Way back in 1707, a relatively short time span in Scotlands history, the political union with England was born. This union created the British parliament we have today.
Like any union, this took the agreement of two independent partners to join together.
As a minister I have conducted many such unions or marriages by a different name.
In all of them, as the two parties have entered into union, the assumption has been made that they both by their separate agreement or vows agree to an equal partnership.
Such is how a union is supposed to be, but as we all know, not all unions work out that way. Indeed, many such unions have failed, often because in practice they prove to be unequal, where one has sought to control the other, or where one’s concerns have been ignored and not listened to. These unequal partnerships often prove to be deeply unhappy unions which ultimately end up in divorce.
The No campaign, particularly Labour, have sought to depict the Independence referendum as Separation, and call YES supporters Separatists, as if this was a disgraceful thing to be.
How dare those in Scotland who long for Scottish Independence want to end the union which is the United Kingdom.
As a minister, I have often wondered how the couples I am joining together in union will fare, and Indeed will the union last?
Some I have married have fared better than others, some have patently been wrong for each other and ended up in divorce. Some others have gone their separate ways, and still get on together fairly amicably, without recrimination, and in general supportive of each other, even though they never ultimately worked out as a union. They still share much of the good they had achieved together,and still celebrate happy occasions they once had, and have learned to let go of past grievances and be the better for it.
Being divorced or separated,does not automatically make them bad people, indeed they may both still have a lot to offer to each other, without being tied to each other.
Indeed, It may have been much more harmful had they sought to stay together when there was clear differences and possibly acrimony living together.
Sometimes It is more important to be able to let go, and be able to be on good terms, than allow what once worked, and what we once loved, be utterly destroyed in accusations and bitterness.
And so it is with Scotland regaining our Independence, we should be able to celebrate eventually what we did achieve with our union, but we should also be able to do so having gone our own way, as the union no longer works for us. Far better to leave behind what has been an increasingly unequal union, where our views are not properly heard,and where we have only a minority say on where we want our lives to go.
Many scots have in the past falsely believed that because we were one of the signatories to the Acts of Union, that we were joint and equal partners, where in truth we never have been.
As far back as 1714, only 7 years into the union, Scots peers at Westminster unanimously voted to leave the union, only they failed because England who have a far greater representation in parliament refused to let us go. Ever since, at various points, Scots have sought to either get home rule or Independence, each time failing.
The people of Scotland never have had a vote in the matter until now.
Back in 1707 they common people rioted in the streets against it, to no avail.
If anything, this has been a very unequal marriage from the beginning, and indeed could be described as a forced marriage which for many a generation we helped make work as best we could.
It certainly was no marriage based on love, but rather an arranged marriage for political and economic reasons.
The time has now come to separate, divorce, or whatever you want to call it,go our own ways, but that is in no sense a failure or wrong, It is merely recognizing that this union no longer works for us or serves our best interests.
We can still be friends, and we need not be strangers or foreigners to each other.
Instead we can learn to appreciate each other more, and indeed work well together where we recognize we share common interests.
In doing so, if the dissolution of the union is to be properly achieved, there has to be a settlement, and our assets and liabilities properly negotiated.
As in any dissolution of partnership or union, it has to be recognised that neither party owns everything, and the other nothing.
Why for instance should the rUK automatically be seen as the continuing state, where one party retains all, the other nothing. We and England joined the same clubs, why should they retain membership of Europe and us not?
Why do they get to keep all the money, the pound, but us not?
Why must they get to automatically stay in NATO, but we must reapply?
Imagine if this were an actual divorce between two parties, imagine you were actually getting divorced from your marital partner, and they kept the house, the car, the money, and club memberships, and you were to go away with just the clothes you have on your back.
Would you call that fair?
So for a moment, look at all Better Together, Westminster and their media allies are saying, and apply that all to yourself….
Are they right?
You shall have nothing, unless you agree to continue with an unhappy marriage?
If you agree to carry on, they might just, but not for certain, allow you some more housekeeping allowance?
Does that seem a good and fair deal to you?