My final thoughts before tomorrow’s voting opens – not about policy but about my heart & head response to everything I’ve seen and read.
It’s easy to pick holes in the opposition’s ideas and proposals – we all know politicians lie and we also know that that is true of most, if not all, who have been involved in this referendum debate – but I want to focus on the positives of why we should stay as part of the UK.
Firstly I want to state clearly I am a proud Scot and I’m annoyed that the Yes side hijacked the Saltire as their emblem because it doesn’t belong to either side – it belong to the whole country. Being fiercely behind Scotland as a nation but still wanting to be British is not a paradox in any way and to suggest so shows a real lack of intelligence. This is an inventive, creative, joyous, beautiful and honest land. The people are amazing and sadly we’ve lost the togetherness we have enjoyed over the last three hundred years in the space of two because of this divisive vote. My No vote is protect that country so it exists for my own children to enjoy.
What we have achieved as the UK should not be undervalued by anyone. All my grandparents lived through wars that had them standing side by side with allies and friends from our sister countries again the Nazis and fascism; fighting on the frontline to ensure votes like tomorrow could happen. Their dedication to the UK as a whole is celebrated every November and should not be thrown away lightly – especially when this generations armed forces could be decimated in an independent Scotland. Working as one we made the NHS – possibly the greatest thing politics has ever achieved in the UK. A free at source healthcare system that treats us all equally and will even support those who come from abroad if we can help them. I wouldn’t be alive were it not for the amazing work they do and I know many others that would not be here either. We did that together – why break it up? My No vote is to protect and ensure a real future for the generations who saved us and the NHS that continues to do so.
We share a culture – despite what we joke about there are many shared values in the arts, music, customs and traditions. SHakespeare and Burns are both our bards, Sherlock Holmes is the quintessential Englishman created by a Scot, James Bond played best by a Scot in many people’s opinion and three of our thirteen Doctor Whos have come from North of the Border. It’s that melting pot of ideas and creativity that makes us great. The BBC is another fantastic example of how joined up thinking can make world class programming. They have taken a beating (unfairly I would add) from the Yes campaign but look at the coming together of BBC regions to make some of the greatest Dramas, funniest comedies and fascinating documentaries – if we leave we won’t have a right to that any more as we will only be paying in 8% of the overall licence fee. My No Vote is to protect the creative spark we share.
We share a conscience too. While there are always political disagreements our togetherness is an enviable thing. Remember that moment at the start of the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympics? We were all poised on Facebook and Twitter to rip it to pieces and then we saw it hold up a mirror to our achievements from the Industrial age, to the NHS to music and we sat back in amazement at the joy and pride we had in the UK. Even the most hardened nationalist must have been impressed as we watched the words “This is for everyone” appear around the stadium from Tim Berners-Lee and recognised how we have invented and gifted things like the internet to the world.We keep each other in check – we are a largely liberal country and have taken leaps in social justice – even during times of Tory governments with right to buy and the legalisation of Gay Marriage. We don’t stand for unfair things, we challenge those who challenge us, we rally like no other nation when it comes to charity. My No vote is keep that shared mindset.
I’m proud that my country has the West End of London, the beauty of Snowdonia, the mystic Giant’s Causeway, Nessie, Blackpool, Tiger Bay, Iona, Sherwood Forest and Edinburgh Festival. We have all those things and can count them as ours in the shared wealth that is the UK – not financial wealth but an embarrassment of riches in unique places to visit and enjoy. We have so much more in common that things that divide us – our towns and cities up and down these isles are welcoming. From Robin Hood to King Arthur, Scottish Ghost stories to Stonehenge our myths and history combine to make this a huge map of possibilities for us right on our doorsteps. My No vote is to keep that geography together.
This is my country, these are my friends. Being made to choose between the ones here and the ones across each border is not something I want to do – what is a border anyway but an invisible line that means nothing to friends either side of it. I will vote no because I honestly believe that we are Better Together – not in twee way as many have depicted the No campaign to be – but as a way to combine and bring out the best in each other. Science, education, healthcare, literature, the arts, music, justice, morality, brotherhood & sisterhood; We can put a wall between us and our friends to the south but nothing will be positive about losing all this. Yes it allows those who question the power of Westminster to remove themselves from it but the issues will still be the same and instead of London we’ll blame Edinburgh – we’ll be worse off for it. I support devolution for all the areas of the UK with Westminster pulling us all together when we need it.
It doesn’t come down to Political parties or slogans or posters, it’s about how you feel in your heart and your head. I understand the draw of Independence for the romantic reasons, but I still think we gain so much from our neighbours that we’d lose an important part of ourselves by leaving.
Vote No to protect Scotland and continue to make it a great nation within the UK