I am Scottish, born and bred, with countless generations of Scottish ancestors going back to Eve and MacAdam. My wife is Scottish, my children are Scottish, I work in Scotland and I write books about Scotland for Scottish publishers. All these are facts.
At present this small country of ours is locked in an increasingly bitter dabate about independence. Should Scotland break free from the United Kingdom of Great Britain and be an independent country again – as she was from 843 AD until 1707, or should Scotland continue to be part of the Union that has lasted for 307 years. There are arguments on both sides, both emotive and economic, with facts and fictions thrown about like tartan confetti by various politicians.
I am not going to advise anybody which way to vote: I am certainly no politician. What I will say is this: we live in a democracy, with the power to make this decision via the ballot box. Nobody is forcing us to choose at the point of a gun. Yes there are economic threats put out by one camp, and economic promises by the other, but there are no armed soldiers or even armed police on the streets here and please God there never will be.
The people of this nation – Scotland – and of the nation to the south of us – England – fought and struggled for centuries to achieve the right to vote. Democracy did not come easy; it came at a high price of bloodshed, imprisonment, state sponsored violence against the people and many hard decisions. It is freedom; it is something more important than where politicians live or what lies they tell.
Democracy is a very precious gift. A fundamental right.
So whoever wins the referendum, let us all remember that the next day the people have decided. Let us accept the outcome and move on in peace, having shown we are a mature people who deserve democracy and can accept the outcome, whether or not our side has won.