Scottish historian Neil Oliver has written an open letter to the people of Scotland, setting out his position on the Independence Referendum. I’m publishing extracts from it here as it expresses similar feelings to my my own.

Neil Oliver’s open letter to the Scottish people:

“I will lay my cards on the table from the start: I will be voting No.

I have no economic argument to make. Frankly, I am sick and tired of hearing people argue the toss about the pound, pensions and the rest. I am voting No because for me, the offering by the Yes camp lacks nobility and humanity.

Having spent years working on the television series Coast, I think it’s fair to say I’ve seen as much of this United Kingdom of ours as anyone else living here. It’s a project that has changed my life in several ways. It has certainly caused me to fall in love with the place – the whole place. Circumnavigate these islands as I have, as often as I have, and one thing above all becomes clear: the national boundaries within are invisible and therefore meaningless.

People living in a fishing town in Cornwall have more in common with the inhabitants of a fishing town in Fife than either population has with the folk of a town in the Midlands. They have a shared experience and a common history of coping with lives shaped by the sea. The coast is another country – the fifth country – and it unites us and binds us like the hem of a garment.

The differences that are discernible as you travel around Britain are regional ones – made of accents and architecture, geology and geography. I am all in favour of people having the power to make decisions about their own patch: but I am utterly opposed to the idea of breaking centuries old bonds in order to make that happen.”

Other posts you might like:

The Scottish Referendum. Words for thought (2): “solidarity”

The Scottish Referendum: words for thought (1): “cleave”

For words to even better effect – just add music 

 by Marian Dougan


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