Dear Voters of Scotland
I am writing to you about your upcoming independence vote. I cannot help but feel that as an English-British person I am not allowed an opinion on the matter, which bothers me. Voicing solidarity with either the Better Together or the Lets Stay Together campaign has clearly become a frowned upon thing to do from south of the Scottish border. If you have a Scottish friend around for dinner in England you will no doubt find the topic the elephant in the room; nobody wants to broach the subject for fear of retribution.
I mean, blatantly it is not our fight; we haven’t the right to vote therefore haven’t the right to comment.
Except, not speaking about the subject at all seems to me to be counter productive. It is like saying we don’t really care what the outcome is because it isn’t our business. This sort of attitude is clearly the British way about things; keep your opinion to yourself in a high-brow manner then express regret after-the-fact. However, in this instance that just will not be good enough, because by that point it will be too late. The ship will have sailed. Hence I am writing to you; I want to know that I have done my bit, expressed how much I care, and shown how invested I am in your decision.
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did.
I reckon that this quote sums up why people want to vote for independence – the what if mentality. They want to know what may happen if they vote yes; they already know what will happen if they vote no. The romantic allure of an independent Scotland will always be there on the horizon – beckoning them to come over and find out what awaits. This is all completely understandable. I am a massive advocate of seizing the moment – grabbing opportunities when they arrive without looking back – myself so I can hardly criticise. I won’t criticise. That kind of risk assessment is a personal part of the decision, and is purely on the onus of the Scottish people. All I wish to do is express why I want Scotland to remain part of us, part of Britain.
I guess that a small part of my feelings on the possible separation come from a sense of entitlement; the beauty that is Scotland is currently mine, though I may not live there. It belongs in my Britain. The thought of that suddenly being mine no longer gives me a flash of possibly unjustified emotions; dread, loss and apprehension.
I actually went to Edinburgh recently for the first time and tried to breathe in a sense of the city. I tried to appreciate its beauty; thus sear the feeling of it in my memory. After all, I may not visit Scotland as a place that is inherently British again in my lifetime. What I saw there was beauty and culture, excitement with history, youth yet elegance, pride but friendliness; all in all, a fabulous city that I didn’t want to leave.
I have travelled a lot – to five continents actually. I know what home feels like. Edinburgh did pose as a different country in some ways. Nevertheless, it definitely felt like home.
If Scotland leaves us it will be a crying shame, but it will have been their choice. I just hope that they bear in mind how much we love them, and that we will support them whatever happens. It may not be our business but as a close friend there is no harm in expressing our love; like having a friend who is thinking of moving to the other side of the world, we will express our wish for them not to go, but our understanding if they have to.
As the kind of best friend whose life is entwined with yours, as family even, I feel unabashed about saying I do not want you to go. It is perfectly alright to say those things to a truly close friend without fear; to say that, in my not-so-notable opinion, I believe that you will be making a mistake if you go. I do not believe Alex Salmond’s insistence that the grass will be greener on the other side. What’s more, I will sorely miss you, and I will feel like you’ve taken away something that is partly mine, which is probably the wrong thing to say, but it is my honest belief.
Thank you ever so much for reading this, and I wish you all the very best for the future; whatever it may hold. Having written this I will be here watching and waiting, keeping my fingers crossed; hoping that we will still be fellow nationals come September.