Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Scotland: Yes or No

September 18, 2014

For those of you who do not live in Scotland or the UK, please spare Scotland a moment's thought on Thursday. Millions of voters will be going to the ballots to answer a very simple, but possibly history-changing question: Should Scotland be an independent country?

Yes or No. That's it.

I don't have the vote because we no longer live in Scotland and even if we did because I'm not a citizen of the UK or of Europe. But we have returned to Scotland to be part of this immensely important day. We have spoken to our children about what is going on and what it means, in simple terms. We have taken Mouse out of school and we will help him prepare a short explanation of what happened while on his holiday.

I have my preferences of which way I would like the outcome, but in my mind it is the implications of this vote that are so important to me. Scotland has had three years of preparation for this particular referendum, over 30 years since the last referendum and 300 years of a Union with England and the United Kingdom. But the age of the internet has made the debate this time very different than any other in the last 300 years.

People are talking, sharing, researching, debating, yes, even arguing about what this referendum means for Scotland and its future. The internet has made so many details readily available and often shared within a blink of an eye. Bias has been shown by the media because there are hundreds of journalists at events and thousands of regular folk with phones, computers, tablets who can document things and show how they really happened, rather than edited for your viewing. We no longer have to rely on the media, the politicians to give us the information needed to make a decision.

We've only been in Scotland for a few days and I'm loving the atmosphere. People are involved everywhere, they are talking, they care. And most of all, the majority of them seem to be ready to vote. We've chatted with shop staff and friends about the various angles, seen the stickers, flags and leaflets.

The voting officials have been overwhelmed with requests from new voters to get registered. This is what really excites me. I'm hoping for a huge turnout of voters on the day. That the voice of Scotland will be real and loud. People who have never cared about an election or their vote are getting out there to have their say. Because this is important to Scotland and the UK, to big businesses and small, to families and communities. 

I'd also like a big as possible majority for whichever side wins. There has been division, upset on both sides. Only a clear majority for the winners will help heal that division and make Scotland's next step possible. 

I hope the rest of the UK listens to Scotland whatever the turnout and this epic moment will bring on changes in Scotland, the UK and the rest of the world. There is no need to accept the status quo, if you want change, fight for it. Speak up, campaign, vote. Let your voice be heard. 

Good luck Scotland. You have been good to me in so many ways: gave me a home, a family, so many friends, some of the best years and experiences of my adult life. I truly want you to have your independence. I want my children to be proud of this time in Scotland's history and proud of being Scottish even if they are not living there now. But I will be proud of its people on the 18th as they get out and vote. Thursday will be Scotland's day to be heard. 

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