"We all had the chance to use our individual voices in this debate. Keep using that voice. Make it heard by politicians. It's your strength."
My article is about finding a positive way forward, both for Scotland and for the United Kingdom. I am merely sharing some more of my thoughts. I don't have all the answers, or all of the ideas, that will aid our reconcilliation. I am only one mind. Ideas and answers are something for all of us to contribute, combining our minds for even greater thinking.
These are my thoughts on the result of the Scottish Independence Referendum, and where they might take us. We have promoted to the world that unity and diversity is better than separation and division. I am proud of Scotland today because of that. For me this was never about taking sides, it was never about hatred and it was never about fighting anyone. It was about striving for better unity, and to promote that strength of unity ,and diversity, of our unique cultures, to the world. Scotland has shown it's voice, that it already has a strong independence within the United Kingdom. And our relationship in the United Kindgdom has already changed, due to this referendum. It couldn't not change. We have to make sure that that change remains a change for the better. The onus is on us, as independent individuals, to unite together and make this our great nation. To keep what is good, and dispense with what is bad. Let's not pretend that we are suddenly living in a utopia (is there such a thing?) or that the future, the coming weeks and months, will be easy and won't be challenging. We are not in a utopia, and the future will always be challenging. Life is not easy. It is the most difficult journey that any of us are on, but it can be the most rewarding experience at the same time too. And there is hope. There is always hope. Whenever I see a negative, I look for hope (no matter how small) and I try and find a way to turn it into a positive. A positive attitude is a key to doors in life. A negative attitude is merely a lock and a barrier. Think positive. Open doors.
Our task now is to work together, to strengthen that renewed sense of unity. To push it even further forwards. And I really do feel real unity. It's facing a challenge (when is it never?), but there is a cartload of hope in the air. Hold on to that. Westminster has to change. It simply can't remain as it is anymore. The whole system has to become fairer for all of us. In Scotland. In England. In Wales. In Northern Ireland. Promises of extra powers must be delivered (and I'm uneasy using that word, power - as 'power' so often falls foul to that word, 'corrupt'). They must be delivered by Westminster and Holyrood working together, and we must strive hard for them. I know that Scotland will do that, because it is in our Scottish character to never give up. Scots will always try again and again, until we achieve something worthwhile. One of the things we need to do is this. We have to take into account the opinions of everyone, whether they voted Yes or No, and we need to engage the people who are still indifferent and apathetic to politics. We must work with England, Wales and Northern Ireland too, if we are going to improve Westminster. Lets do all that together, for Scotland and for the United Kingdom. Never give up. Keep trying. And achieve an amazing goal.
It is clear that the cultural and social bonds between us and our different nations are strong. Perhaps they are even stronger now. I certainly hope that they are. I certainly feel very valued by the ordinary people of the rest of the United Kingdom. I've always felt that. I feel valued wherever I go across this United Kingdom, and I'm never less than welcomed by any of it's people. It is the politicians who are the real problem, the ones who are out of touch with ordinary life (I'll risk controversy here and say this - they aren't all completely out of touch, and they aren't all unreachable either). It is clear to me that our political system is pretty fractured. But it isn't irreparable, and our politicians have an important role to play in the solution. We all do. Reach out, and narrow that gap, between ordinary people and out of touch politicians.
It is our political bonds that we must work to improve and strengthen most of all. Maybe it will be one of the hardest things that we do. But that will make it all the more rewarding for our future generations, if we give this our best possible effort and show that we tried. Show that we tried our damnedest to do something good, something that we did together and united for. So let us work together now, to improve Westminster. For Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Our United Kingdom. For future generations to come. Government needs to be closer to the people, it needs to be more regional, and it needs to be much more accountable to the people. I don't think independence would have done that (although I'll always accept the chance that I might be wrong). I think we can change better as a United Kingdom, and more positively as a United Kingdom. Separation, of any kind, would send out the wrong message. Uniting is a positive first step. Just think this thought, and hold on to it - if the world united more, it would be a much better place.
This debate has enlivened my interest in politics, and it has enlivened my writing too. I really hope that spirit continues within me. I have learnt a lot, from both sides of the debate, things that are both good and bad. I have learnt much about Scotland, and much about myself. Some of that I like and admire, some of it I dislike and I'm ashamed of. It has been an enlightening journey for my soul in so many ways. I hope it is one that has grown me as a person, and as an individual. And I hope it is one that it has taught me the best way to unite with other people. To engage with people in the right way, and in a fair and respectful way. For myself, that can only ever be a good thing, and a positive thing. I am willing to keep on learning, and to keep on changing and growing. That is, after all, what life is all about.
"Let's work together to improve Westminster & ensure Scotland gets those extra powers. Improve the system for England, Wales & N Ireland too."
"I'm happy with today's result. I also respect how Yes voters must feel. We differ in opinion, but you're Scottish, I'll always welcome you."
"I feel positive about the future. I am always an optimist, even in the face of adversity."