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Don’t mention the ‘R’ word

September 17, 2014

The coincidence of receiving two nudges in two days about my long absence from the blogosphere has persuaded me back to Dancing Beastie. Hello again!

You might have noticed, just possibly, that Scotland is about to vote on whether we want to become an independent country. We go to the polls tomorrow. The tension in the country has reached bursting point. Media coverage attained saturation levels some time ago. Westminster is in a panic, having belatedly realised that the three-hundred year old Union of Great Britain and Northern Ireland might be about to be torn up. There is doom-mongering from one side, bluster and outright aggression from the other. Many of us – including, I know, some of those who are campaigning for independence – are heartily sickened by the whole affair, by what it is doing to our country, pitching erstwhile good neighbours against each other and putting us all in a state of anxiety and uncertainty about our future.

So I am not the only Scot who is feeling a little prickly today.

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As I would rather think about anything than the political situation, I will be happy to bring you a little light relief from it all this autumn in the form of further writings about the goings-on here at the castle and in the countryside around us. For the next few days, though, I’ll be trying to keep a low profile. All the best.

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29 Comments leave one →
  1. September 17, 2014 1:08 pm

    I managed not to mention it all in the body of the post but, in case you’re wondering, the ‘R’ stands for ‘Referendum’!

  2. September 17, 2014 1:11 pm

    I was wondering about you. Silent for weeks…..
    I can well imagine how tired you are of all this, and it doesn’t help that it won’t even be over after the results are in. Looking forward to your entertaining views of life in the Beastie.

    • September 17, 2014 10:38 pm

      Thanks, VioletSky. Health issues and general busy-ness have kept me away – but hope to get back in the groove now.

  3. boyd permalink
    September 17, 2014 1:59 pm

    so good to have you back. i sympathize with your referendum troubles. we went through a not dissimilar procedure not long ago and it took a herculean effort at the last moment for pro Canada group to win by about 1%. it is not possible to say which side was right. time will tell. You are right about the stress and wrenching apart. It reveals a darker side that it is better left uncovered. we learned a good deal about ourselves through it. hopefully we will be able to change some things. best wishes tomorrow.

    • September 17, 2014 10:41 pm

      Yes, I remember something of the Canadian process. Thanks for the good wishes – we may need them!

  4. September 17, 2014 3:17 pm

    It’s nice to get the perspective of someone living there on this. I find politics boring and maddening, but it is important to know what’s going on with your country so I try to stay informed. Greetings from Canada and all the best.

    • September 17, 2014 10:45 pm

      Thanks very much. Don’t worry, I often struggle to find politics interesting – and sometimes I don’t even bother to struggle! Dancing Beastie will never get too political on you.

  5. cath permalink
    September 17, 2014 4:03 pm

    Quite a few years I have been just reading, not commenting. It feels right to come forward today, just to say I love Scotland and find seeing it being divided from the inside really painful. Wishing all of you a wise decision and a gracious acceptance of whatever the outcome may be. And so happy you are back here again.

    • September 17, 2014 10:46 pm

      How nice that you have been reading for so long – and that you have been tempted out to comment at last! Welcome, and thank you for all your good wishes, which are much appreciated.

  6. September 17, 2014 4:39 pm

    We have been watching too. I’m another Canadian like Boyd. One thing that I can say about referendums and separatist talk (from experience in Canada) is that no matter the outcome it doesn’t end at the ballot and there will be fall out.

    Out here in the west everyone is so fed up with the constant whining of Quebec that there is a massive anti-French sentiment. In my whole lifetime there has not been a single time period where we didn’t have issues of separation; all my life there has been a component of Quebec that does not want to be part of our country (yet they certainly want the benefits). The attitude has now reached the schools; this is a pretty good barometer for how the population feels. Once French becomes optional interest falls off drastically; my son was told French my not be offered this year for his grade due to lack of interest (last year he had 10 people in his class, we are in a city of 100,000 people). French for my son in middle school has been reduced by one term and our cyber school does not offer French as a course.

    There are a few loud pockets of pro-Quebec/pro-French (squeaky wheel syndrome) but the vast majority of people in our area (we have homes in two provinces, Alberta & BC) would choose to cut them loose.

    I thought you might find what we experience to be interesting. The media never reports on what the rest of the country feels because it isn’t “politically correct” (or we don’t secretly pass them envelopes filled with cash! LOL!)

    Anyways just sharing the western Canadian experience of life after referendum.

    • September 17, 2014 10:51 pm

      Hi Deb, that is indeed interesting (also interesting that most of the comments on this post are from Canadians!). I do worry that, whichever way the vote goes, there will be a backlash of anti-Scottish sentiment in the rest of the UK – and who could blame them? Well, we shall see. From the Canadian point of view, meanwhile, I can quite understand why western Canada should feel fed up of Quebec. It’s never pretty, this sort of business.

      • September 17, 2014 10:56 pm

        And I haven’t even gotten into transfer payments…….that just raises the blood pressure.

        I wonder how this will affect tourism and foreign investment, no matter the outcome.

        You will have to give us your take on the situation after everything settles down. I love to hear the insider’s views compared to the media’s.

  7. September 18, 2014 12:38 am

    It’s been very weird watching it all unfold at a distance as part of the diaspora. I obviously don’t get to vote (I don’t get to vote anywhere actually) so it’s weird to have my country deciding without me. However it turns out (and it’s so close I’m on tenterhooks ) I think Scotland should be proud of having extended the franchise to 16 and 17 year olds, of engaging so many in the debate and – if predictions are proved correct – a much higher than average turnout.

    • September 18, 2014 2:33 pm

      Yes, it must feel very strange for you. I have several Scottish friends in England and further afield who are champing at the bit to vote. One thing is certain: it has certainly politicised us Scots, wherever we may be!

  8. Barbara permalink
    September 18, 2014 9:42 am

    Glad you’re ok, if hassled.
    Love & prayers from south of the border.
    Barbara xxx

  9. Henrietta permalink
    September 18, 2014 10:57 am

    So glad to see you back. Your landscape will be as beautiful whatever the result tomorrow. My family in Scotland are also pained by the “us and them” of the process, I hope it all heals afterwards.

    • September 18, 2014 2:37 pm

      Thank you. Yes, you make such a good point: we have been reminding ourselves that the woods and hills will remain, whatever the outcome. And I must say that people round here mostly seem to be on as good terms as ever, treating each other’s differing views with respect – so there is hope.

  10. September 18, 2014 3:59 pm

    I am a Canadian too so thought I’d keep the comments going from us haha. I have lived in the Fife area of Scotland now for 2 years and I really don’t follow politics much- bores me but the way I see it, I really don’t have much of a right to complain then do I of the outcome lol. I’ll be glad when this ‘R’ is over. I really tired of all the nastiness (is that a word?) between even so called friends in this whole debate. Guess what, i’m not going to vote *gasp* But I don’t feel like I’m in the position to choose the future of a country I haven’t lived in for very long. Some have said that is wasting my vote but so is checking off a box just to please others in my opinion. Guess we’ll wait and see, a little on pins and needles at the moment I’ll admit to see what happens though.

    Oh and I’m with Deb (I’m from Vancouver BC originally), the French- Canadians in Quebec, cut em’ loose hehe

    • September 18, 2014 10:57 pm

      I think your decision not to vote, in your circumstances, is actually very honest. As you say, anything else would seem rather hypocritical. I hope all your neighbours will learn to get on again after the results come through!

    • boyd permalink
      October 2, 2014 1:50 am

      having now read Deb and Green Noize i must separate myself from them. i am so proud that Quebec is part of our confederation. they add so much to our life as the Scots do to the UK. I might add though i don’t share this opinion either, that there are many in the “east” that would wish Alberta would leave. Strangely except for the language issue the reasons are the same as she lists. sorry that is not political just self-defensive observation

  11. September 18, 2014 4:32 pm

    It’s so nice to see your fairy forest prevails no matter what humans decide. Glad you have the outdoors to escape all the noise and frenzy. (How wonderful your last sentence is in your reply to Henrietta. Sadly populations here are much too divided and unbending to try and be cordial – when did rudeness become the norm here?)
    Was concerned more about your health and absence than anything else – so please to see your post. The prickly ones actually living in the wild always give a smile.
    Wishing level heads and good luck for either outcome.

    • September 18, 2014 10:58 pm

      Thanks very much for your lovely comments. Health has indeed been a bit of an issue, but I count my blessings – and many of them can be found in the woods, as you say.
      All the best to you!

  12. Toffeeapple permalink
    September 19, 2014 9:12 am

    I wasn’t expecting to be in Scotland this year at all, but here I am, in beautiful Argyll again.

    I am so pleased to see a new post from you and I hope that the health problems are soon resolved.

    I have just read the news and can only say that I am surprised at the outcome and I hope that things will soon settle down.

    • September 23, 2014 11:44 pm

      I have a feeling that this is only the beginning. We shall see.
      Thanks for the welcome back, anyway! Argyll must indeed be looking beautiful at the moment.

  13. Janet permalink
    September 20, 2014 5:16 am

    Good eye, DB, spotting the deer in the bracken. A bit like “Where’s Wally?”. 🙂

  14. September 23, 2014 10:53 pm

    Well, from an English perspective I have to say I found myself a little emotional at the result, as I was glad not to lose you all! But then, us up in the north of England I think have always felt in many ways closer to Scotland than to the rest of England. I hope that the political arguments don’t have a long-lasting negative effect.

    • September 23, 2014 11:48 pm

      After all the Scots have put England through with this, I would say it’s very gracious of you not to want to get rid of us! I think the affinity between Scotland and northern England is more than just relative proximity. My husband and I were discussing idly where we would move to if we were forced into exile, and I chose the beautiful area around Dent/ Kirkby Lonsdale. Hills, heather, becks, stone walls and straightforward people: I wouldn’t feel so very far from Scotland there. 🙂

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