|Behind bars on the Scotsman's stair|
Wednesday, 1 January 2014
Free Scotland in 2014 : a sense of my own worth
I hope that on September 18th, 2014, the voters of Scotland choose to make their country an independent one. Others have demonstrated that there are many compelling economic, political and philosophical reasons for Scotland to choose to be independent but for me as a Scot living away from his country, the attraction of freedom is emotional as much as it is rational.
A healthy indicator of the nationalist movement in Scotland is its internationalism. In the first instance, it has a wish to be understood as European as much as it is Scottish. Informally, the Scots have a long tradition of this not only in the development of European thinking but also in the way the Scottish diaspora has disseminated and in turn implemented its ideas about science, engineering, medicine, construction, democracy, government, education and etc., throughout the world.
What impacts more powerfully upon me is the evocative and provocative sense of a free Scotland. Being Scottish connects me to a place where I belong, where I come from and where I spent my childhood. If Scotland votes for independence I will be pleased not to feel in a very embarrassing way, churlish, to insist that I am Scottish at those times when it is assumed that by being British I must be “English.” For certain, I love where I live in England and I love English people. Yet, why is it that perhaps 6 or 7 times a year I find myself in a situation which impels me to protest that I am a Scot ? Some will not understand this. After all, Belgians don’t get called French, Dutch people don’t get called German, Portuguese folk don’t get called Spanish and English people seldom experience - directly or by implication - being called Scottish. For most people my anxiety may seem childish. It is. It runs deep. It is primitive. It frets over my sense of my own worth - not in pounds sterling - but as a human being.
Edinburgh, January 1st, 2014.