My most dearly loved family, closest friends, all Scots women and men, all – Over the past weeks and months, more especially in these past days, I have been filled with an unusual sense of wonderment and ecstatic pride in my compatriot Scots. Few of us may have taken the time in the midst of this present national intensity to fully appreciate that the eyes of the whole world are focused on us. Yes, us, the some five million women and men of this our totie wee homeland. Throughout history, and on shores not too far distant from our own, folk have risen up against their own sisters, brothers, mothers, fathers in the name of nation and state, but here the chasm of identity and difference has been opened wide and not a shot has been sounded, not a drop of the blood of the northern Gael has been spilled. Our deepest, most profound question has been asked in quiet and now aloud, and not to a few, but to every soul in Scotland. From Beijing to Vancouver the nations stand back in speechless awe that little Scotland has become the most democratically engaged people not only on the planet, but in the whole history of the world. Harsh words have been spoken, true, but we have always used harsh words. Some have used these minor outbursts as evidence of a latent violence that simply does not exist. Without thinking about it too much we have been an example to the furthest reaches of our world of how hard decisions should be made.
I have always considered the Scots way of doing things the superior way of doing things, and I have tried, through all my travels to overcome this biased sense of national identity. Taking in the behaviour of Scotland’s people these last days this sense of moral superiority is becoming increasing more difficult to overcome. In my heart of hearts I do know that all human beings are made of the same stardust, but what I feel of the mettle of the Scot is quite different. Whether we are champing at the bit for independence or digging our heels in for the union we have all excelled ourselves in the face of the whole world. It is now only a matter of hours before we will go out to the polls and cast a vote that will decide – at least for now – the future of our country, but before we go out we should consider, and consider deeply, what we have achieved. Whether you have decided on saying no or yes to the question on Thursday’s ballot paper, or whether you have already cast your vote in the post, I want to tell you how proud I am right now to be a Scot and belong to a people such as this. We have become a living wonder of the modern world. We have shown that old grievances and national conflicts can be overcome in a shared sense of belonging to the one community. We have, as that single community, stumbled upon the beautiful miracle of peace. This time will not be soon forgotten in a world torn asunder by bitter hatred and bloodshed. Imagine: it was Scotland that did this.
For my part, and it would be wrong to make a secret of it, I am in favour of parting company with our southern neighbour. I have travelled through those imaginings that my family and friends who desire union and Britishness are lesser Scots, lesser patriots than I and those with whom I agree. Today I remain frustrated with the blackmail and the threats of the leaders of the unionist cause, but I have broken bread with so many who, in the sincerity of their consciences, seek to remain British. In this journey I have grown. My own eyes have been opened to the reality of that Scottishness too. We may disagree, but on Friday morning we will all still be Scots, and that gladdens my heart. My plea to my fellow Scots who intend to cast a no vote is that you too will see that the yes voter, your neighbour, friend and sister, has no intention of being your foe. Our patriotism is one founded on tiredness; a tiredness of the hopelessness that we have all felt for so long. In 1707 the union was set on bribery, theft and bad faith. This is all past history now, this we all know. So too is the butchery on Culloden. Still, bad faith has been felt these past three hundred and seven years. I say that it has been ‘felt’ because it clearly hasn’t been felt by all Scots. We have experienced being Scottish in five million different ways. While some have prospered from our dalliance with Westminster, others have suffered. Even before our devolution this perceived bad faith was felt when, without the consent of the Scottish people and before the reality of the Edinburgh parliament, in secret the London government shifted our maritime boundaries to weaken Scotland and enrich itself.
All this aside for now, we will make this decision and it will be done in a way that will be a marvel to the world. We all know what we would like to see come of it, and obviously I know what I would like to see. If it does not go my way I will be hurt and disappointed. We will all feel the sting if our want is not met. Our consolation, quite unique to Scotland, is that when we have settled down we will still be family, friends and neighbours. That, and exactly that, is why I am bursting with pride for our Scotland.
© 2014 homophilosophicus