What’s it all about?
- Scotland will vote on leaving or staying in the UK on 18 September 2014
- We in England can’t vote but we are bound to have thoughts and feelings about the issues
- Let’s have a national conversation in England about the issues
- Get informed and get involved
There will be a referendum in Scotland on 18 September 2014 when the people of Scotland will decide whether or not Scotland will become an independent country. For some time now, the referendum has been right at the top of the Scottish political agenda. Scots have been getting up to speed with the political issues and the views on both sides of the debate. There has been a real national conversation in Scotland on its future.
What it means to us in England
In England, the referendum debate affects us less directly. It’s important as we’ll still be neighbours with Scotland and we will have a lot to do with each other whatever happens. But, so far, it has been one of many political stories competing for our attention. But it’s not long to go until the vote and the latest polls show that it is likely to be close.
More and more English people are waking up to the prospect that Scotland might vote to leave the UK. We’re realising that the times are a-changing in Scotland. Many of us have opinions and feelings on the issue, even though we don’t have a vote. Many of us feel British as well as English and the prospect of a UK without Scotland has implications for the British identity.
Response to the “Let’s Stay Together” campaign
Some English celebrities including Eddie Izzard, Tony Robinson and Ross Kemp, have got stuck in to the debate already and have recently featured in videos making heartfelt pleas to Scotland to “stay with us”. (See https://www.letsstaytogether.org.uk/)
I believe that they jumped the gun by talking to the people of Scotland so soon. They obviously had strong feelings and I don’t knock that – we’re all entitled to express our feelings appropriately. But the celebrity contributions were not informative and many Scots considered them to be emotional blackmail. To me, that’s not a good start to a conversation between nations.
A national conversation in England
Before we start talking to the people of Scotland, I believe that we first need our own national conversation in England. We need to get informed about the issues and talk to each other about them.
I believe that it would be good for us in England to talk to each other about:
- What it means to us to be English
- What it means to us to be British
- How do we feel about Scotland?
- How do the peoples of England and Scotland see things differently?
- How might the outcome of the referendum change how we feel about our national identity?
- What are our hopes and fears if Scotland votes to become independent, or to stay in the UK?
There are lots of other things we can talk about. These are just examples.
Getting involved in the conversation
Please share what you think and feel about the issues that Scottish independence raises for you, by leaving a comment on this site. There are no right or wrong answers. Please tell us what you want – about you, and about your experiences of Scotland and the Scots. Tell us what you get and what you don’t get about the independence debate. Tell us what you think about some of the questions I have listed above. Tell us if you just feel bewildered by the whole thing. You can be as deep or shallow, wordy or brief, as you like. There will be no judgment.
I believe we need a dialogue more than a debate. This forum is a place for people in England (no matter your origins) to share views and give encouraging feedback to each other. It’s not a place to challenge each other’s’ opinions. And it’s not a forum to debate with people in Scotland. Contributions will be moderated and abusive or offensive material won’t be published.
Wales and Northern Ireland
I’ve deliberately not included Wales and Northern Ireland. This is nothing personal. I am English and I live in England. I want a national conversation for the people of England. I am sure that the peoples of Wales and Northern Ireland have much of value to add on these issues and I am interested in their perspectives. But it is for them to express their thoughts however they choose.
1. Getting informed. We need to get up to date with the issues in the independence debate by reading about them. They are easily available. I will be posting soon an information page with links to useful websites.
2. Improving this site. When I have the time, I’ll try to work out how to improve this site in terms of presentation and impact.
3. Bio. I’ll put a bio on soon, with the idea of kick-starting the conversation.
And finally …
This is a new venture, done in my spare time. I’ve no idea if it will take off or not, or how it will develop. Your feedback on the concept, content and presentation will be most appreciated.
Thank you for reading and I hope you will take part.