Bring It On
To celebrate International Women’s Day, Women for Independence are holding events and stalls across the country (all details are here). As part of our series celebrating women’s role in Scottish democracy, we’re delighted to have a guest piece by Mary Ann Kennedy (follow her on twitter here @NicUalraig)
So, many of my friends, family and colleagues expect me to be a Yes voter. “You speak Gaelic, all Gaels are going to vote Yes, aren’t they?”. “You’re a musician, you play trad music, of course you’ll vote Yes.” They’re right – I will be voting for an Independent Scotland. But they’re way off beam as well. I will vote Yes, but Gaelic speakers, strangely enough, hold as diverse a range of opinions on Independence as the population of Scotland as a whole. I will vote Yes, but I do actually know some (not many, granted) Unionist folkies who will probably vote differently from me on September 18th.
I choose to vote Yes come the big day, because we have the opportunity to move things on in a positive, optimistically hard-nosed and forward-thinking way to create a future for this country that far outranks the prospects that face us given the status quo.
I’ve been given the ‘why rock the boat’ argument so many times during the run-up to the referendum, oftentimes by voters considerably younger than me. For those youthful debaters, the status quo means ‘no change’, since – for them – the governance that exists seems not to mete out too horrendous an end result. And anyway, think what might happen if we were foolish enough to ‘go it alone’.
These are the kids that have been born and brought up through a ‘status quo’, did they but realise it, as fluid and evolutionary as any time during the Union – a time that gave them Devolution in their toddler years, with the concomitant benefits that accrue to them through to their college lives and beyond, in education, health, and all the parts of our world so far in which we have won a voice. It staggers me that they would think that the lives they lead and the opportunities they have in Scotland today are due to a ‘no change’ situation that has lasted their short lives to date.
As I write this, I am thinking on a picture from the early 70s which sums up my idea of Scotland. I never ever in all my life thought of myself as other than Scottish. But my image of being a Scot is as part of a class photie of Primary 1 sitting in the playground of Pollokshields Primary School on the southside of Glasgow, sun shining, faces beaming. Most of them are like me, bilingual. Just not with the same languages. We were all part of an evolutionary landscape, creating a new generation of Scots and Scottish identity for the time.
Bring on change. Bring on possibility. Bring on an end to scaremongering and spin. Bring on an opening of minds and imaginations. And bring on a fearless, curious, enterprising young generation, realising their vision of Scotland and who will ensure that we never have to thole a ‘status quo’.
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