It's been fascinating watching them get to this point. I've paid close attention to Scotland ever since my grandmother's Scottish relatives claimed little toddler me as one of their own, and in recent years have visited regularly, but I've spent the most time there over the past year and half that Jody and I've been together.
When we first discussed the independence referendum early on, Jody joked that it was my job to figure out how he should vote. Since then, he's gone from someone who was disillusioned with politics to a registered member of a party and an active Yes campaigner. Which is about how the rest of the country has progressed as well. Last year, when the subject came up, everyone was undecided, taking the wait-and-see approach. As we got a few months closer, the most common sentiment I heard around Edinburgh was a lack of trust in the information coming out of both parties: "I wish someone impartial would give us the real story." People just wanted to know what would happen in the event of yes or no, and they didn't think anyone was telling them.
|Jody's campaign efforts - photo from @YesScotBorders on Twitter|
When the headlines said the Royal Bank of Scotland was leaving if independence went through, I learned on Twitter that actually only an address on some paperwork would change. When the big heads came out of Westminster and offered more powers for Scotland, the internet pointed out there was nothing specific on the table and found the posts of MPs vowing to block any new powers anyway. While the news is pushing people to No, Pub conversations are converting people to Yes.
But either way, big media or grassroots, something's working. It has been reported that 97% of those eligible are registered to vote in the referendum, and the turnout is expected to be over 80%. Eighty percent of the population showing up to tick a box next to Yes or No. Whatever the outcome, people are engaged. People are talking about their country, about how things can and should be. And that can only be good for Scotland.
I decided some time ago that I'm all for Independence. If I could, I'd be voting yes. There are so many good reasons to vote yes, but to my mind, the only reasons for voting no are sentimentality, fear, lack of awareness, or being wealthy enough that the Tories' shenanigans actually benefit you. I can forgive the first and last reasons; if you really feel -- heart over head -- that you need to be a citizen of the United Kingdom, or you're driven by your vast finances, then fine. I don't agree with you, I think it's a selfish way to vote, but I can forgive it. The other two have no excuse. If you're voting no out of fear, or because you haven't gone out to investigate the issues for yourself, you're playing right into the hands of the No campaign. Like Republicans and their Fox News here in the States, they want to keep people afraid of their own shadow, because that makes them easy to manipulate with misinformation. Voting no for those reasons means you're willing to keep being controlled and shat on when you could have better.
I don't get a vote. I'm not a citizen. I don't live in Edinburgh. Yet. But the Scottish people are deciding my future tomorrow too. Because Scotland is my part-time home, where the man I'll marry lives, where I'd be living full time now if at all possible. So I'm counting on 5 million people I don't know to make the right choice on my behalf.