Referendum day

People have tended to see in the Scottish independence referendum what they wanted to. George Monbiot thinks it is a referendum on corporate influence in English politics. Labour supporters in England often tend to think it's about the Tories, and how best to fight them or be rid of them. Some people from the north of England I have spoken to think that it is a protest against the London-centric nature of Westminster politics, in the same family as their own such complaints.

I doubt that any of these things are right. And it still seems strange to me that people who are not Scottish and do not live in Scotland should have a view on "how they would vote" or "how Scots should vote" in this referendum. Of course they can have views on what the economic or political or constitutional consequences of independence would be. But people who don't live in that country and share in that identity just aren't placed to assess how those considerations should weigh against each other, or against other, harder to pin down thoughts about a nation and an identity and self-determination.

On my birthday last week, my friends brought me Tim Tams, and made me Anzac biscuits and lamingtons, and I was unbelievably delighted. When I think about the way I feel about Australia, the idea that I can possibly be in a position to know how I would vote if I were Scottish strikes me as absurd. I'm not, and national independence is not something that I can possibly appreciate the importance (or unimportance!) of without being a part of a culture, and an identity, and a national life, which I can't just imagine my way into, or skip over by ruminating on monetary policy.

So I didn't and still don't have an opinion about how people should vote or about how I might. But it's a big day for Scotland and for Britain, and an exciting one, and we'll soon find out.

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