11 Sep 2014

LIFE: Scottish Independence - The Final Countdown

Image source: Getty via The Telegraph
There's just one week to go until I cast my vote on one of the biggest decisions that my country could ever make. I'm petrified but excited. I wasn't originally planning on writing a final post regarding the referendum but I've now realised that I couldn't just leave it like I did.

I'll get one thing straight before we properly start here - this is a much more personal post regarding my own, individual thoughts and feelings towards Scottish Independence. My previous posts (one, two & three) were a bit more "fact" based, or really an attempt at providing a variety of information sources regarding my feelings on the topic. Today I'm just going to ramble. If you would prefer some more factual reading material I highly recommend Morag's IndyRef edition of The Linkables. Morag is one of the few people I've been able to fully discuss the ins and outs of the vote with without feeling pressured or dismissed and I've really enjoyed our conversations.

Okay, here goes.

I currently do not have a clue what I am going to vote. Before, I had mentioned that I was most probably a no vote but not necessarily a very strong no vote, but now I'm leaning ever so slightly more towards a yes. I'm starting to think that the only way things will change for Scotland and the rUK is if we do decide to become an independent nation. I've recently realised that this vote is not about "being British" but instead about leaving the clutches of Westminster - who I think need a right kick up the backside. It is a geographical fact that we are part of the British Isles, no vote can change that. No vote can change the fact that I was born in England and I am proud of that. No vote can change the fact that I have also spent the majority of my life in Scotland and I am also proud of that.

Personally I really dislike the two mainstream campaigns within the referendum, Yes Scotland and Better Together, but after being introduced to some other parties and campaigns such as Green Yes and the SSP who seem to put their points regarding independence across in a much more logical, kinder and appealing way my feelings have started to be swayed.

Recently I've realised that I was possibly being too selfish when it came to the referendum. Yes, it's my vote and my decision, but I am not the only person who lives in this country. I am lucky in that I have had a comfortable upbringing, a good standard of education and the means by which to make it through the week and then some. Food banks and benefits are not issues that have previously been of major importance to me when they really should have been. I don't like to think of myself as naive but I'm starting to feel like I have been. If a yes vote results in a fairer and more equal society for all demographics, be it gender, income, location or race then I could support a yes vote.

Something that has been niggling away at me is the uncertainty surrounding what exactly would happen should we vote to become independent, but everything in life has a degree of uncertainty. It's stupid to hold back from something just because you are scared. Every massive journey in life starts with one small step, so maybe that step is crossing the box next to 'yes' next week. Then again the number of business threatening to pull out of Scotland, the jobs that could be lost and the economic issues we may see are off putting.

Either way, based on recent polls, this decision is going to divide the country. No matter what the outcome it would seem that there will be a large chunk of the population who will not be happy. That is what I hate about this, the segregation. It has created a bit of a tense atmosphere at the moment which I hope we can leave behind after the vote, I'm fed up of seeing nothing but arguments and scaremongering swallow my social media feeds. Scotland is supposedly a friendly country but the amount of violence and abuse being spouted from either side of the campaign is making me too embarrassed and scared to share my views.

At the end of the day, I don't think I would particularly mind either outcome. I can't quite decide which I would prefer at the moment and it's pretty scary that I only have a week to do so.
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