“If you had one shot or one opportunity to seize everything you ever wanted, one moment, would you capture it or just let it slip?”
As part of the internet generation, I find the concept of borders and flag-waving archaic. I have more in common with anonymous image board users than I do with my fellow countrymen. Nothing personal guys: I just prefer the company of like-minded strangers.
Besides, I’m scarcely even Scottish. Sure, I was born and raised here, but my parents came from England, my grandfather from Denmark and, if there was a box to tick, my passport would make me an internet citizen.
So why am I sat here, advocating Scottish independence?
Despite what these opening paragraphs might suggest, I’m not here to talk about me. I’m here to talk about a country I believe in and whose people I care for – despite having only met a fraction of a few.
Some of you were pretty cool. Some of you were dicks. One or two I fell in love with. But from the wee radges in the schemes to the lobster fishers in the isles, I give a damn about all of you: your weans, your mates, your folks and your future.
On September 18th, please vote Yes.
Don’t do it because your Facebook mates are telling you or because the blue stickers in your street outnumber the purples. And certainly don’t do it because some nominally Scottish blogger says so. That would just be daft.
Do it because it’s the right thing to do.
Economically? Mebbes aye, mebbes naw. Culturally? Hard to tell. Morally?
Morally, nothing has ever been more black and white, cut and dried or crystal clear. There are numerous arguments for and against independence, but when it comes to morality, Yes is the only logical answer.
Sure, I care about my kids’ future and want what’s best for my friends and family just like you. But not at the expense of my fellow Scots. And certainly not at the expense of the six billion others who don’t call themselves Scottish.
The neglected, the downtrodden and the needy. The underdogs. The ones who don’t have a voice. The Scots children still living in poverty. The auld wifies who’ve been scunnered by bedroom tax. The Iraqi orphans, created in an illegal war, and the Palestinian children denied a future because no one is prepared to give them one.
We care a lot
No nation – not even an independent Scotland – can right all those wrongs. But it can make a stand for the principles it believes in and can lead by example rather than being a lapdog for US hegemony and the narrow interests of the elite.
Whatever happens on Thursday, you and I are going to be just fine. Even if Asda raises the price of a loaf and we’re forced to use a currency called the Thistle, we’ll be dandy.
If you’re reading these words, you have an internet connection, a reasonable education and a good start in life. Should independence go inconceivably awry and the Titanic starts to sink, we’re in first class. Our lifeboats are waiting. Seriously: what is the worst that can happen?
A couple of oil companies throw a hissy fit and relocate?
The economy reduces us to one Starbucks a day and a mere fortnight in the sun?
If it means no more illegal wars, no more condoning of genocide and no more harbouring atomic time bombs, I’m prepared to take that gamble.
Because the alternative – to say we had a chance to right those wrongs and yet did nothing, be it out of cowardice or self-interest – would be hard to stomach.
Screw you guys
It’s natural that we should care for our own interests first and foremost. That’s how the world works. Self-concern is reasonable. Selfishness is not.
The British government – our government – dragged us into wars we didn’t want, lumped us with nukes they didn’t want and made promises they didn’t intend to keep.
Alex Salmond could threaten a ban on Buckfast and 100 years of austerity and I’d still choose independence, just to be rid of that lot.
Carpe diem, bitchez
Don’t get me wrong: the case for independence is not simply about defining ourselves by what we’re not. It’s also about having courage (here’s those values again). It’s about having optimism. It’s about believing in ourselves.
Ultimately, it comes down to one question:
Do you believe this is as good as things are gonna get, or do you believe that Scotland could get better?
If you’re happy with things the way they are, vote No and normal service will be resumed. It’s that simple.
If you dare to believe in a better future though, the only option is Yes.
Of course, belief alone isn’t enough. The discovery of huge oilfields off the Shetland coast isn’t enough. We could have all these things and still make a horse’s arse of independence. I don’t think that’s going to happen, but I’m not so naive as to think it out of the question.
I’ve no time for Pinterest quotes, but I know this much to be true: the greatest regrets in life aren’t the things you do, but the things you never try.
Face your feels
Right now, Scotland is stuck in a loveless relationship but is nervous about breaking up. “What if I fail to attract a decent partner?” “What if I go months without getting my hole?” We might even have to pay more for certain things once our ex isn’t around to split the rent.
The prospect of going it alone can be scary, but the alternative – to falter along in the hope that things will get better – is derisible. If Scotland can muster the conviction to pack its shit, vote Yes and then walk out that door, things will get better. Perhaps not at first; initially that simmering uncertainty and those fleeting feels may persist. Let’s call it Stockholm Syndrome.
But then one day you’ll wake up and catch yourself smiling. Walk to the bathroom, glance in the mirror and exclaim “I feel fine!”
And then the realisation sweeps over you in an awesome way: everything is going to be okay.
We’ve still “got it”, our own company is surprisingly enjoyable and we could swear we caught that barista checking us out. And, now that the shackles have been removed and some perspective gained, the transition to independence really wasn’t that bad.
In the words of Dr Pepper, “What’s the worst that can happen?”
In the words of Nike, “Just do it.”
And in the words of this scribe, “Say Yes, for all of us.”
Then, when the votes have been cast and counted, let’s throw the mother of all parties, cos when it comes to having a good time, we’re all Scottish: the immigrants, the English, the bemused tourists and the proud patriots who can trace their lineage back to Robert the Bruce.
Despite the rhetoric of this rant, on Thursday you should vote whichever damn way you want. But don’t do so out of fear, caution or self-preservation. Do it out of hope and compassion, optimism and ambition. And the cats of course – do it for them and the overseas exiles and everyone else deprived of a vote.
Scotland: the world is watching. Let’s show them what we stand for.
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