2014 is a date with a destiny still to be decided for Scotland and for the UK. Actually, it will be good to get it over and done with – whichever way it goes.
It is already tedious and we have over eight months to run. It has not been an enabling or enlightening debate as much as a mix of whingefest, fearfest and bullyfest. While some whinges are always justified and some fears are always well found, bullying is always to be abhorred, whatever its source.
One thing is certain. After 18th September this year, nothing can remain as it is.
Scotland may vote to become independent and the costs of that will be borne by Scotland herself and, differently, by the continuing United Kingdom. Both sides will separately have to redefine, reidentify, refocus and reorganise themselves.
Scotland may vote to stay in the union – but the pressure of discontent manifest in Scotland and in Wales, from the recent address to the Welsh Assembly of its First Minister, Carwyn Jones – will force overdue change in how the union manages itself.
That change will have to find its shape quickly and it will have to be a shape fit for purpose for a long haul, if the UK is to become a newly galvanised force in the world.
For 2014, our wish is first that all those eligible to vote on 18th September do so. Voting under universal suffrage is a precious right, bought in blood. Whatever way anyone chooses to vote, there should be no choice to be made in whether or not to cast that vote.
Everyone, whatever way they choose to vote, should see themselves as the ‘+1′ in the ’50% + 1′ that is all it will take to confirm a result. Every vote absolutely matters.
Second, we wish for wisdom in all those who vote. That wisdom may not be a shared wisdom for, as Jim Mather, the respected former MSP for Argyll and Bute, used to impress upon For Argyll, there are multiple realities. So each vote should be cast in what its owner sees as a wise and considered position.
This is the most serious decision ever to confront Scotland. All we wish is that it is not frivolously or automatically made but results from open-minded, private, personal consideration, ranging across the issues concerned.
Last, we wish for the wisdom of all concerned in any way with this coming vote and with its outcomes, to accept the result and not to work to undermine it, whatever it is.
When people are asked to decide and vote on an issue with as grave an impact for the future as this decision will have upon those directly concerned and, equally, upon those who will have no vote on it, unequivocal respect must be paid to the seriousness lying behind whatever the collective will turns out to be.
There is and there can be no opportunity to reverse whatever decision is the majority will of the electorate in this matter – whether any of us like it or not. That’s democracy.
When we each cast our votes, we must do so knowing that there is no way back from the final decision of the majority, whatever it is.