by Rab Bruce’s Spider

I must admit that I have not yet read the Sustainable Growth Commission Report. I’ll explain why in a moment.

My initial reactions from the comments I have seen are that there seem to be quite a few good things in it, but that the question of a new currency has been fudged. I am very disappointed about this since I firmly believe Scotland needs its own currency if it is truly to break away from the Austerity economics of the UK. Sticking with sterling may appease those who fear change, but it will hamper our economic development.

Fortunately, this report does not yet form official policy since it is a discussion document, so hopefully we will see some shift in this. Nicola Sturgeon’s comments yesterday hinted that she might be receptive to an early adoption of a new currency. Let’s hope so.

However, the main thing that angers me now is that it seems I will not be able to read the report at all. This is because it has been published online in a format which is inaccessible to anyone using a Screen Reader. I managed to find the official website, located the link to download the report, and was presented with what my PC Screen Reader told me was a blank page. A sighted friend assures me that the report was on screen, but there was no way to read it or even copy the text into another document which might have made it accessible.

This is, unfortunately, all too common. Essentially, every blind person has been excluded from full participation in the discussions by being barred from reading the report. To say I am angry about this is an understatement.

Needless to say, there appears to be no way to contact the Growth Commission to request an accessible document, so I tried the Scottish Government’s website only to discover that it, too, is virtually inaccessible due to the way it is laid out. Finding anything on it is a complete nightmare.

I have therefore given up on this after nearly an hour of fruitless attempts to find an accessible version of the report or even any way to contact anyone in an official capacity who might be able to help.

This is, quite simply, not good enough.