As far back as I can remember, I have had an innate longing for the independence of Scotland. When the unthinkable happened, with the SNP gaining a majority in the Scottish Parliament (despite all explicit designs to the contrary), I was sure that the (small c) conservatism in Scotland would mean that it would inevitably be a ‘no’ vote. We might have big baws in some areas, but we’re actually incredibly feart of taking steps into the unknown in practical terms; independence was just some inconceivable notion, an ideal that may be achieved in 30 or so years… if ever.
It may well be my own bias that is driving my perspective on this, but for the first time in my life, Scottish people seem to have a purpose greater than just our own immediate concerns. Rather than spouting pish about inconsequential events that are local to only us Glaswegians, the city is on fire with debate. Instead of small talk about ‘how our night has been’, the conversation of club patriots, taxi drivers, and bystanders alike has been alive with discussions about the fallacies and promises of the so-called ‘Better Together’ campaign. Anecdotal though it may be, my experience has been that of Scots passionate about asserting their own voice in the future of the country in which they live.
Despite all of the odds, I believe that we are going to vote for independence.
It’s not been a straightforward journey. The debate has been fraught with mediocrity and nonsense. Up until recently, I have dismissed out of hand any claims about supposed bias from the BBC. As far as I’m concerned, impartiality from an institution is not demonstrated by their failure to give substantial time to your particular political view. Often, despite being pro independence, I would despair over such cries, vehemently defending the broadcaster’s reputation and stance. However, in the past week I have witnessed, with disgust, the blatant spin of desperate claims dug up by those who are in opposition to independence. To me, the BBC’s Political Editor Nick Robinson has never been a particularly likeable fellow, but is one who I’ve always had the utmost respect. Despite wanting to root for his defence, I couldn’t quite believe that he would have the audacity to give a bare-faced lie about the supposed failure of the First Minister to answer a question when the contrary was so clear. (Context here.) I am genuinely stunned at how clear the attempted manipulation of people has been displayed in general.
Anecdotal though it may be, the overwhelming majority of people that I have contact with are in favour of a vote for yes vote for independence. This isn’t about nationalism – something that people outside of the effects of the debate find hard to realise. This isn’t about some (yawn) Braveheart notion of Bannockburn and Scottish identity. Scots (adopted or otherwise) easily see through the token gestures offered by a desperate political elite. We easily dismiss the duplicity of career journalists like Nick Robinson, or the hypocrisy and cynicism of the tactical deployment of Gordon Brown in a failed campaign to stick with the status quo. We know that there are larger forces at play that twist news stories to confuse and manipulate feelings about everyday costs and job creation or maintenance such as that in the case of Asda, Standard Life, or RBS.
As was noted at the time of the SNP landslide in the Scottish Parliament a number of years ago – the Scots have proven to be amongst the most sophisticated, and unpredictable of voters in Europe (if not the world). I do not believe in polls, or the false comparisons between those with differing methodologies. I believe that the Scottish people are going to vote yes. Why? Because for once, Scotland feels alive.
I believe Scotland is going to do it. We are going to vote yes, and take responsibility for our own decisions, rather than blame successive Tory Westminster governments that we can easily claim not to have voted for.
As tough as it might have been at times, I just hope that we retain the same level of peaceful physical decorum and respect as we have afforded each other so far. We don’t need to look too far across the water to see how different it could well have ended up. I am proud to be Scottish, and excited to be part of this part of our history. All that said, I’m sticking my neck out to say: Aye, it’s going to be a Yes. I’m fascinated to see what happens next.