I am Scottish, but being in self-imposed exile in Spain, I don’t get a vote in September’s referendum on Scottish independence. In place of my vote, I would ask to have my say. If I had a vote, it would be a yes. My yes is based on hope. Idealistic thinking is perhaps the clichéd luxury of the ex-patriot, but these hopes of mine are long-standing ones. If there is a time for hope then it is in times of change; those rare moments when ideals and dreams can become a reality. It is now.
These are my hopes:
That an independent Scotland will create new forms of union; unions fit for the 21st century, unions that are not limited by geography, but instead are based on shared ideals of humanity, peacefulness and compassion, be they with our neighbours or with others.
That it will be a country that is outward-looking, not inward-looking. There is a deep misunderstanding that breaking from the United Kingdom is an insular, backwards move, but it is not. I believe that it is about having self-determination and being able to reach out to the wider world as we chose. We are too small a country to be insular; we need global connections and friendships.
I hope that our neighbours will still be our friends.
I hope that an independent Scotland will be a country that is tolerant and fair, that changes and adapts, and is a thing of beauty. A country made up of the many different people who live on its land and in its towns and cities, wherever they may be from, and whatever new ideas they bring to Scotland’s existing cultural heritage.
I hope that it will be country that will not tolerate homophobia, racism, sexism or nuclear arms.
That it will be country that looks forward and produces affordable energy using natural resources, such as wind and wave power.
A country that values education and healthcare, and tries to ensure that everybody has fair and equal access to both.
A country that fosters creativity and values its artists.
And a country that remembers the inventors, scientists, innovators, and thinkers who it has produced in the past and that draws confidence and inspiration from them.
I hope that an independent Scotland will be a country that reflects the will of its people.
If that will is a no to independence, then I will respect that and hope that any fractures, sadness, and disagreement will heal.
I hope that there will be a long term view; this change is for future generations, not only for us.
I hope that Scotland will peacefully take this opportunity for the simple right to control our own affairs, a right that others have had to fight brutal battles for.
Some politicians say that if Scotland becomes independent that there will be many things that we will not be allowed to do, many negative economic ramifications, many political clubs of which will not be allowed to be part. We do not know what an independent Scotland will look like in the world, no-one does, it is unknown territory.
If Scotland votes yes, then it will be up to us to stand up for our future and for our little space in the world. I think that Scotland has the resources, vision and people to do that, and can create, over time, a sustainable and positive future.
At least then if we cock it up, we’ve only got ourselves to blame!