Last week I wrote a blog about the advantages for people from Scotland to remain in the Union, you can find it here.
Polls in Scotland open for the referendum vote in under 24 hours. If you follow me on twitter you will have quickly realised that this is something I feel very passionate about and I wanted to write a final blog post on the importance for us all in Scotland remaining in the Union.
In 48hours we will know the result, it will be one, which will either allow Scotland to have significant amount of home rule, whilst also remaining a part of a wider Union of nations and the combined voice that that gives. Or it will be one where Scotland will separate from the Union to go it alone and the uncertainty that will bring.
Regardless of the result the one certainty is that things will never quite be the same again. This referendum has done one thing and that is divide a nation. All polls are putting it as too close to call with the nation all but split down the centre.
It worries me that there have been a number of reports of intimidation of voters. I have also seen this in a small way with people sending me some rather rude and aggressive tweets, messages etc in response to some of the things I have been saying around the need for Scotland to vote to remain in the Union. Debate is good, healthy debate is one of the corner stones a strong democracy. But, in any good debate there must be mutual respect and I feel that is some instances over the last few days this has been lost and it not good to see. Lets hope in the last 24hours calmer heads prevail.
However, I do understand why people are getting so passionate. In a number of cases the vote has been pitched as a patriotic vote. ‘You are not a true Scot if you vote no’ was one tweet I saw recently. This is just plain wrong. I actually feel that patriotism is a very important thing, it provides us with a degree of identity, a common sense of a belonging, but you can be patriotic Scottish and still be within the Union, actually I think this adds to it. Just as you can be patriotic Welsh, Northern Irish, English and even Yorkshire (my mum is form Yorkshire!) and still be a part of the Union.
I have been lucky enough to do a degree of traveling in the different roles I do and I can honestly say that of the places I have been to the UK it unique. We are arguably the most diverse nation in the world; we are a Union of nations, a Union of cultures, a Union of religions. As a Union this is it what makes us different, it is what makes us strong and it what gives us such a truly global viewpoint.
We are a Union that is full of people from all colours, creeds and cultures. Scotland is a key part of this and we will all be worse off, both north and south of the border, if Scotland decides to separate and leaves the Union.
My message to undecided voters is this:
Over 80% of people in England, Wales and Northern Ireland want you to remain in the Union, you would be financially better off being in the Union, Holyrood will receive further powers if you remain in the Union, The decision you make is not one for a parliamentary term, a vote for separation is one that will have impact for the next 100+yrs.
You can be patriotic Scottish and vote to remain in the Union. I actually feel you are a patriotic Scot if you vote tomorrow to stay in the Union, as you are safe guarding a strong, stable future for you and for your nation for generations to come.
The destiny of the UK is not of my choosing tomorrow, it is yours. A vote tomorrow could fundamentally change the country in which we all live and could end a Union that is world beating. Over the last 300+ years we have met all challenges that have been put before us and we achieved so much together. Just imagine what we could do together in the future.
Please don’t leave us. Vote to remain in the Union. Be proud, be Scottish, vote no.