I'm a Scot

I'm a Scot

Young Post sub-editor Lucy Christie is in Scotland ahead of its momentous vote tomorrow. She shares her views on the nation's biggest decision in 300 years

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Yes supporters gather in George Square in Glasgow, Scotland days before the historic vote.
Yes supporters gather in George Square in Glasgow, Scotland days before the historic vote.
Photo: Reuters

Tomorrow, voters in Scotland will make the momentous decision as to whether Scotland should be an independent country. 

I see myself as Scottish. When people ask where I'm from, I say Scotland. I don't say I'm from the UK, and I don't say I'm British. We have a very different identity to our neighbours from down south. From mannerisms and culture to history and political views, I already feel like we are an independent country in many ways. 

While I don't consider myself as British first and foremost, I find it frustrating that so many think the reason people are voting yes is because of an identity crisis. The Guardian has said that, "Nationalism is not the answer to social injustice". No, it's not. But it's unfair to say that patriotic Scots are nationalists. It's particularly patronising that Scotland is being portrayed as voting with our hearts and not our heads. After the recent controversy regarding the BBC's bias on referendum coverage, the notion of the media questioning voters' ability to objectively assess facts is laughable. 

This is by no means a debate about identity, but it does highlight the point that Scotland has a distinct, defined personality within the UK, and that personality has strong preferences. While Scotland is keen to keep healthcare costs down, England is looking to privatise the NHS. Scotland considers free education to be a key feature of our society, while England is continually increasing university tuition fees. These are just two of the fundamental points on which Scotland and England have starkly contrasting views. These are not matters of the "heart"; these are tangible social issues which Scotland has little control over in the current system.

Months ago, Prime Minister David Cameron fought to keep a third option off of the ballot form, which was to allow Scotland to remain part of the union but with enhanced powers. The leaders of the three main parties at Westminster pledging just 36 hours before the vote that they will transfer more powers to Scotland if it rejects independence does not inspire me with confidence. If anything, it suggests that they didn't take the yes campaign seriously enough to begin with, and didn't really think they would have to deal with the now very real possibility of an independent Scotland. The fact that the three leaders can't actually agree what further powers they are offering only confirms my belief that this is a last ditch attempt to sway nervous, undecided voters who want change but don't want to commit to independence. Ironically, this tactic seems to be having the opposite effect, and is actually strengthening the Yes campaign.

In my lifetime, I have never seen Scotland so engaged or passionate about politics. For me, that's the best part about the whole process. Young people and old people alike are taking an active interest in politics, learning to listen to opposing arguments and participating in meaningful debates. Media reports say that 97% of Scotland is expected to vote, and Facebook has had 10 million posts about the referendum in just five weeks. It's exhilarating to see that each and every person is so keen to make an impact on Scotland's future.

We are making a life-changing decision without all the facts. A vote for independence is a huge risk, yes. But it's also a massive opportunity. Whatever the outcome, I'm sure there will be a lot of what-ifs from both sides of the campaign. My only hope is that we don't regret the choice we make, because there's no going back.

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