Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Today, Scotland Decides!

WOW! Where do I begin with this post? Today, yes TODAY, this is going to be a momentous day for the future of Scotland, and for the rest of the United Kingdom of Great Britain too. Sadly events conspired in my life that in this day I don't get the chance to vote on the issue. I would not change the last six years of my life to allow me to do so, not when most of those 6 years were the best years of my life. Still it is sad that as an expat Scot that I don't get to take part in this historic day

Rightly or wrongly, whatever you think about empire building, the facts are Scots as part of the UK over centuries helped build an empire, they helped build countries and nations, with skill, knowledge, ingenuity, and back breaking endeavour Scots have been the tool to shape countries far and wide. Now today, in September 2014, some in the No campaign would have you believe that Scotland doesn't have what it takes to build its own nation. Thats utter crap of course. There are nations out there with less that what Scotland has that has the means for a prosperous for future.

As a Scotsman, I'm proud to be British, and I'm proud to be Scottish. Whatever the result that we wake up to on Friday I will be proud and a little saddened. I will be proud that 97% of the possible electorate has been energised enough to exercise their right to vote on this issue. I hope that the result is just the beginning for that electorate, I hope people of all political persuasions are encouraged to continue to keep interested in the issues going forward, and that the politicians are held to account by a hungry electorate demanding that their voice be heard.

As a Scotsman I would vote Yes to an independent Scotland. The Better Together campaign in charge of galvanising the No vote lost the argument for me when they ran a campaign based on telling people what we couldn't do if Scotland was an independent nation. I'm sorry but my wife would tell you I am as stubborn as they come, you tell me what I can't do and I'll tell you what I can. In a country of 5.3million people, 4.2 million are signed up to vote. 97 out of every 100 people eligible to vote has signed up to do just that. A very small number won't have a voice, and most of those people will be under the age of 16. I am hugely disappointed that the No campaign thought the way to win this election was to those millions of voters what they couldn't do if they weren't part of the UK.

I would have much more respect for the Better Together campaign message had it been run differently. Had they run a positive message based on a vision for a positive British future with Scottish interests at the heart then I would have listened to that message. I was born in Scotland, but I grew up British, I grew with Scottish values and British made opportunities. I was ripe for the taking of the Better Together campaign. However after living in the US for five years and coming back to the UK and having lived in London for the last 10 months and I don't recognise the Britain I knew. We have a British government that is entrusted with the powers of budgeting for the UK as a whole, but largely pays no heed to the issues that concerns that of a Scotsman, a Welshman or a Northern Irishman. We have a British Parliament responsible for the future direction of four nations but only pays attention to the issues concerning the people of one country, and then those people entrusted with those powers have the arrogance to say you couldn't do a better job than us.

It is hard for the Better Together campaign to paint a positive future for Scotland within the UK if they are only now paying any attention to what the people of Scotland have concerns about.

If the majority of the Scottish electorate votes Yes today, it is not the end of the debate. It is just the beginning. Every Yes voter I've heard speak has a different vision of the future going forward. That is exciting. That means there will be lots of voices thats going to need to be heard and encouraged to voice those thoughts and ideas if the steps of potential are to become steps of progress

I look at my own past. A past from six years ago. I had never truly been in love before. I had never truly had to take care of anyone other than myself before. I was afraid and scared. I was scared of rejection. I was scared of failure I was fearful of myself and what I was and wasn't capable of. Then I met a beautiful woman and I learned to love. I learned to love her, I learned to love her family, I learned to love the act of love itself. It empowered me. I discovered I already had the tools to allow me to face any challenge. I learned that all the self doubts I had before were nothing that could not be overcome. I learned how to hope, and dream of better futures. I grew and I flourished and I learned the meaning of fulfilment. Self-determination starts within yourself. And I made mistakes. I'm human, I've made mistakes but even today I'm not broken by my mistakes, I've been empowered by the love that I have to believe that I can grow, and flourish and continue learning to be better.

Six years on, Scotland is on the same journey. The time is here. The road has been long. We’ve laughed and loved and lost along the way. In the two years of this debate Scotland has learned to hope, learned how to make dreams come real. Beyond the question itself, no one has all the answers, and that is ok because the question, yes or no to Scottish Independence is just the beginning.

Going away, and living in the States and coming back to the UK I've learned that the people can be the power in the land of my birth. Living in London I see people afraid to look others in the eye, I see people scared for the future, scared of the future, scared of incoming immigrants taking their piece of turf, their piece of the pie threatened. I've learned that being Scottish isn't just a state of mind. There is a sense of justice embedded within, a state of looking forward, a state of inclusion, a state of self-belief, a state of hope that seems to be lacking at a  British level right now. That lack of hope at the British level scares me more than the uncertainties of an independent future. That hope that this debate has lit up at a Scottish level excites me. Hope can be delusionary, but without it the future can be very dark indeed.

There are potentials that live within us all. If we can find the words to make them sing we can find the words to change a nation. I don't want to be part of a nation that bites its tongue, I don't want to be afraid of what can go wrong. I don't want to be stuck in silence. If no one ever hears our words no one will ever hear our version of events, and no one will ever know what we could do. That will be sad indeed, when you stay quiet when words could make a difference, mistakes happen.

I've been there I've done that, and I don't want to do it again. I don't want to be fearful. I want to see Scotland have the bravery to step up and shout and share with the world its own solutions for a scary world and shape a better future and sharing new ideas that other parts of the world might adopt for themselves, the rest of Britain included. Right now the UK seems devoid of ideas, whereas the debate that has gripped Scotland for the last two years has encouraged ideas to come forward that wasn't there previously. Just like the love of a good beautiful woman sparked the belief in my own capabilities, the question that Scotland must answer today has allowed voices and ideas to be heard and with it hope for the future.

Those voices, 97% of the Scottish electorate, have finally come together to be heard. There has been no concensus of what the future may be, but nonetheless all those voices paint an exciting vision of what the future could be. I don't want that that to stop at a No! That would be an anticlimax. A yes is not the end of the journey, a no would be, but a yes would be the beginning of something infinitely more powerful. Something that is going to get in the papers around the world, but something that goes beyond the headlines for one day.The repercussions of today could be felt for generations to come.