Nearly two years ago, I wrote a blog about the Scottish vote lamenting the lack of opportunity available to the 1.2 million Scots living outside the country.
It struck me as odd that people, like me, who more than likely still see themselves as Scots wouldn't have any influence at all on the final outcome of the September 18th referendum.
The blog attracted many comments most of which I chose, as they became increasingly impassioned (on both sides), to leave unanswered. In the distant days before the big debates, this was already sensitive territory.
In recent months, as things really get heated up, another thought has possessed me. The build up to the vote has coincided with our daughter leaving home to live in London. Please read beyond this point because I'm not suggesting that Scotland is the UK's (or England's) offspring.
But there are similarities. It's about how we assess the merits or demerits of independence. London, as you all know, is an extraordinarily expensive place to live. There is a strong argument for not living there. From a financial point of view, whilst it offers work, and highly paid employment at that, most of the extra cash is eaten up by rent and Oysters.
Similarly, moving away from home also presents problems. It makes it harder for the family to see each other. And since we really enjoy our time together - and still holiday together - staying nearby would surely make sense.
But we have uttered no such words. It's not for us to tell our daughter where she should or should not live. That it could be more costly is none of our concern. That it may limit the extent to which she may participate in our lives or the life of our village (it has a burgeoning choir) is neither here nor there. She will live as she wants to live and that is a matter for her.
The parallel with the Scottish vote, to my mind at least, is clear: it's for those accorded the vote to determine how they want to live. It may or may not be difficult if the oil runs out. I don't know and there appear to be experts on either side saying so. They may or may not have the pound. Again, if the vote is Yes, it will be the subject of complex negotiations.
But if the vote is Yes, people will manage. People do.
I have pondered the nature of the process whilst listening in on the debate from down here. My ponderings have been prompted by friends posting their own pleas "to rise and be a nation again" on Facebook. One wrote this week that after the vote there should be second vote in the rest of the UK on whether "Scotland should be expelled" on the grounds that it had dared to want to go. This is clearly a question that has upset people.
I had thought that debate might have been better informed had there been "objective" evidence on either side. But the truth is that there is no such thing and in any event, it wouldn't have mattered. Independence is not a rational thing: it's emotional.
So my final thoughts have been on the nature of the decisions that people make in life as we approach the vote in which I will not have a voice: people will both decide, whatever the consequences, and then they will get on with it. The outcome, whatever it is, will create a series of repercussions that we will all have to deal with. But importantly, like all things in life, we will all manage. The world will not end.
It's not as if (Scotland aside), the rest of the world is a certain place. There's an election around the corner. There may be a vote on Europe. There's ongoing chaos in the Middle East. Our economic recovery is once again being fuelled by consumer spending. Banks remain vulnerable. Public services, the backbone of civil society, are being shown, as a result of Rotherham, to be woefully inadequate. Heroes have fallen. In short, life is as it always is, massively uncertain.
So in the midst of this, Scotland must decide. Whatever it decides, good luck to it. They have the vote. Savour the moment. They are on the verge of embracing, either way, their future.Suggest a correction