Scotland’s alleged “once in a generation” vote on independence happened one year ago today. And doesn’t our time and circumstance fly?
The night after this post was originally published, a nervous nation stayed up to watch the results come in live on TV.
For the benefit of those of you living on Mars, the outcome of this vote was that Scotland decided with a 55% to 45% majority that we didn’t want to break away from the rest of the United Kingdom to become an independent country.
This came as a huge shock to most of us I think – but especially to “the 45” – who went on to break the Internet with their collective disappointment.
Hearts were ripped out that day and tossed aside on the street to wither.
It really was a painful time to be Scottish, irrespective of inclination.
International commentators and expats couldn’t fathom the negative outcome either. More than slightly condescending comparisons to Braveheart the movie were drawn. I’m afraid I can’t explain it either, other than to say that it was a far more complex decision making process than it perhaps seemed from the outside looking in.
In fact, I know of lifelong friends who still don’t speak to each other thanks to the post-referendum vitriol.
In particular light of current climes in Europe though, I sometimes wonder if undemocratic, war torn nations laugh at Scotland’s western sensitivities and accusations of oppression and the hands of the English.
I mean, I actually saw two fully-grown men in suits grappling on the street outside a deli one day in Glasgow over which way to vote; meanwhile, but five hours in a plane away, thousands are being exterminated by ISIS for daring to leave their houses.
By our comparative cotton wool standards, I found the uncertainty around the referendum quite stressful. There weren’t always facts and figures to back up “Yes” camp claims. But then I did come at it from the somewhat fortunate position of owning property and having some modest savings to lose.
And on this day in 2014, I certainly had my eyes opened about how those who shout the loudest aren’t and wont always win over the majority.
How votes are never won over by being disrespectful towards the opposition’s views.
And perhaps most pertinently that:
Scotland extends far and wide beyond the Glasgow city limits, each region with its own differing needs, wants and motivations.
The central belt urbanites really need to try and understand this about our country’s diverse identity if hearts and minds are to have any hope of being won over in the future.
Yet, I still see a degree of wilful arrogance and ignorance coming from these quarters.
And where are we now in terms of our politics?
Europe, let alone the UK, is in a mess – our views have never been so polarised.
Over the last year, English nationalism has increased, largely thanks to our referendum promoting UK separatism. This in turn has fuelled the Scottish National party to start banging on the jungle drums again, now claiming that it might not just have been a “once in a generation” independence vote after all. Wales and Northern Ireland, of course, have their own agendas too.
It feels exhausting and I’m not altogether sure when the politicians are actually finding time to get their day jobs done.
But when would the timing be right to go for it again? If at all?
The once buoyant global oil price crashed not long after we voted “No” heralding the loss of 66,000 Scottish jobs (both directly and indirectly) as a result.
Gambling on our futures like this feels uncomfortable. We would have lost our banks on that bet alone with a “Yes” win.
But is it really as stressful as it seems? Or is it just that pesky persistent shouting from the sidelines again?
It seems to me that the one common factor between all these competing megaphones is the sense of entitlement that citizens of this united and divided county believe is theirs as a given right.
Yes, there are some things reserved only for the law and elected policy makers to fix.
But let’s stop sitting around waiting and start to take some personal responsibility into our own hands to fix things to match the economic reality of this country. We’ve seen this working brilliantly in practice through the community collectives that have sprung up these last few weeks over Syrian refugees when the UK Government’s response was felt to be falling short.
Afterall, there’s nothing revolutionary about donating a couple of cans here and there to a food bank, outgrown clothes to a refugee convoy, or time to an elderly neighbour, is there? It also feels good to be a part of something positive.
The other thing that all Scots have in common is that we all love our country, hence the passion generated over this referendum.
Rather than getting endlessly hung up on the “us and them,” there is plenty we can all do to help the collective effort to eradicate the very worst extremes of poverty and suffering without reducing every single perceived failure of the establishment to the blame game of political debate.
We won’t and can’t solve it alone, but we can choose to step-up if our elected Governments’ don’t.
Without good citizenship, and in continuing to perpetrate a culture of envy rather than hope, I believe that we will only serve to pass on to our children worse than we have inherited.
Stuff the politicians.
Your country (UK, Scotland, either, both) really needs you!
So who is with me?
Am I Scottish above all else? Do I feel British? What about European?
These are questions that I have found myself discussing with friends on numerous occasions over the years. The fact is that I’m currently all three, but am I happy about it?
On the eve of making one of the most important decisions of my life – whether to vote YES or NO in the Scottish Independence Referendum – these questions eat away at me.
For those who may not know, the Scottish electorate have been afforded the democratic opportunity to decide tomorrow whether we want Scotland to “go it alone” by divorcing from the rest of the United Kingdom and possibly the EU, a position not seen since 1707 when Scotland and England first united.
If YES, there will be no going back.
As I type, I feel nervous; excited; anxious; proud; passionate; tired, angry and thankful…
View original post 3,427 more words