One month today and my former home country of Scotland will decide whether to be an independent country or not. After four years surrounded by Scots who despise the English in the most obvious forms possible it is hard for me to understand why the Yes to independence campaign will fail. Obviously, many people seem to believe a vote for independence is a vote for Alex Salmond and to those people I have little to say. It's stupid! I don't get to vote and the fate of Scotland is not really a concern of mine because we're talking about seceeding the United Kingdom, and not Sudan. However, this particular debate has made me aware of how politics have changed historically, and how people have become spoiled with freedom they don't realize when they're not free.
As I said a while ago, the debate between Yes and No is simply defined by how people emphasize their desire to be represented in government. A Scot that truly want his voice to be heard and elect a government that represents the will of its people will not be able to vote No as currently Scotland might as well not vote in Federal elections because Westminster does not reflect it whatsoever. Therefore, politically there is really no viable argument for "Better together". I do understand that there are other factors involved, most notably the economic future of Scotland and I do understand that people are scared to screw up. Nobody in Scotland is really doing all that badly if you compare living standards internationally. Why change that then?
The facts are that people do not seek extreme measures as long as a compromise will get them by. I am certain that the rise of the Nazis was an extreme attempt to improve worsening living conditions, or that the Americans only rebelled against the English after injustice grew to an untolerable amount. We evidently have no such scenario in Scotland. Whenever independence occurred in the past it was the result of a long struggle that affected the freedom of the oppressed. Frankly, Scots do not feel robbed of their freedoms just yet. But just as much as there were times when people died for the right to vote the times of people defining their freedom politically has ceased as well. Many people don't even vote anymore. For me it's clear evidence that people have gotten too used to freedom.
If we really think about it securing freedom is not on any of our agendas anymore. I have never faced the possibility of not having rights that are self-evident in the Western world. To me, casting a vote that may affect the course of my country is a right I've always exercised and never underestimated. It might not do much but it's a right nonetheless, and while I consider it a gift I would not be cool with that gift being taken away from me. As a historian and political person I'm incapable of understanding that the Scottish public seem to be alright with not having that gift. Not having representation does not affect the Scottish everyday life so that people are hesitant to change something about a rather good thing. I can see why they think that way but I can't understand it.