I don’t know how to vote in 2014.
I can’t deny that there are certain aspects to an independent Scotland that I find unquestionably appealing. I think Scotland’s culture and creative scenes would no doubt benefit hugely, as can be evidenced by the sheer volume of vocal support from within these industries. Figures such as Alan Bissett, Alasdair Gray, Iain Banks and Mogwai’s Stuart Braithwaite have made no secret of their fierce support for a Yes vote in 2014. What’s more, independence would do away with the bruised, underdog mentality of some Scottish art and literature, enabling us to be proud of our heritage and achievements without constant recourse to perceived wrongs committed by Westminster or England.
Like the vast majority of Scots I also get sick of the London-centric view peddled by much mainstream media. Many aspects of Scottish life and culture go unreported in newspapers and magazines purporting to serve the whole of the UK, while media jobs and opportunities are often only available to those with either a London address or the financial means to support themselves in the capital while working unpaid for long hours. This means the media in Britain is largely dominated by a small elite from the South of England, and so can’t possibly claim to represent Scotland in any meaningful sense.
It is in matters of economy that my uncertainties arise. The currency issue seems unresolved and unclear, while the tangible economic benefits of independence seem shaky and indistinct. As a recent university graduate I worry about the effect a Yes vote might have on my own future, and the future of my friends and family. In the current economic climate it’s unfortunately quite tempting to stick with what you know rather than forge out new paths in uncharted territories. Additionally, while I would like to see a fairer and more equal society, I’m suspicious of any claims that Scotland is inherently more left-wing than England, or that independence would automatically bring such progressive changes about.
Most of all, I think there is a lack of clear information from both sides of the debate. All too often, legitimate political discussion descends into petty mud-slinging and cheap jibes, often at the expense of clear facts and positive arguments. I feel like I don’t know enough to vote intelligently, and what information that does exist is too frequently concealed within staunch ideological positioning. Occasionally I even find the level of debate patronising, with both sides far too casually dismissive of perfectly reasonable concerns raised by the other. The debate needs to change if I am to be convinced. A complicated issue needs a complicated, adult debate; anything less is a disservice to the people of Scotland.