18th of September, 2014.
That’s the big date here in Scotland. The date of the referendum, the vote on whether or not Scotland should be an independent country, a distinct entity separate from the UK. And of course I want to talk about it here. But I want to contribute, not to blether, so.
If you are based in Scotland, either as a UK national, an EU national or a qualifying member of a Commonwealth country, or if you are an overseas voter registered to vote in Scotland, you will be eligible to have your say in the future of Scotland on this date. This is a quick public service announcement to get yourself registered if you qualify but haven’t done so yet. You have to do so by the 2nd of September. You can vote in person at a polling station, or by postal vote. Don’t lose your say!
I’m sure by now you have heard all manner of debate, from both sides. Facts and figures leveled like cannons. Insults slung and voices raised. You’ve heard panic, doom-saying, scorn. You’ve seen public figures you don’t much care for talk, talk talk. Many of the speakers are men, big yins, happy to take up public space, to further their own fame. I am not here for that.
This here is for the undecideds.
The voters who feel tired.
Those who have felt they aren’t being listened to, that nobody cares.
Those who know which way they are swaying, but still need a moment of peace.
Full disclosure: If you know me, you’ll know I want a yes vote. It’s right there in my Twitter picture. I’m not voting with a particular party. I’m voting for opportunity. For uncertainty. Because the current situation is unpleasant to me. I don’t like war: I don’t like empire. I want an end to both, a country that will be peaceful, humane, free from nuclear weapons, run with the future health of the planet on its mind. I want away from Tory governments. I’m not too keen on a world where people are born to rule. I want the chance at a fairer society. I think we’re a good lot, and in a smaller nation, our voices will be heard more clearly. I know, however, that an independent Scotland is not necessarily going to get all those things that I want. So I understand many voters may balk at risk, at the cults of personality who currently hold sway. You might agree with all these aims above, and still not know how to vote. Because, because. The world is complex. The sea changes every day.
I want, just for you to know that this post is here to say: what you do on polling day is a matter for your own heart.
Here’s permission to still the noise. To centre on your hand, writing your choice on that bit of paper. Here’s a clear, cool circle around you, with no judgments. Only the wish that you take your chance to be heard. Only your decision, and yours alone.
I wish all of you well. On the 18th of September, I’ll be watching the votes come in with my heart in my mouth, just like all of you. Join me on Twitter: @HelenMcClory if you like. Talk with me. Let’s be a part of this, whatever it turns out to be.