Yes, please!

My husband and I are farmers, I’m an immigrant – a dual Dutch and American citizen – and we’re both over 60. All the stats say we should have voted No in 2014, and leave in 2016. But we both, along with his 90+ mother voted Yes and Remain.

Donald’s mother was an Indy and SNP supporter from her teens.  That didn’t change later, when she and her husband bought a farm in the Highlands.  Having cows and sheep didn’t suddenly change her view on the EU either – in fact, she would often tell the story of how much shorter her second journey to the hospital in Inverness was, thanks to EU funding for the roads up here since her first journey. And having lived through WWII, she never understood how people couldn’t see the EU, with all its flaws, to be the force for peace she saw it as. She didn’t live to see independence, but she raised her sons to believe in independence too, and later, Donald’s leanings toward the Labour party, due to his work in the construction and haulage businesses, were stopped short by their resistance to independence. His support for independence is an integral part of who he is, his love for his country and culture, his knowledge of (and sometimes outrage over) its history. We’re both now members of an Indy supporting party.

When I moved to Scotland in the summer of 2013 – taking advantage of Freedom of Movement – an EU right I never imagined the English would want to throw away! – I knew the Indy campaign was gearing up. But as a newcomer, I didn’t think I had the right to an opinion. It was the Scottish people who convinced me otherwise, telling me that if I meant to live and work here, I had a right to an opinion. When I started making up my mind, it was actually the behaviour of the No camp that pushed me toward Yes: the arrogance, the derision…the way they spoke about Scotland as too wee, too poor, and too stupid to stand on our own two feet. (Yes, by that time, I was already say ‘our’, thanks to how quickly Scotland claimed me as one of her own New Scots.) How uneducated that view seemed to me, with the research I’d done into the country before I moved here! The patronizing way unionists would tell me that I was thinking with my heart instead of my head – and what’s wrong with that?!? – sealed the deal for me. I turned my back on Better Together, and looked at Yes.

The Indy campaign, by contrast, was full of life and optimism, a belief that we could and should (re)build a fairer, prosperous Scotland, once we had full control of our country. It was inclusive, a broad and welcoming sprawl of a movement. Yes, there was – and is – lots of argument and disagreements about how to achieve these goals, and sometimes we have let those arguments get in our way (not just lately, but throughout Scotland’s history as England’s neighbour) but the goals themselves are not in question. These opposing attitudes from the No and Yes camps, along with my own studies into the history of how and why Scotland got into this union (studies I now share with my husband) in the first place, the ways we’ve been kept in it, kept poor in it, made to feel we’d fail without it, combined to make me a fervent (some on the other side have called me a ‘convert’, and I don’t contest that) supporter of Scottish independence. Scotland IS smart enough; Scotland IS rich enough, in people, resources, ingenuity, kindness, and welcome… to be an independent country. I’ve never had the sense, from Indy supporters, or the Scottish government, that they think they’re better than anyone else, though, just that we’re as good as. I lived in three independent countries before I made my permanent home in Scotland, and I just don’t understand what the big deal is. If so many countries around the world can do it, why would Scotland be any different? The arguments against independence just don’t make any sense to me.

Why shouldn’t we be independent? Independence is normal.

When I met Donald, and joined him on the farm, it was a another big step into a new life, but also toward joining forces to keep this family, and this farm, pointed straight and true toward an independent Scotland. It’ll come, and soon. We’re really looking forward to being here – sheep, pigs, wee dug, and all – for the big day. Bring it on!  

Image may contain: Donald Gillies and Donna Gillies, people smiling, beard, glasses, sky, hat, tree, close-up and outdoor

#FarmersForYes #KeepScotlandtheBrand #IndyRef2 #IndependenceIsNormal #AlwaysYes

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