With less than a week until the referendum and the will of the Scottish people shifting in our favour, Scotland’s greatest opportunity is nearly within our grasp. It is now more important than ever that we remain committed to our cause and the fulfilment of our ideals. This means that we must endeavour to maintain the passion our campaign has displayed over the previous months. Furthermore, we must continue to awaken others to the potential of an independent Scotland and to all the possibilities it will provide the people of Scotland.
On the 18th of September we all have the chance to become a part of history, to participate in one of the greatest changes in modern history. We will bear witness to the end of an era and the rebirth of Scotland. However, despite the polls placing Yes in the lead and Better Together scrambling to regain lost ground we must not rest on our laurels. It is essential that our message be carried to all those who yearn for the chance of a better future. The members of our society who have been isolated and disenfranchised by our political system will finally be presented with a chance to enact real change. The implications of this cannot be overstated. Independence affords us the opportunity to reinvigorate a political system which has grown stagnant and disconnected from the people of Scotland. Voting Yes will revive democracy in our country and send a surge of energy through the rest of the UK. The referendum has the chance to reincorporate those who have been abandoned by our political system and incite greater political participation. However, it is the responsibility of those who are devoted to building a new Scotland to demonstrate the potential within our country. It falls to us to ensure that we are given the chance to achieve our potential and give hope to those who have lost faith in a political system plagued by apathy and indifference.
Our opponents have adopted the stance, “better the devil you know than the devil you don’t”. This strategy is intended to prey upon the fears and uncertainties of the electorate. Their message is that a No vote will provide security and certainty for the people of Scotland. That remaining as part of the UK is the safe option, while independence poses a risk to the stability of the country. However, the only certainty a No vote can guarantee is of the continued, steady, painful decline of our society, which we have witnessed for so many years and are so desperate to escape. The No campaign assures us it is better to remain on the sinking ship than risk the uncertainty of the lifeboats. This has led many to believe that leaving the UK will place their future in jeopardy and that independence will only provoke political and economic peril. We must instil within them the hope and promise which has driven this campaign from the very beginning and remind them of the abundant skills and ingenuity within our small population. They must be shown that their lives need not be governed by fear and that our vision for a better Scotland is truly possible. The true nature of the No campaign must be exposed to them, that its message is based upon manipulation and intimidation. We cannot guarantee that independence will rectify all of our woes and we cannot deny that there are risks. What we can guarantee is that our situation cannot improve as part of the UK and that a No vote will condemn our country to further deterioration and despair. We cannot allow the greatest opportunity for change to pass us by out of fear manufactured by those who wish to deny us a better future.
Scotland may be a small nation, but it is one with grand dreams. We are a nation which has lead the world in engineering, medicine, philosophy, economics, art, culture, law, politics and will do so again as an independent Scotland. We are a nation dedicated to the growth, betterment and care of its citizens and we will further those investments in our population as an independent Scotland. We are a nation which welcomes the world with open arms, embracing the peoples of the world into our diverse and dynamic society and shall continue to do so as an independent Scotland. We will be a nation with a loud, remarkable voice. A voice which will not be drowned out by those claiming to represent us. This voice will speak for the people of Scotland and bring our message to the peoples of the world.
This will be our voice, but we must fight for our right to be heard. We must be ready to overcome our fears and enter the unknown. In the words of André Gide:
“Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.”
Photo: Robb Mcrae / Documenting Yes