Fortune Favours The Brave

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Read anything about blogging for work and it’ll tell you not to venture into the murky world of politics for fear of alienating your potential customers. This post totally ignores that advice, and isn’t really anything to do with photography. Hope you’ll excuse me, and appreciate a desire to speak about something that’s become pretty important to me.

I have recently reached the decision that come September 18th I will be voting yes for an independent Scotland.

For the majority of the campaign and supposed debate I was on the fence, even leaning slightly towards a ‘no’ in the early stages.

My heart said ‘probably’ but my head didn’t agree and I couldn’t align the two.

I had (and still have) issues with (factions of) the Yes campaign. That is to say, some of the more vocal elements of my immediate social circle, mostly online but occasionally in person. I saw countless holes in arguments they were dogmatically spouting and worked on the assumption that if these were their strongest arguments, a yes vote can’t be that good an idea.

Secondly, I have never been a huge fan of Mr Salmond. Although he has (in my opinion) done some great things for Scotland during his time as leader of the country, I struggle with the unilateral raison d’être of his party. If the vote is a yes, they’ve achieved their goal, so where are we left?

Most of all, my concern with a yes vote was the inherent uncertainty of a ‘new’ nation. What it would look like and how would it affect me (the question it will boil down to for many people).

I don’t think there was a lightbulb moment for me, more a gradual state of realisation that my fears/concerns weren’t really in keeping with my outlook and philosophy on how best to live my life.

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If I can draw a parallel with my own life, it might explain my swing.

Some years ago I worked an office job in Glasgow. I earned a reasonable wage, worked with some great people, enjoyed the interactions of the office and the security that a guaranteed pay cheque on the 25th of each month offered me. It was ok. I was, however, totally unsatisfied. I wasn’t challenging myself and I wasn’t happy in myself.

I hadn’t studied photography and I didn’t have an overflowing bookings diary. But I felt it was something I was good at, and more importantly, something that I was hugely passionate about. Something I could see myself doing forever, no stop gaps or waiting for someone to throw me a line.

So, after much inner turmoil I handed in my notice, with a friends words ‘fortune favours the brave’ loud in my ears. It was overwhelmingly terrifying. All I knew was that the future I could create for myself, despite the countless uncertainties, was preferable to a status quo that was leaving me unfulfilled and with unrealised potential.

Now, I am very aware that this is an overly simplistic analogy. But, I’m not trying to sway any opinion here, this is just about how I’ve come to a yes.

There aren’t many certainties about an independent Scotland. But equally, there aren’t many certainties about a continued union. An EU referendum, no knowledge of potential devolved powers. All that’s certain is another identikit PM whose interest in Scotland will be greatly diminished after September 18th, whatever the outcome.

This isn’t a vote for the pound, or the NHS, or oil or renewables. It’s a vote for being king of your own destiny. No flag waving or patriotism. It’s about voting for a society that will continue to be welcoming and forward thinking and voting to ultimately have a real say in who will be governing our country.

Of course there are some things that will need to be ironed out. But, all of history has been a process to get to where we are today. This vote isn’t for an end, it’s for beginning a new path that will of course have obstacles and stumbling blocks. But wouldn’t you like to have a say in how we overcome those hurdles?

I definitely would.


I’d love to hear what you think, agree or disagree, it’s a conversation worth having I think.

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5 thoughts on “Fortune Favours The Brave

  1. A well thought out and reasonable argument here, sir. You have recognised what you see as the shortfalls of the yes campaign and highlight that there will challenges rather than the utopia some would suggest. Despite that you’ve highlighted the personal reasons why you believe voting yes is right for you. I agree with your sentiments. I enjoyed reading this mate. Well played.

    Andrew

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  2. Euan, as always, thoughtful and intelligent point of view. One which I respect. Like you, the things that have switched me off to the YES campaign have been the violently held misconceptions of the Yes faithful. Arguments which cannot stand scrutiny. For me the strongest and only viable argument for a Yes vote is the desire to create a more egalitarian and socialist country.

    Whilst the quote ” may your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears ” is the one that sways me the most. I am not convinced that our political systems in Scotland offer the panacea that is being posited. Our councils and political parties are just as rife with self serving corruption as those down south and the Business leaders who are supporting the yes campaign are doing so with their eyes on becoming the barracudas in the smaller pond of Scottish political life. I am established and comfortable in a United Kingdom and I’m sure that I would be fine in an Independent Scotland.

    My decision will be made on ideological and long held socialist principles, and the quote that comes back to me is ” the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few ” if i want to fight for something its the wellbeing of everyone not the ones lucky enough to live in Scotland.
    It would be a pyrrhic victory indeed to be standing at the border and looking at the people that have been left behind. Leaving them to the suffer whilst we argue amongst ourselves about which vote will make us better off.

    I admire your stance and respect you for the considered position that you have taken. I hope that everyone is as careful with their reasons for voting as you are.

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  3. It is clear that a lot of people who live and work in Scotland have similar concerns, so I like the way you have reasoned it through to your conclusion.
    In my experience, people don’t like change – even if it proves to be beneficial – because of the initial uncertainty that is created. It scares some whilst others thrive on it. So it was very pleasing to see somebody put down in print their thought process to try and assist others with the same dilemma.
    What is at stake in this referendum are two different visions of Scotland’s future, and your comment about being “king of your own destiny” pretty much nails it for me.

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  4. I was reading a few months ago about the abolition of the slaves and slave trading in the UK. Many of the arguments to retain the trade in human beings were the same as those being offered for the remaining in a United Kingdom. I must say that this ” freedom from the corrupt masters ” is a very compelling argument for independence. unfortunately it is my belief that we would only be handing over the keys to a different group of corrupt politicians and Machiavellian business leaders who would use their influence to control the people of Scotland. The control exercised by the boardrooms in the City of London would move to the Morning rooms of Mornigside. Where Anne Gloag and Jim Ratcliffe can flex their corporate muscles. secure in the knowledge that they between them control a significant proportion of The GDP to be unstoppable. Add Ian wood to the equation and they can exert much more power over Scotland than the FTSE 100 could over the UK.

    many of our problems are caused by the gap between the richest and the poorest in our United Kingdom. The disproportionate influence those with money have on the policy makers in a parliament. I would be interested to know if that gap would be better or worse in an Independent Scotland. Would a few super rich people be so influential that what they said would have to go….. If those people would include the religious fundamentalists Anne Gloag and Brian Souttar, who have campaigned against Clause 28 in the past. i don’t see Scotland becoming the progressive nation that we hope for.

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  5. Dude, it’s sooooo deep.. Great debate and how nice to read something about the referendum that isn’t mocking or shouting about the other side.

    I whole heartedly agree with all your points. It’s not about saying bye or get lost, it’s about moving forward and seeing what we can actually do. If you think about it, how old fashioned and out of date is a Union anyway.. We’re big enough and clever enough to go it solo and fix the bumps and creases along the way, well i think so anyway.

    Far too many people, i think, are going for the i don’t know enough about it so I’ll vote ‘No’, that’s insane to me. I mean even just Google it, it’s better than nothing and come to your own conclusion. I wouldn’t tell anyone what to vote, and that’s why i like the blog, it’s about you and your decision, not pressure on anyone else.

    Regardless of the outcome in a month’s time, i do still think we’re very lucky to A – Live in a Union that allows us this choice to vote B – That we live in a country where we can be pretty certain the vote is legit and not fiddled and C – That regardless of the outcome, we are fortunate enough to live in a ‘free’ country where people can be any religion, sex, gay, straight, whatever. It seems that is becoming a far rarer thing than i would ever have imagined.

    Shabba

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