Scottish independence: nationalists and unionists need to stop acting like football supporters – Helen Martin

Both sides in the Scottish independence debate need to find a way to talk to each other (Picture: Andy Buchanan/AFP via Getty Images)Both sides in the Scottish independence debate need to find a way to talk to each other (Picture: Andy Buchanan/AFP via Getty Images)
Both sides in the Scottish independence debate need to find a way to talk to each other (Picture: Andy Buchanan/AFP via Getty Images)
The poll showing 58 per cent would vote for independence surprisingly was a bit of a shock to the rest of the UK.

At five o’clock in the afternoon on Wednesday, Cathy Newman was promoting C4’s 7pm news with a lead on Scotland’s potential independence. We decided to watch it for the whole hour, but it seems the story had been edited out. It had been the lead on STV.

So, it doesn’t seem to be major news for the UK. But what is really interesting is the responses from Scottish residents who belong to the 42 per cent who want to stay in the UK. Several sent their opinions to the Evening News, which I wouldn’t criticise. In fact, it’s helpful to understand how differently for and against voters assess the situation.

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One major view refers to indy voters’ strong desire to stay in, or rejoin the EU, as the majority of Scots voted against Brexit.

The unionist comments seem to state there is no “independence” by being part of the EU which lords over everyone. Obviously, EU membership is seen by the 58 per cent as a club for independent countries, each of whom have their own governments and take part in establishing EU policies, rather than signing up to a ruling empire. And indeed, those voting for indy feel strongly that Westminster “lords” over Scotland as a “colony”.

Another believed that independence would take us out of the markets and trade that England or the UK has, because we now have “very little trade with Europe”.

Scottish businesses would relocate to England and take their Scottish employees with them. All that’s interesting with recent stories that many from England are moving to Scotland, many major companies are moving out of the UK and into EU territory, and the UK Government is refusing to comply with the basic principles permitting EU trade deals.

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Some even loathe independence and support the Union, just because they have relatives in England.

The conclusion is that both sides, Yes and No, are not working on the same facts or evidence. It’s like they are both reading completely different books and trying to guess a joint ending.

I admit I want independence. But it would be great if all sides could constructively discuss, share information, establish which bits are true and which are false, and explain to each other which proven facts influence them to vote one way or the other. Then decide. That would be an idealist, intelligent, dream-like method of informed democracy.

Instead, many folk made a decision to start with and are sticking with it. They only read the newspapers and watch the TV programmes that support their goal. It’s a bit like fiercely opposing football teams – no matter what happens or how players perform, they want their side to win.

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As an independence supporter, it’s wonderful to me that some people have changed their minds and the polls are rising. I imagine a lot of that is down to the appalling result of Brexit.

But I’d like the independence support to be even higher so that the majority of the country is working together, and accepting rUK as a friendly neighbour. That, I’m sure anti-independents don’t realise, really is the independence aim.

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