Massively interesting times this week in the UK. At last, the SNP get their referendum to ask “Should Scotland be an independent country?”. A minority party in government elected through a small turnout gets to make us all go through family mediation on a national scale. If you think this is just about Scotland then you are an idiot. Democracy is remarkable and not always what you think it is.
My family, friends and work colleagues are spread across Britain with a fair few in Scotland thanks to the five years I spent in Edinburgh in the nineties, and I still visit Edinburgh on a regular basis.
Emotions are running high: The Yes folks can feel a tingling in their bodies because they feel (without any evidence other than optimism) that a Yes means a change for the positive in their lives. I detect a bit of socialist and radicalism in the demonstrations. I also know many Scots that really want to be isolate and unique no matter what the cost.
The No folks are very emotional because they sincerely don’t want to lose our partner of hundreds of years. David Cameron is genuinely upset at the thought of us divorcing. It’s not just about his job. It’s about our whole nation. I was moved by Cameron’s speech.
Haven’t Scotland and England have always bickered and argued and fought?
But we’ve also been business partners: remember why the Union started? A messed up investment venture by Scots rich folk to Panama. The man on the street had no voice then. Who now runs all the Scottish banks? I remember working for Bank of Scotland in 1995, the tercentenary, the 300 yr docs boasted of their conservative nature and long life. Where is it now? Lloyds in London.
We’re also friends: we’ve fought together in some horrible wars. Back at home during the wars, our daughters, wives and mothers built industries together. We’ve always worked together on the rigs, in the yards, and in the city: laughing, betting, fighting, and creating life long friendships. Our Scots warriors terrified our enemies but they also gave us all comfort and security because we could depend upon them and stand shoulder to shoulder. When we look left on 19 Sep, is there nobody there?
We’re also family: from the fact that HM Queen Elizabeth has Scots blood running through her veins from her mum and all the way to Robert the Bruce and James I, even a small inconsequential quy like me has family I love spread across the borders. What happens to my fragile connections?
We are also sporting companions who fight each other with passion on the battlefield: I was shocked to find the passion for cricket when I lived in Scotland, and I loved the Six Nations passion when I lived for five years in Edinburgh, and the years since.
In this time of terrorism and disintegration and disharmony I find it hard to wish my Scottish friends, colleagues, family, warriors and sportsmen well if the result on Friday is to tell me and the rest of the UK that you don’t want to be with us any more.
It will be hard not to take it personally. It’s not just Westminster you reject, but me and everyone else south of the beautiful borders. We respect your decision but if it’s no, then we must take some rejection from that.
I hope on Friday we are still the UK and we use the energy of debate and refreshed politics to regenerate all of the UK, devolve power from London and become a great nation.
That will be harder for us all without Scotland. Because, my friends, family and colleagues, if we are separate nations then I will be competing for real against you and you will be like Belgium to me, or as one spokesman said: Scotland will be like Spain without the sunshine.
If you still think politics is awesome, listen to this guy, he might just change your mind: