Jack’s weekly guest blog could have no other subject at this moment.
Thursday September 18th 2014 has been a long time coming, but now it’s almost here. That’s when Scots go to the polls and check the box for “Yes” or “No.” “Yes” means Scotland becomes an independent country in 2016 (two years to get everything sorted). “No” means Scotland remains a part of the United Kingdom of Northern Ireland, England, Scotland, and Wales.
It’s a big day when everyone resident in Scotland gets to vote on whether to become an Independent country again after 307 years. Not through terrorism or threats or bombs or any other kind of armed struggle, but a generally polite and well informed discussion. In fact a number of our American friends have commented on how civilized the debate has been compared to political discourse here in the US.
If you’re watching the coverage via BBC or other British channels, you’re probably not getting a full picture. Of course, the same would be said of taking news from Twitter and Facebook (as if anyone uses that as a sole source!) Most of the anti-independence rhetoric has come from newspapers and TV stations that take their cue from the UK government, while the pro-independence movement has overwhelming control of the internet and social media and by far the most ‘feet on the ground’.
Some of my favorite online moments have come from pro-independence musicians hitting the streets to support flash mobs. This one of Dougie MacLean is particularly moving. And for pure fun, not much beats this man welcoming the MPs come up from Westminster to march in support of “Better Together.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0bGuCGdLxW0
If you want an accurate picture, you have to look at both citizen and establishment journalism. Two years ago the polls were showing a 20+% lead for ‘No’ whereas now with just a day to go it’s narrowed to 50/50 and no-one’s certain which way it will go now.
Because I’m not resident and I won’t have a vote, I like to think I can view the campaign neutrally. But there’s a coaster sitting on the table beside me that reads “You can take the boy out of Dunfermline, but you can’t take Dunfermline out of the boy” and that’s true. Despite being an American Citizen now I can’t forget where I come from and have to admit that I’m not the least bit neutral. I want an independent Scotland, in charge of its own resources, doing what’s best for its citizens, not having to live by rules made in a city of 12 million to govern a country of 6 million living in a predominantly rural area.
This isn’t about kilts or plaid or bagpipes or even ‘Braveheart’ and the other media images of “Scottish identity.” It’s simply about bringing democracy home again.
Somehow, I can see you playing your own supportive music on the streets of Dunfermline like Dougie MacLean in Perth. (And “Caledonia” always made me feel homesick, even if I have no connection to Scotland whatever, not even as a visitor.)
Coming down on the side of self-government. I come from a long line of Elliotts, Beatons, MacDonalds, and MacLeans. Long time since we lived in Scotland; not so long since we called Cape Breton, NS home. We’ ll see what tomorrow brings. Let the people decide!
Dear Wendy and Jack,
I met you when you came to Parnassus in Nashville right after my return home after having been to Britain – including Scotland. Had a nice visit with Jack – about Scotland, of course. I continue to enjoy your blog and have to tell you, Jack, that until I read yours today I probably would have voted “No” had I not read your blog! You convinced me. Also I have just written to our good friend with whom we traveled and who lives in London and forwarded on your blog to him.
Best wishes! Jean Stewart
Everyone – I’m posting this reply late on Wednesday night and I feel for all the folks that, unlike me, actually have the opportunity to vote tomorrow. They will have their hopes and fears – for themselves and their families and children. I would say – whatever the outcome they have to carry on and make the best of the result.
My instinct, honestly, is: “Yes” would be better for their soul; but “No” might be better for their country.
Honest, I don’t know how the Vote turned out. However, if you read the names of American Revolutionists, there are a whole lot of us from Scotland who fought for Independance Day. Jan Janice Brooks-Headrick 865-429-1783 Storyteller Author Instigator facebook.com/janice.brooksheadrickCorresponding SecretarySmoky Mountain Storytellers Association