If you read this, then please receive it in the spirit it is written. I am not a well-reasoned person, whatever I may think, but I do have passion and emotion. And I am writing, down in Devon, about the looming Scottish referendum in which I have no vote but in which I have so much at stake.
It has been said enough that this has been a campaign about heart and head. And indeed it has been. And now I add my two penn’orth.
I have a few thoughts in my head that I will try to get down here.
I think a campaign based on difference is a worry. In this day and age have we not learnt enough to know that building walls, metaphorically or otherwise, brews otherness, and otherness can bloom into hate? David McKee’s book The Two Monsters illustrates what happens when there is a barrier between people. It can lead to conflict as it is so much harder to understand each other’s point of view. I cannot see how a union that has fought and defeated the fascism of the last century can be better off split into pieces.
I can see why so many Scottish people want to split from the union. The argument is mainly that they do not want to be ruled by Westminster. Living in Devon, I know how frustrating it is to be ruled by a London-centric government but I don’t advocate breaking off from the rest of Britain. In unity is strength. Can we not change things from within? Together?
And my heart?
My heart says I love being British. Like most Brits I am Heinz 57. I have Scottish blood, Welsh blood, Huguenot blood, blood of the aboriginal race of Australia. Even a drop of Eleanor of Aquitaine’s blood. And a big chunk of me is English, mainly west country. I was a student at Lancaster for three years, I’ve lived and worked and had my babies in London, I’m married to an Irishman, I live in a Devon town that over the years has struggled to keep its head above the water which cut us off from the rest of the country for a few months earlier this year. (Eventually the PM paid us a visit…) And over the last few years I have fallen head over heels in love with Scotland. Like so many of us Brits, I represent What a diverse nation we are.
As Jenny Colgan said in her recent piece in the Guardian, pleading eloquently to resist the break-up of the union:
Naw. No. No. Never. Swear at me all you like. You shall not take it. My home. My land.
And I agree with that plea, with both my head and my heart, as I wait to see where my future lies. Whatever happens, change is ahead. But please, no, not that magnitude of a change.