I am someone who wants Scotland to become an independent nation, able to take its place alongside other nations in the EU and UN. I want this because I believe that that the way we are living is unsustainable. We have created a way of life in which fossil fuels are being turned into poisons that contaminate the air, earth and water, leading to environmental deterioration that will greatly restrict the health and well-being of our grandchildren. I believe that an independent Scotland has a chance of making a difference, as a place that can serve as a model for the world of how people can work together to make a better world. That is why I have decided to write a referendum blog.
I have spent much of my life working in universities – teaching, writing, doing research. My field is counselling and psychotherapy. What this means is that I am – hopefully – good at listening to people, and helping them to make sense of what is important for them. People come to see me when they are stuck in their lives, and feel the need to change. I hope that there is something in all this that can make a contribution to the independence debate.
Over the past few months I have been trying to tune in to the debate, to get a sense of way that key issues are being discussed. Like a lot of people, I have been frustrated by the coverage in the mainstream media – radio, TV and newspapers. More meaning can be found in the voices round the edges. For me, Lesley Riddoch’s book, Blossom, goes the heart of the matter. I do not understand why this book has not become a best-seller, why copies are not prominently displayed in all bookshops and why her ideas are not being followed up by others. I have also been following independence blogs, such as Wings over Scotland, Wee Ginger Dug, Bella Caldonia, Derek Bateman, Scotland goes Pop, News Scotland, and Munguin’s Republic. All of this, together, represents the output of maybe 50-100 people. Where are the other voices?
Discussion of the independence issue, across all the media, is dominated by public pronouncements made by political leaders and organisations, for example in response to opinion poll results or economic forecasts. While this is inevitable – it is how politics operates in Britain – it seems to me that it does not leave enough space for exploration of the question of what independence, and the referendum vote, actually means for people. This is what I will be to using this blog to examine.