Brief introduction: I’m Al Harron, aka Taranaich/alexanderthegreat, Scot, male, 30 years old at time of writing, comic artist, Robert E. Howard scholar, advocate for people with Autism and anti-sectarianism, and blogger. For years now, I’ve made a concerted decision not to discuss politics online. I believed no good would come of it, and that politics is the sort of things you only do face-to-face. I still believe it – but in a few months, the people of Scotland will make the most important decision they’ve ever been asked to give: should Scotland be an independent country? I’m still talking politics in person, but I feel that there is some good in putting my feelings and musings in black-and-white on the ‘net – partially because I feel I can no longer ignore the magnitude of this decision.
The road I took to the decision I’ve made is a long one. For a long time, I believed in the union. I honestly believed that there was a hope of some way to retain the unique situation Scotland shares with England, Wales and Northern Ireland, while still gaining the autonomy and freedom the people of the nation so clearly desired. Be it the Liberal Democrats’ much-vaunted federal/confederal arrangement, Labour’s devolution, or some new form of government, I desperately wanted to find the best possible situation for the people of Scotland. Independence, so I was conditioned to think, was nonsense, borderline racist, parochial, deluded, a distraction from the “real” problems.
It’s only in the last year or so, after poring over reams of information, reading dozens of books and hundreds of articles, that I came to the inescapable conclusion: not only was independence my choice, it seemed to be the only reasonable choice. There is not a single argument for remaining in the UK I’ve seen which even remotely challenges its opposite number in favour of independence. It’s actually quite astounding: most of the time in a debate, there’s at least something to be said for the other side. But to me, the case for independence vs union is as clear-cut and lop-sided as the case for evolution vs the stork, and I will treat the discovery of the positive case for the union with the same shock and surprise as if National Geographic proved leprechauns were no longer extinct.
In coming days, I’ll share more of my thoughts and feelings, with the proviso that while I will endeavour to be as polite, positive and genial as possible, there may come times where I cannot keep civility in good conscience. This is too important to worry about hurting people’s feelings, or worrying about being called a “cybernat,” “Scottish nationalist,” or whatever. The future of millions is at stake here. And I will do my bit.