Friday, 20 June 2014

The identity and the future of the nation

Last night I watched Prof Tom Devine, one of Scotland's greatest living historians, on TV.

I like Tom Devine and I like what he has to say. He has as fine an understanding of Scotland and what it is to be Scottish as anyone. Talking about the Independence Referendum we take part in, in three month's time he said, "This is about the identity and the future of the nation". I agree with Tom Devine on this.

He described how a collective sentiment of 'the people of Scotland as a nation' exists. He also described how our sense of Scottishness and Britishness changes over time too. For it is a duality that we have, and it is elastic and adaptable to different times. But nonetheless it is a duality of identity.

I believed 2 years ago and believe today that this referendum is a head and heart thing. That while there are many factors for each of us to consider, it is at root about two things - the practicalities of economics and our identity as a nation. Are we simply Scottish or is that duality of Britishness and Scottishness still relevant?

I believe that that duality is still relevant and therefore a devolved settlement with a structure that is as federal as possible is the way forward. For me independence is not the way. It is not a solution that is either practical or best reflects who we are.