Two weeks today we have our independence referendum, and I thought I was well done talking about it, until I read this article that is blowing up at the minute. You can find it on the Guardian website by the same title as this blog post if you’re interested in reading it.
I don’t really even have much to say to this, or to the debate that’s going around at the minute that was “If Scotland was already an independent country we wouldn’t want to join with England.” My issue with the last one is we WERE an independent country and we DID join with England and after that decision we entered the period called the Enlightenment. But, I digress. This is my inner historian getting annoyed at people not knowing their history. It also gets mad when people assume that England conquered us. We gave England James VI. They didn’t come take him by force and say “Your kingdom’s ours now pal. Also be our king too please.”
The ‘self-harm’ comment stems from the debate that if we were independent we wouldn’t join with England. This incredibly flippant remark involving ‘self harm’ makes me really angry for several reasons. One of them being that the author clearly hasn’t experienced what self harm actually is.
Self harm is the willingness to do harm to oneself knowing the pain it will cause. Nobody in the No campaign is voting No because we think it’s going to hurt. Just like I mentioned in my previous post, anyone who has made a firm decision on this referendum is doing it because they think it’s best, yes and no alike. However, to liken a No vote to an act of self harm as the person doing the self harm is most likely mentally unstable is offensive and is a typical representation of what this debate has become. Ugliness, ignorance and insulting.
Many of you who are yes voters and who know me are going to take this as me being offended over nothing purely because self harm is something I’ve personally experienced. And whilst the latter is true, the former is not. I have hideous scars over my legs and my arms and other parts of my body that are a result of self harm. As a mentally sound person I am aware these are my fault and that I put them there and I have to live with the consequences of them being there. Self harm is not carried out by someone of sound mind. In one sentence the author of this article dismisses the entire No campaign as being mentally unsound. And once again, this highlights the ugliness in this debate.
It’s a yes or no decision. It’s a huge yes or no decision but it’s still just that. You will go into your booth in 2 weeks time and you will cross either a box that says “Yes” or a box that says “No”. However come two weeks tomorrow, regardless of the decision, the people who voted opposite to you will still be there. The people you know and love that you exchanged harsh words with over a yes or no decision will still be around. No voters, if it’s a yes vote, we have to live with that and we have to not sulk over it. Yes voters, the same goes to you in the event of a no vote.
This is our Scotland and we’ve made it ugly. And we only have ourselves to blame in that respect.