Morning of election day and I’ve just had good first impressions of YouScotland a new site trying to create an interest and relevance for politics in young people.
I have a nightmare, and I could see it happening whether Scotland becomes independent or even stays in the union but claims more power for Holyrood. My nightmare begins in Bosnia and the other states of former Yugoslavia where what struck me was how ‘normal’ relations were between the different ethnic groups before the conflict began, and how they turned on a knife-edge into civil war, hatred and the most appalling cruelties. It didn’t take much at all. But if you’d asked them five years before they probably wouldn’t even have known or cared whether the people in the next street were Moslems or Serbs or whatever.
Back to here: a Scottish government, or the Scottish parliament, accedes to the popular demand to get rid of Trident, but the all-British campaign for the same goal fails and Westminster goes ahead to renew it. Scotland says to London ‘We’re not having this here any more.’ London says ‘Yes you are.’ and places more military protection around the base as protests increase and become more forceful. The nightmare continues as a demagogue arises – possibly from the Nationalists, possibly not – painting this as an English occupation of part of Scotland. The thousands of English people living in Scotland, distinguished only by their accents, suddenly feel a chill wind and look to their defences. Pro-Scottish extremists attack them in their homes. And so it goes on …
Friends reassure me that the real level of anti-English feeling in the ordinary Scots population is very low and confined to the arena of football. I hope they’re right. Where does it leave my voting intentions? Still confused. While I am not gut-sympathetic to nationalism in any of its forms, you could argue that a sovereign state would have more right and power to get rid of Trident than a partner in the union. Or that a nationalist victory would simply dry the tinder of ‘them and us’ just waiting for a spark? I hope I’m worrying about nothing.