Sunday, 14 September 2014

Independence or family?

Every night I have been watching the news and the raging debate over Scottish Independence. The biggest question - after all the political rhetoric and scaremongering - seems to be wether Scots will be voting with their heads or their hearts? Currently, the Scottish people are split down the middle: 50% want independence, 50% don’t. So does the heart always win in the end? Will undecided voters get to the polling booths and go with their gut, with sentimentality, or with hope and courage?

I happened to catch the tail end of the Proms last night and got very emotional when I realised that this may the last time I see the Albert Hall filled with Union Jacks. That anything with the word “British” attached to it, may not include Scotland after next week, and I realised that my heart very much rules my head. I felt terribly sad. I am not alone it seems. A recent poll showed that if the rest of the UK were to vote, more than 80% of England, Wales and Northern Ireland, would not want Scotland to leave us. But are we thinking what would be best for Scotland or being selfish and emotional at what we would lose? It’s complicated. There will be so many changes if Scotland gains independence. It’s not just about the Union Jack and feeling nostalgic, it’s about the currency, the National Health Service, oil, nuclear defence, the EU, tax, education, even what we will call ourselves. We can’t call ourselves the United Kingdom if Scotland isn’t part of us... Maybe we will have to call ourselves the Former United Kingdom, but the abbreviation is slightly problematic, no matter how accurate!

It suddenly feels as if our eldest child wants to leave home. To have its own identity, to discover the world and stand alone. In life, we always welcome our loved ones back, if they’ve run out of money, made a mistake or changed their mind, but if Scotland votes for independence next week, there is no turning back. I have stayed quiet and neutral until now. I didn’t want to force my views on anyone or speak out of turn because I felt being English, I wasn’t allowed, but as I lie in bed with a recently operated knee, being looked after by my amazing parents, visited by my wonderful sister and receiving messages from loved ones, I realise that family means everything to me. And no matter how cheesy it sounds, Scotland is part of the UK’s family and I don’t want to lose it. 

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