Disappointed, sad, frustrated. Confused, concerned and a bit shell-shocked. With a strong sense you're living a bad dream, you wonder what must Her Majesty the Queen be thinking and feeling today?
How has it come to this? How did the concept of a divided Union just start slipping in the back door? And why the panic, only now, as we just awaken to the reality of that possibility? A month ago, I was wondering why there was little to no mention of the imminence of the Scottish referendum in the media. Interesting how it took that YouGov poll published on a Sunday to suddenly shift everything about Save the Union into high gear.
We've read all the explanations, how nobody took seriously the possible secession of Scotland from the Union, otherwise, why would the Prime Minister even have allowed a referendum in the first place? The more you read, the more you discover you are not the only one to be in a daze and a haze as to how this could happen at all. And why?
Over the last few days, if you have any feeling or sentiment for the history and preservation of the United Kingdom, you'd be forgiven if your newspapers became a sodden mess of tears of frustration and bewilderment, as the media became awash with patriotic fervour, even the Prime Minister opening the floodgates and appealing to everyone to speak "from the heart, not the head". The pundits have come out in droves, Gordon Brown has reached a peak of eloquence in Clydebank, petitions and rallies abound. Too little, too late? Soon we will know.
Columnist Fraser Nelson for The Daily Telegraph referred to that "famous British reserve" which may prove to be "the undoing of the Union". He makes the pointed argument that "using passionate, heartfelt language about one's country is not very British but the lack of it has left the Scottish nationalists as the only ones talking in powerful emotive terms about love of your country...." The whole of the article, like many others, worth a careful read and a think.
Reserve, self-deprecation, self-doubt; those marked characteristics which were instrumental in causing everyone to doubt that London 2012 would or could ever be the international success that it was, with the naysayers predicting failure right up until the last minute of the opening ceremony . Perhaps it's time to set these notions aside and consider what actually forms "a more perfect Union". It's not the economy, stupid, or the borders, it's the people. And British people, as seen throughout history, are more than their differences, disagreements or their reserve. Their strength and stamina, fortitude, humour and depth of feeling for true and lasting values have seen them endure.
The situation in the Ukraine and the Middle East could hardly be more volatile, and now we are looking at the dissolution of the United Kingdom? Worse than that, whether Yes or No wins the day, rumour has it that the Pandora's box of resentment and bitterness has ripped Scotland apart, ripped Scottish families apart, not to mention whole communities, to such an extent that there will be wounds to heal aplenty throughout Scotland and the whole of the Kingdom, even were the Union to survive. Who will get that mad genie back into the bottle now that he has a life of his own? And after this, how will the Union heal with more partisanship, more bitterness, more rivalry. Just what the world needs now.
A woman in Scotland was asked in an interview for NBC, "Do you compare this to a marriage?" Her reply: "Yes, and who wants to go through a divorce if they don't have to?" We, the people, are the helpless children sitting on the stairway, listening to the parents argue, wondering if it's karma or destiny or just stupidity, and wanting it all to go away. Sad, a bit stunned and powerless. But are we?
A young Scottish woman said, "Stop scaring us; instead, tell us you can't live without us. Tell us how wonderful we are". The message being: We need to love Scotland more. And the United Kingdom. And maybe each other. That we can do.
Not powerless at all.