Eighteen months ago I was asked two questions when enjoying a social occasion with friends.
The first was would Scotland vote for Independence?
And the second was would I vote for Independence?
I’d like to address my response to the former first if I may. When asked if Scotland would vote for Independence and turn it’s back on the Union I said “no chance”. Aside from my own personal viewpoint I just didn’t sense a momentum or a feeling in the country that would carry a Yes vote to victory in the referendum in September 2014. I simply did not get the impression from speaking to peers, friends, business associates and casual acquaintances that Scots were ready to cut the ties to the Union and stand alone as an Independent nation. Listening to politicians who were campaigning for Yes I couldn’t sense a conviction that convinced me that they really wanted it, in actual fact I convinced myself watching & listening to Alex Salmond that despite his posturing for Independence he was not 100% confident that it was the correct choice to make for the country of Scotland. I arrived at the conclusion that he was on a road borne out of recent successes which saw the likes of a Scottish Parliament introduced and he couldn’t turn even if he wanted to. I was convinced 18 short months ago that Alex Salmond, the campaign for an Independent Scotland would fail and fail miserably come September 2014.
For the record I no longer share such an overwhelming conviction that Scotland will vote to retain the Union and turn its back on Independence. I do sense a momentum and I do sense a feeling which goes beyond the normally stereotypical Braveheart type rhetoric with which we are all sometimes entertained and insulted by in equal measure. I fully accept that I could be entirely wrong in my changing assessment of public mood but I would no longer be surprised if Scotland were to vote Yes come September 2014.
Am I a political expert? By no stretch of the imagination would I class myself as such, in actual fact I like so many try to ignore party politics and politicians if at all possible. My own take on politicians is not newsworthy but on a personal level I think they do in the main suffer from real credibility issues when addressing the working man of the UK.
The aim of this article is not to convince anyone to vote Yes or No but simply to highlight some of the genuine passion that currently exists from people who have taken it upon themselves to speak out in the Independence debate. If that creates further debate even between only half a dozen folk then this scribble will be a success because I do know that people must take great care and give a greater level of consideration to the Independence vote than many do when ticking or failing to tick the ballot boxes at a General Election when in reality the only difference between those elected it would seem is the colour of their public schoolboy tie ( oh wait even their school ties may be the same).
First up I’d like to introduce you to Gerry McMahon, a self proclaimed socialist, trade unionist and Yes campaigner who argues why it’s important from a trade union perspective to vote Yes in the forthcoming referendum. I will caution you his passion is contagious but you must decide whether his message carries an argument you can get on board with.
Having witness Gerry’s firebrand speech I now offer you George Galloway Respect MP talking on the Kaiser Report, George is currently travelling around Scotland trying to sell his Just say Naw message.
And finally for now a slightly less aggressive or hard hitting maybe even humourous little video backing the Yes vote.
Having watched the videos and considered the messages therein do you like me still have problems deciding what’s the best for Scotland?
Perhaps if we could trust politicians to tell us the truth or campaign on something tangible as opposed to soundbites designed to scare you into voting No or rhetoric borne out of patriotism aimed at convincing you to vote Yes we would be ready to make a decision.
I’ve yet to answer my second question i.e. Will I vote for an Independent Scotland? At this time I find it difficult to form an educated opinion. So, first time in my life I find myself in the undecided camp. It’s a strange place to be and it doesn’t feel comfortable but over the coming months I will make it my business to form an opinion on what I think will be best for Scotland prior to going to the ballot box because I do know that it’s simply not acceptable to sit back and allow others to make a decision for me. All of those undecided voters must make a conscious decision to vote and vote intelligently with what’s best for the people of Scotland their only criteria. I would urge the politicians, campaigners and activists to engage us undecided voters with positive campaigning to allow us to make a truly informed decision.
One question that does continually find its way into my thoughts is that of the wider UK perspective. Why are Cameron and Osborne etc so determined to see a No vote? You can be sure this isn’t borne out of historical sentiment or neighbourly love but out of hard economics. I wish these economics could be explained to us Scots openly and we could see both the value to Scotland being in the UK, the value we create for the UK as well as the landscape which would determine the extent to which we could realistically be self sufficient.
It would seem unthinkable that this most important vote, irrespective of outcome, did not see the vast majority of the people go to the polls. The result when it comes must be representative of the majority and there will be no time for what ifs afterwards.
Further scribbles and thoughts will be forthcoming as we move closer to the referendum.
Tumble Drift Out.