don’t have to guess the outcomes of what policy-making may look like or what the Scottish Government may prioritise – we can compare and contrast the actions the two governments are taking right now.

One supports the vulnerable – the other punishes them. One judges and the other creates a space for people to be heard without judgment. One puts human rights at the heart of its policy-making and the other aims to take human rights away.

To me, independence is not just an option – it is now essential to the well-being of our people. As I was writing this, the economic argument for independence paper was being announced. I ask that we familiarise ourselves with it and be ready for what comes. As the onslaught of negative press and misinformation pours out, we need to ensure our bank of information is straight from the source and honest.

We have this Scotland, hud gaun. It started with Thatcher for me, and I look forward to it ending with Truss.