Monday, 8 September 2014

Times Change

The Kelpies
It’s only a matter of days now until the referendum on Scottish independence and with the new poll, showing yes ahead, but effectively making things too close to call, it’s getting exciting!
I wrote about my conversion from ambivalence to strongly pro-independence here. But even at the time, I had my doubts about independence being possible. Scotland seemed to be entrenched in old immoveable views. Most Labour folk would follow the Labour line and SNP folk would follow the SNP line and that would be it. People seemed unwilling to engage or even consider that it might even be possible. In truth, it gave me doubts about Scottish people – I have been proven astoundingly wrong in these doubts.
In the past half year it’s like the whole country has woken up to the idea that independence might just work or it’s a least worth having an open conversation about above and beyond the usual party lines. People are making up their own minds. They have been debating the risks and the rewards at a level that seemed impossible for me to imagine before.
The highest point in the campaign for me was the other day when a friend from back in school posted an eloquent plea for independence on his Facebook page. It’s funny, but you never really think of people growing up and changing. It would have been hard to imagine that the kid I knew at school would care anything about politics, never mind to be so engaged as to write something so heartfelt on his timeline. Times change and Scotland is changing – maybe even for the better.
Of course, it’s not all be pleasant. Accusations of aggressiveness on and off the internet have come from both sides, but I think considering the magnitude of the decision being made, Scotland is doing pretty well – for most countries it takes a revolution to bring about the sort of changes we are talking about.
I hope the people of Scotland will vote YES. But even if we don’t, the referendum itself has been a success. People are taking their country into their own hands in a way that I’ve never seen in my lifetime and it gives me hope that maybe people are better than I’ve given them credit for. Maybe the world can be changed…. not maybe .. YES

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