When I first considered Scottish independence my intuition was against it. I was going to say ‘No’.
Before May of this year though I had avoided becoming involved. I had only glanced at odd articles and attended a few debates at my university, because I intended to concentrate on completing my degree. The year long class that finished my studies did provide me with a new understanding of the United Kingdom’s formation, which I will go into more detail about in a separate entry. Yet I wished to remain undecided while analysing the facts and assessing the arguments. A naïve hope as it happened!
My occasional reading about the referendum did not sway me much one way or the other, because I was not able to pick up the narrative of it in mere glimpses. The debates I attended, on the other hand, were very instructive and enormously disappointing – but for a good reason! Despite a diverse range of people on both sides, the pro-independence speakers’ message of optimism, confidence and change was in consistent contrast to the ‘cannae dae it’ attitude of their opponents. Each time I would turn up hoping to hear some sort of sensible, coherent and (god forbid) positive case for maintaining our union. Each time I would hear the same dismissive negativity and reliance on fearsome ‘unknowns’ that I saw as having little to do with the question: Should Scotland be an independent country?
Before I had thought that we should seek to become closer with other nations and that creating a smaller political unit must be a step backward. Was reclaiming the independence of three centuries ago not a romantic folly? Although I recognised the many problems of the UK political system and it’s dubious claim of democracy I thought that attempting radical change must bring instability. Wasn’t the progressive choice to strengthen our ties, especially on this wee island we have to share? After those debates though I really began to question the status quo and to read an increasing amount from both the aye and naw camps.
Originally I’d had an inkling to start a blog analysing and criticising the Yes and Better Together campaigns from an undecided position, which I never did have time for. Yet besides being too behind on events to do that, I quickly became disillusioned and overwhelmed by the sheer negativity of Better Together. It’s true that there are poisonous elements on both sides, particularly on social media and blogs, and particularly in the comment sections of those. However the general feeling of what I read from the official Yes campaign and the many, varied groups aligned with it impressed me.
Not only was their message continuously positive, but more importantly there was an attempt to address the actual question: Should Scotland be an independent country? Since the other side kept falling back to scaremongering this won me over a lot sooner than I expected or desired. Nonetheless I’m likely to write something about the negative aspects of both campaigns at a later date, because I think it’s important to address rather than ignore the venom, whether the snakes happen to be friendly or not.
For now I am content to say that the reason I am voting Yes is that I want to live in a nation that has solid democratic foundations; with a government that is accountable to the people who live here; and which has the welfare of those people as its primary concern. As far as I’m concerned there is nothing more to discuss.
Oh, dinnae worry, I’m gonna discuss all that too…