With only 11 days to go before Scotland decides whether it will break away from the United Kingdom (which currently includes: England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland), the debates amongst friends and families in the UK is heating up!
On the 18th September, all UK, European Union and Commonwealth nationals living in Scotland (aged 16+) will cast their vote on whether Scotland should be an independent country – a big decision for everyone involved!
To get a flavour of what people are thinking beyond the reported political polls, debates and ads, I thought it only fair to share three viewpoints (for independence, for staying together and undecided) of my Scottish and British friends who will be voting this month. In the three weeks leading up to the vote, I’ll be sharing a view from each stance (yes, no and undecided). It’s week two of this blog series and my Scottish friend Brenda Hepburn is sharing her vote with us. Thanks Brenda!
Brenda Hepburn from Edinburgh:
“Last Saturday I got a text from my best friend, ‘I think I’ve decided, YES…….. Until tomorrow that is ;-).’ I chuckled. Not that we were making light of such a decision but because I am in the same position. We both have partners who are and have always been a definite YES.
Naively, when the referendum first hit the headlines, I thought I would just look through the information in the last month and make my decision. I had a gut feeling but I didn’t want to vote from the heart. I wanted to make an informed choice. Simple?
It all started six months ago, in a nice Italian restaurant, bottle of wine and a few cocktails with four best friends. Two of us were on the fence, the other two were very much a NO. We debated, deliberated and argued. I found myself defending a YES vote (my heart’s decision) but at the same time appreciating and realising the concerns of my friends. We concluded and respected each other’s views, saluted our cocktails and went onto the next topic.
However, I decided I should start looking at it more seriously. I’m not a politics person. I’m not much of a risk taker and, admittedly, I can be a pessimist so possibly the easiest person to convince from Better Together point of view. It was around the time that Standard Life (a large saving and investment company with headquarters in Scotland) said they would pull out of Scotland if there was Independence. Yet, a large company like Aviva said it’s not an issue for them. I understand it will be more complex and challenging but surely large businesses can work round it. We’re not the first small country going independent and won’t be the last. I realise why it is worrying for small businesses. I’m in that situation myself. My husband might not think it’s a concern for our new business but I do.
Sometimes I wonder why it would be so hard? We can be a country that can make alliances, continue to export/import and surely, we can work with the rest of the UK in a democratic way which benefits all economically? Passports needed to cross the border? So what? The Pound? Well, I want to keep it so do I vote NO just for that? I even watched the latest debate between Alistair Darling (Leader of the Better Together campaign) and Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond from start to finish. I never do that!
Postal votes are out and the pressure is on. I keep looking at mine. My session at the gym on Tuesday was interesting. My trainer is a NO vote. Made the workout go fast though. Came home to a leaflet titled ’10 Key Facts that Prove Scotland will be a Wealthy Independent Country’ stuck on the fridge by my husband. Read the comments from a heated debate on Facebook with friends. More leaflets through the door. Someone said to me, ‘If you’re indecisive you should vote NO because you should be clear and it would be taking a risk.’ I’ve already said I’m not a risk taker but even I’m not going to base my vote on that theory.
I’m glad to say I have decided to vote YES and I’m confident that my decision has been based on weighing up the pros and cons. I might have taken a bit longer than many people but it’s done and I’m not changing my mind this time.”
What are your thoughts? Do you agree with Brenda? If you are undecided, has her view helped you make a decision? Would love to hear your thoughts!
Don’t forget to tune in next Monday for my English friend Emily’s post on why she is still undecided. Until then xx