The fence is not an option in the Scottish Independence Referendum.
To exercise your democratic right to vote is to get off your bum and jump down on one side or the other. Yes or No, black or white, the stark choice of the ballot box makes no allowance for the many shades of grey that characterise the majority of thoughtful voters.
I’ll be worried but also more than a little excited if Scotland votes Yes to independence.
I’ll be voting No because I remain unconvinced that the whole thing has been properly thought through. And the consequences of getting it wrong are dire, more dire than leaving things in the sorry state that they are in now.
But it will be beholden on all of us living in Scotland to seize the opportunity if it goes the other way. I’ll be tremendously excited. Hell, I might even go into politics!
I’ll make the most of it, wholeheartedly, if it happens, but I can’t bring myself to vote for it.
I dare say that this attitude will be a red rag to many Yes voters. They will see it as a form of have-your-cake-and-eat it abdication. I’m voting out of Fear rather than Hope.
This Fear/Hope dichotomy is another of those stark choices that have been conjured up by both sides of the campaign. Well, if that heavily loaded representation of the referendum is meant to goad people like me into voting Yes, it will backfire. Even if I were voting No out of fear, I would not be ashamed to do so. I’m not going over the top into no man’s land without a plan when Mr Salmond blows his whistle. Sorry but I’m not.
Regardless of whether your glass is half full or half empty, Hope and Fear are concepts born of uncertainty. They are functions of the unknown. And that is surely the point. There should be a more robust basis for voting Yes than vague Hope.
A momentous decision should not be made on the basis of momentary euphoria.
Voting Yes in the Scottish Independence Referendum should not be about street parties, nor the instant gratification of waving two fingers in David Cameron’s face.
For all the reasons I outlined in Scotland’s Dr Pepper Moment, a Yes vote should be more thoughtfully cast than a No, not less so. A Yes vote is a radical vote. It might be the ticket to a fairer, better society. But it might also lift the lid on Pandora’s can of worms. Look before you leap.
I can see the attraction of the radical option. I am spiritually drawn to it.
But I’m not going to vote for it. It remains, sadly, a leap of faith, which isn’t good enough with the stakes so high.
The burden of rational, objective proof lies with the Yes campaign. Theirs is the case to make. They have to remove reasonable doubt. There has to be a grand plan underpinning the grand idea. Salmond’s Plan B fiasco in the television debate is the most obvious example of the failure to provide one.
My first politically motivated post ever prompted several committed Yes voters to kindly point me in the direction of places to find more detail on how independence might work. But, sadly, the partisan tone of these “resources” undermines their credibility.
10 key facts that prove Scotland will be a wealthy independent country.
“Prove”? I don’t think so. I’m left with that same ill-equipped feeling that made me tend to No in the first place.
The White Paper is not a plan. It is a compendium of ideas and policies. And policies are just promises, political chat-up banter, if there is no maths to back them up.
We need to see your working out, not just your answers.
As the excellent Guardian leader said at the weekend, “The hard evidence is thin,” and “In the end it is a false prospectus.”
I’m not going into the polling booth wearing my Indy Goggles™.
All the self-determination hype has the political effect of too many pints on a Friday night. The referendum equivalent of beer goggles.
This idea approaches you at the bar. Its name is Yes. You think you fancy it and it looks like it wants you, so what the hell? But the idea appears more attractive than it actually is because your vision and your judgement are temporarily impaired. Carried away by the moment you go for it anyway.
Trouble is you won’t be able to kick this idea out of bed in the morning.