Denis Mina is a Scottish writer and this is the full text of her BBC R4 Today programme essay on her reasons for voting No
There has been a civic revolution in Scotland. Intense political discussions have taken place in families, town halls, social media and pubs and clubs. 97% of the population have registered to vote. We have an almost fully engaged body politic. I am a no voter and this is why: My family are historical flotsam. We are not policy makers but the people who suffer it.
Those with few social resources do not benefit from rupture in the short term. Sometimes they do in the long term, more often not in my reading of history, but if you have little, then less, the short term can be very long indeed. Since the cost of rupture is borne so unequally, the provocation has to justify it and I don’t think it does in this case.
Long in the memory are the Troubles in Northern Ireland, where the family are from. Glorious abstract notions of nationhood and autonomy are cold comfort if you can’t work, or study or thrive. Pragmatically: if independence is about shared values and not raw Nationalism then the border is in the wrong place.
Also, Independence is a conceptual mistake. We live in a global environment. The nation state is an irrelevant 17th century construct, and the autonomous nation state is even more fantastical. All countries are bound by a web of international and supranational obligations. We would not be autonomous. We would be disadvantaged. Factionalizing can only benefit stateless corporations as we vie to give them the best deal. And, in a rapidly warming world, forming a small country, reliant on continued oil production, is in no one’s interests, not even our own.
Instead of breaking away into small self-interested groups, only collective decision making can resolve present conflicts and secure the future of the planet. But collective thinking is still anathema. We describe our world by reference to individual states or people. It’s still possible to hear debates about whether it was Alistair or Gordon who caused the global economic crisis.
Worse: the consequences of a Yes vote are shrouded in mystery. Attempts to anticipate any negatives are dismissed as scaremongering. A whole Yes belief system has built up around this: consistent signals from the EU that our membership would not be automatic – don’t believe it. The rest of the UK tell us they don’t want a currency union – don’t believe it. Belief is not a plan. Belief is a refusal to discuss. And a chorus of outrage is not the same as an agenda. It takes me to Tahrir Square and the Arab Spring where there was unanimity about overthrowing Mubarak, but no consensus of agenda. The power vacuum was filled with the only group who did have a consensus: the Muslim Brotherhood.
The factional nature of the yes campaign is very clear: Green Yes, SNP yes, Labour Yes. On the upside: the civil revolution means that, whatever the outcome of the referendum, politics will never be the same again.