Monday, 11 August 2014

“Yes” is a creative word : Scottish Independence (1)

 I live in England and so I will not be voting in the September 18th, 2014 referendum on Scottish independence.  I was born in Scotland, have lived in Scotland,  and my parents as well as my forebears were Scottish, so I think it legitimate for me to express  views about the idea of Scottish independence, a notion which first came to mind over 60 years ago when, as a wee boy of 7 or 8 years in Dundee, my teachers, Mrs Wilson and Miss Gilchrist,  told us about the stirring deeds of  those early strugglers for Scottish independence, William Wallace and Robert the Bruce.  In the last few months, these memories have returned to  me,  and I  have been  fascinated, given that I don’t have a vote, by how much the discussion about the independence referendum  has impacted upon my feeling and thinking.  What follows is just one example of that.

 In recent weeks when I’ve mentioned to friends, acquaintances and some  members of my family that,  had I been entitled, I would have voted “Yes” for independence in the forthcoming Scottish referendum,  I have been astounded to find I am accused of over-emotionality and sometimes of anger. I have attempted to dissuade those with whom I have been conversing from holding these notions about my psychological state by providing my rationale of the advantages of  independence for Scotland. My explanations have, almost without exception, fallen upon deaf ears and  been cut short by the other person. I have come to believe that when I am putting forward a case for  Scottish independence, those I speak with – all fellow United Kingdom citizens -  begin to feel I am abandoning them.  I experience them as  over-possessive, ‘stuck’ parents who can’t let go of the status quo. It is as if they are saying, “How dare you leave us here at home after all that we have done for you”. 

Let me say I do not think any Scots who call for independence are in the throes of an adolescent struggle for adult identity as they ungratefully attempt to break away from their parents.  Scots have been fully grown up for a long time. Scottish history blazons the Scots' contribution to all aspects of human life, endeavour  and culture, just as it does their courageous and industrious responses to the misfortunes and injustices foisted upon them,  such as, for instance,  the highland clearances which forced so many Scots’ families from their homes and shores as a consequence of the avarice of so called "landowners". 

Scottish people are creative and along with this they carry a positive propensity to look out to the world as well as a capacity to welcome newcomers and take them into their fold and offer them fully fledged membership of the Scottish community. 

The Scottish Parliament - a creative symbol

This is why, to be sure, an independent Scotland will be a full and enthusiastic partner in Europe and a positive force in the wider world.  It will not cry out “No !” as a knee jerk default response to any new idea from so called "foreign fields." The latter is a state of mind represented by the churlish, cynical and destructive  attitude struck towards Europe and elsewhere which, sadly, is a cherished monopoly of  the  current United Kingdom government.

“No” is a turgid word full of fear and inertia. “Yes” is a creative and courageous word full of hope. It provides, without fear, the  time for reflection and consideration of new ideas and so makes original and alternative actions possible.  Yes is a word which is symbolic of Scotland.

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