Why I voted Yes to independence
Tonight a nation exhausted by arguments will hold its breath and await the verdict. For me, after two years of listening to and writing about the independence campaign the decision which way to vote came down to the moment my pencil hovered over the ballot paper. It really was that close. Like the country itself, I was deeply divided. A genuine 50:50 choice. I began to think that the vote being so close it would have been perfectly reasonable to have decided Scotland’s future on the toss of a coin.
And so I voted Yes. This is in spite of myself and the arguments that tell me that the unanswered questions, the uncertainty over the cost of setting up a new nation and the over-optimistic forecasts about what it can achieve remain big reasons for voting no.
What is not in doubt is that the British/Scottish are remarkably resilient, imaginative and creative. They rise to problems and solve them. We are an inventive people. As an independent nation Scotland will have a currency and it will work. We don’t know what it will be, but this is not a banana republic. It is inconceivable that Westminster would somehow conspire to destroy the Scottish economy.
I was always looking out for one reason why it made sense to dismantle a country that works. The UK is one of the most successful and stable nations on earth. But the reasons for voting Yes go deeper for many people than simple economics. There is an underlying sense of injustice and, rather like the motivation for a management buy-out, a belief in being able to do things better yourself than under the wing of a bigger organisation.
My fear is that either a victory or a defeat for the Yes campaign could make things turn ugly. I do not accept that the No campaign was any more negative than Yes. Those voting Yes included many who were anti-Tory and anti-English. You do not get much more negative than hatred. Having said that, the majority have shown themselves remarkably well-informed, curious and intelligent.
Business has been divided but it too will find ways to succeed whatever emerges in the New Scotland. But the fears and warnings around rising costs and relocating headquarters have at times verged on hysterical nonsense. Some companies will make changes, but the panic will not last. If anyone had reason to flee it was during the banking crisis of 2008-09 and no one left.
Companies with cross border operations, particularly those trading in areas of Asia, Africa and Latin America have no reason to fear that an independent Scotland would present insurmountable problems. In the global market place there is always room for one more.
As I cast my vote I felt that for all the weaknesses in the Yes campaign it would be exciting to be part of something new and the Scots love a challenge, never more so than when their backs are against the wall.
And even if the No campaign confirms the polls, the victory will not be one worth celebrating. Half the country being denied their opportunity to break away will build resentment and determination until independence is won. Scotland is on a journey and will one day reach its destination. It might as well be today.