Should Scotland be an independent country?
Why is such a simple question so difficult to answer?
It might be something to do with the ‘Yes’ campaign wanting you to take their hand and go on a journey with them through the back of a dark wardrobe into a land where everything is beautiful and nothing could possibly go wrong. Or the ‘No’ campaign wanting you to stay in the boring old room because it’s scary in the dark wardrobe.
It’s not surprising people’s views on Scottish independence are so strikingly positive and negative. The choice we have been given; ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ is too.
But it doesn’t matter what the politicians say (it’s impossible to know if they are telling the truth anyway). This is too big a decision for any one person or one party to convince you one hundred percent. There are too many ‘what if?s’. Too many ways to predict the future (or interpret the past). It is going to boil down to 4.3m very personal decisions.
Here’s is my analogy of the decision we are being asked to make and probably the reason why I am finding it so difficult:
I used to work for one of the largest advertising agency networks in the world. I now work for myself.
I used to have a boss, who told me what to do. I used to have large multi-national clients, some of which I didn’t necessarily like what they produced. I used to be a small cog in a big machine, being asked to do things in a way I didn’t always think was the best way. I used to have large budgets to play with, that allowed my to travel the world shooting TV commercials in exotic locations. I used to have a regular salary. I used to still get paid when I was sick, or on holiday. I used to have pension scheme, which my employer contributed to. I used to go to fantastic staff Christmas parties, where I would dance with Cinderella – the girl from accounts.
Now, I am the boss and no one tells me what to do. Now, I choose my clients and only work with people I like and people I think are doing something worthwhile. Now, I am making all the strategic decisions as well as the creative ones. Now, I am having to work magic with tiny budgets. Now, some months have a great month and earn loads of money and other months don’t earn enough to pay the bills. Now, I have every intention to start paying into my pension again (well, maybe next month). Now, I work late almost every night. Now, I take the laptop on holiday with me. Now, I close the laptop and pick up the kids from school without having to ask anyone if it is OK. Now, I can work from home in my dressing gown, in a cafe, at the beach, or even just decide not to work at all one day.
As you can see, both sides have their good points and both have their bad points. It’s not as simple as ‘Yes’ or ‘No’. But that is what we have a choice of.
Both Yes Scotland and Better Together can be right and both can be wrong. Can we, at least for the next couple of days, agree on that and respect each other? And can we also agree, after the referendum, to respect the “will of the Scottish people” and do our best for the Scotland?
I better go now, I have a decision to make!