I am writing from an English British perspective about the debate and referendum on Scottish Independence. Like most of my fellow Englishmen and women, who have expressed an opinion, my initial reaction was something like: “You can be independent if you like – that’s up to you”. We live, after all, in a democracy and while opposing sides have said rude things to and about each other, there has been no rioting in the streets and the troops have not been sent in. All sides have declared their intention to accept the outcome of the vote (I just hope it is not too close. 51% may be a mandate but will hardly inspire confidence).

Much has been argued about the economic and social benefits of independence/staying in the UK. The fact is that after the result it will be confidence that affects business and finance. The short-term investors will likely pull their money out if there is any uncertainty, long-term investors who are wanting to see their business grow and thrive will likely stay in Scotland – regardless of the outcome. The selfish people will still be selfish, the altruistic will continue.

In the end what will  determine the outcome of the vote will not be logical argument based on facts because the facts are presented in such a way to suit one side or the other – even if all the facts could be known. The facts will depend on the outcome, not the other way round. Observing my fellow countrymen from Scotland, both known to me personally and what I have gauged from the media, their vote will depend largely on a a sense of pride: of being Scottish or being British as well. Some want independence because of their sense of national identity and the economic arguments are of secondary importance. Some have assumed that “it will never happen” and like the status quo of being both Scottish and British – they don’t want to become a “foreign country”. (I realise that that label works two ways but I’m talking about impressions here).

As for the English there are a number of reactions. “Where’s our referendum?” is one. Another is indifference on the assumption that it will make little or no difference to the rest of the UK apart from double checking our change for foreign Scottish currency (whatever that may be).

A large group, who have expressed an opinion, say something like this: “We understand why you want to (we didn’t vote Tory either) but we’d rather you stayed.” It feels like a divorce. Even “amicable” divorces hurt. We won’t admit it to you, but we’re upset that you really want to leave us. (We won’t say that we love you because that would be all soppy.)

As for a Christian perspective on this, there is nothing in the Bible to tell people which way to vote. Perhaps some qualities to have in making up your mind: wisdom, discernment, loving God wholeheartedly, loving your neighbour as yourself.

I prefer unity to division so I don’t like the idea of Scotland leaving us though I do understand that independence has its own virtues.

All I ask of my Scottish neighbours is that you bear in mind the English, Welsh and Northern Irish Peoples as well as Scotland when you cast your vote.

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