Last week was a tough week for Scottish island mum. The lead up to the referendum for independence in Scotland has been a testing time. Scottish island mum has been fire fighting increasingly aggressive communications for weeks and feeling a general sense of disappointment. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and that will form a view that will take them to the ballot box. I have lost count of how many times I have been asked how I was going to vote. My answer remains the same; that was between me and the ballot box. It is not fear or cowardice that prevents me sharing my view. It is about my own internal debates and my right for privacy. I was disappointed with the behaviour of many and I am not afraid to say that. The rising level of aggression suggested that people had separated themselves from a mutual respect for the views of others. I will never sign up to that interpretation of democracy and I was glad when the process was over.
Regular readers will know that Scottish island mum was asked for her review of the white paper from the SNP that outlined their vision for an independent Scotland. There was some good stuff in there but there was also some very worrying things that leapt out at me. Firstly, I was expecting the underpinning to be one of aspiration but this was lacking in almost every section. Sadly the authors had fallen into a negative trap and became pre-occupied with the English systems that they wanted to divorce themselves from. With successful countries like Finland to learn from I couldn’t help feeling that they had missed a massive opportunity. But there was enough good stuff to engage me with the campaign that developed from this paper.
I remained engaged throughout even when the beginnings of disappointment began to creep in. Buddhism as taught me a huge amount about compassion and I drew on that in the final days. There was always going to be disappointment and it was always going to hurt. For many the result was shattering and they now begin a long process of healing. I want the nation to heal though and I want it to recover its sense of dignity and pride.
Yesterday I attended a whole day of skills workshops on the island. Many islanders gave up their time to share their skills with others and there was a steady flow of people all day. From floristry to bike maintenance and everything in between was shared and there was much chat, tea and laughter. Scottish island mum shared her passion for flowers and sewing and took little opportunities to look round the room. The gentle sense of healing was palpable and it made me smile both inside and out.
If I have one wish it is that we learn from the referendum and I am quite sure where the source of that learning is located. I have the complete honour of working wit lots of young people. The day before the vote I listened to a conversation by a groupf of young people – some of them were eligible to vote and some were too young. It mattered not as they discussed the issues in a measured, reflective and calm way. They demonstrated enormous respect for each other and I was overwhelmed by a sense of pride. Young people were a massive part of the voting process and what we have ignited in them should never die out. I fear that as the media portrays a new titanic struggle between Scotland and England to secure what was promised by the UK government we will lose this opportunity to learn. I have already written to Alex Salmond about this massive opportunity and if you agree a wee note from you would be most welcome. You can contact him HERE.
So as a small nation begins its recovery I am always keen to hear from others on any of the topics touched on by this article. I am particularly keen to learn from people who live in other nations and their experiences of working collaboratively and/or independently. This is the last time that Scottish island mum will comment directly on the referendum process in the hope that moving forward is supported by great compassion and increasing belief. Blessings to each and every one of you.
Scottish island mum. xx