I have restrained up until now on commenting on the upcoming referendum. I’ve tried as much as possible to avoid getting caught up in the debate and it hasn’t been hard, I have to point out, to not get dragged into a fight
There has been passion, there have been countless articles, there have been debates. There have been remarkable claims, absurd claims, outlandish, ridiculously biased claims. There have been YES’s popping up in windows, on hills, its a great game to play in the car as bumper stickers sky rocket. There have been endless forests falling through the letterbox. There has even been the odd disgruntled friend on FB wishing another friend would shut up, tired of the endless rhetoric.
But no blood has been spilled. As freedom fights go this might well go down in history as the politest ever. If come the 18th we do ask for our independence, make no mistake we are asking. Not demanding, not tossing anyone out on their arse, not standing foot in the face of the corpse of Britain.
This is not a fracture. Come what may, we are still your neighbours, England. Those who chose to support any-team-but, will still discover a previously unknown passion for Lichtenstein come the next world cup. You will not be left stumped, so there was an Englishman, an Irishman and a..who? We will still think black pudding is a national dish and the reason why Scottish Breakfast kicks your English shite’s arse. And we will still think The Inbetweeners is the best thing on tele, the Mighty Boosh is genius. There is no reason why we cannot continue to rely on a wee bit of Holly and Phil to get us through a hungover monday morning, secretly love DottyP’s for their generous sizing and cry at John Lewis Christmas ads.
There has always been a cultural dialogue between us and much of it revolves around taking the piss out of Americans and secretly wishing we were Irish. Why would that change? But equally there has always been a cultural divide. A natural divide that exists for the simple reason – we are two separate countries. This is not a fracture, because despite Queenies protestations, we were never one whole.
This is not a decision that will be made on cold practicalities. And yet, as the heart of the argument has shown, it is fundamentally an economic one. None of us can know what the future holds for us – any of us, together, separately, together separately. We can debate, project, but its guesswork. Nothing more. What we are really arguing is what are our opportunities, what might we achieve, if given the chance? Countries fall and rise and this is not just about tomorrow, but your children’s tomorrows.
And considering that, it is interesting to note the arguments made. NO campaign – protect your pension. YES campaign – The future is in your hands.
You cannot see your future if the fear of today is in your eyes.
You cannot maintain a bond by bitterly pointing out if they leave, they will fail.
I am not a YES. I am also not a NO. Like many I remain uncertain, my only question not, how do we get rid of those English Bastards, but what is this opportunity offering and is it something I am interested in? And right now, the YES vote is the only one answering.
There was an argument to be made for staying. This referendum, make no mistake, had to happen. We’ve been raised singing.. we can still rise now and be a nation again. Our historic bond is taught to every school child in Scotland with one simple, memorable phrase. Bought and sold for English Gold. We never thought we were in this by choice. An apathetic surrender at best. That benefits no one.
The NO argument was simple. It was one nation saying to another, this time, this alliance, this will be our choice. We will ask you to ally yourselves with us, based on every value we share and the hope that together with all we can both offer we’ll redefine the union and our place in the world. There is always strength in numbers. We go from a nation of 6o million to 5. This will impact our voice in Europe, on the world stage, in every way.
It was that simple. They had to respect our choice, our right to that choice, and ask us to stay. Instead they crossed their arms, a sneer on their face and warned, if you step out that door, that’s it.
If we felt overlooked, a nation without a voice before, this really didn’t help – except of course, suddenly – there -shining up on a hill.. 😀
The whole thing has felt distinctly like the younger child wanting to leave the family business and being made to feel like in doing so we are destroying the family. The family can and should survive. Regardless of the decision. We are not upping sticks and moving to the Caribbean never to call again ( if we could do that we’d have been long gone and England’d likely have the time share right next door anyway). No one I know who is ardently YES, are anti- English. Many work, live and are married to English. Indeed I know many English who are ardently for independence (and I don’t think its because they want shot of us). They are arguing for a fresh start, a chance to stand on our own feet and see what we are made of. Our success does not depend on England’s failure. We have no wish to clamber up on their broken back.
Barring an act of geographical absurdity we’re together, for better or worse. We used to run border raids on each other and considered the plague a sign that God thought the others were wankers too. I like to think we’ve grown up a little since then. Either way, we’re never getting rid of each other, so lets stop pretending that’s what this ballot is about and get back to the simple, non-patriotic, entirely selfish question, what do you want your future to look like?