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.
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.