Scottish independence: The state of the union

Written by angusduncan

There is no doubt that today’s vote will be the biggest in the history of Scotland. Today we will see millions take to the ballot box, the most politi

There is no doubt that today’s vote will be the biggest in the history of Scotland. Today we will see millions take to the ballot box, the most politically engaged electorate the country will ever see.

This vote is the culmination of two years of gruelling campaigning. There will never be anything quite like this again.

Scotland voted SNP in 2007 because of disillusion with the Scottish Labour Party, not a sudden urge to cut ties with the rest of the UK. 2011’s landslide win should have been the wake-up call that the UK’s main parties needed to alert them to the fact that their gradual shift to the right was not appreciated by all.

Politicians who should have known better than to take the mick with their expenses after the great scandal of 2009 continued to do so, reinforcing the idea that it was one rule for Westminster, another for the rest of us.

Meanwhile, benefits were slashed and those unfortunate enough to have a spare room were told – by millionaires – that they were a drain on society, and that their incomes would suffer.

An emotional debate

If Scotland votes for independence today, and it’s very possible that we will, it will not be a vote for an identity – rather a vote for the chance to do things better ourselves, having given London ample opportunities.

It has hardly been a selfish debate. The deep wounds can be seen across the nation and will take some time to heal, if ever.

It is the unsurprising result of engaging almost everyone in the country in political debate like never before.

It is this debate which fuelled the campaigns: the visionaries for the future of the UK had desks behind every bar in the land as much as they did at the official campaigns’ respective headquarters.

If anything, this debate gave Scots the confidence that they could stand on their own two feet – like teenagers realising that they could take decisions for themselves, many were keen to point out that this was Scotland’s debate, and nobody else’s.

It comes down to this

This was a debate where both sides called on voters to use their heads, then tried to appeal to their hearts. The concept of a union and solidarity was never played up like it should have been, things could have been very different if it had.

Up in Scotland, watching David Cameron asking us not to leave was considered slightly better entertainment than a lunchtime rerun of Bargain Hunt and nothing more. Gordon Brown found his voice yesterday. The two should have swapped places months ago.

And being told that 0.06 per cent of Britain’s richest and largest city had turned out in the middle of said city to ask us not to leave didn’t really cut it with many.

But despite all this, what was there ever there for us to vote yes?

Hope. Hope that we could do better. Hope that we could elect better. Hope that with so many people talking about politics, people might start giving a shit about the state of the world again.

The thing is, hope is hypothetical.

If Scotland votes no today, it will be a vote of trust – but not confidence – in Westminster to do better, for everyone.

And if it is to be a yes? Well, it’s been a pleasure…

Have your say on the vote for independence in the comments section below.