14th September

It was a strange time to visit Scotland – it could be the last time we go while it’s part of the UK! The Independence debate is in full swing with the referendum being next Thursday. There was a massive No demonstration in Edinburgh yesterday which we saw from the train. This morning I went to get some milk from the local garage and stood outside the garage and read all the headlines in the Sunday papers (including the Scottish ones) and they were almost all anti independence! My personal favourite was “Salmond blamed for drunken dwarf riot”.

Opposite the garage was this sign:

A few hundred yards down the road stood this one:

It’s easy to see how divided the country is over the issue but good to see that at least something had re-ignited the interest in how we are governed in this country. The Westminster parties have morphed together so much that there has been such a decline in interest in politics over the past 20 years – that old saying that it doesn’t matter who you vote for the government will get in has never been truer! So I can quite understand why a huge number of Scots are saying lets go it alone, it can’t be any worse than it is now! I also note how the Westminster elite have also started to panic in the past few weeks when they started to realise that the Yes vote might just win. Their cosy life depends so much on maintaining the status quo that they suddenly woke up and saw what was going on north of the border!

I tend to think if I was Scottish I’d be voting Yes on Thursday. I feel empathy with the Scots and how they have long been ignored by the London centric Governments and businesses. I’m from the North east originally and have obviously just returned there after 30 years down south. The reason I’d moved away in the first place was because the north of the country has been ignored for the best part of my life time (and longer if you think about it) As you head north up the A1 the road starts to narrow the further you get north, it’s clear that the investment lies in the south. I would probably have moved away after university anyway but had the opportunities been available in the north I may have returned a lot sooner. As it was I missed out on so much time with my family who were all gone by the time I came back. Ironically it was the same reason I returned – money! I wanted to come back to live an easier life instead of living in the south where my money just went on paying the mortgage, bills and getting to work – but I digress.

The No campaign has shocked me over the past few weeks. They say that patriotism is the last refuge but they No campaign in my mind, just like some of the people in the demo on Saturday, has started to look like BNP propaganda relying heavily on the we are a great nation, who won the war etc etc. The Sunday Telegraph headline today made me feel physically sick – it was all about how Scots had fought and died for the UK and how the yes voters would dishonour their memory. I’m sure the people who went and fought in the wars would be just as shocked to find out how the inequalities that they thought had gone for good are now back and worse than ever and it’s not the average Scotsman who is sitting on the revenues from the North Sea!

So I’d vote yes – my father always said I had a problem with the establishment and he was right. I won’t doff my cap to anyone. When we told people we were planning to move to the North East they all looked at us as if we were mad. When we said it out loud it sounded mad. But we knew in our hearts and in our heads that it was the right thing to do – it may yet go horribly wrong but if you want something bad enough you’ve got to go for it and damn the consequences. It will work if you make it work. It might take 10 years or even longer but if you don’t do it you’ll forever be thinking what if…..So Scotland vote Yes for all of us!

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