I remain convinced, but not complacent, that the vast majority of Scots voters will choose to vote on 18th September in the referendum for Scotland to remain a part of the UK. This is obviously my preferred outcome, but I think my cautious optimism is solidly-based, both on almost every opinion poll and of course on the performance of First Minister Alex Salmond's (SNP) rather lacklustre performance in the debate with Alistair Darling, leader of the Better Together campaign on 5th August - I wrote about that here.
The "Yes" campaign regularly accuses the "No" side for being "negative" (whatever that means!), but it is really up to those who favour separation/independence to provide convincing arguments for how and why they think it a good idea, it is not enough simply to provide us with pie-in-the-sky wishful thinking and expect a majority of voters to follow them blindly. Why are the "Yes" campaigners, including Mr Salmond, so "negative" about Scotland remaining part of the UK? Scotland's partnership with England and Wales and later with Ireland (now Northern Ireland only, regrettably) for over 300 years has been one of the most successful amalgamations of nations into a country in history and, in my opinion, remains very successful to this day.
Democracy means having to accept what is the majority wish - I have accepted that a Scottish Parliament now exists, because that is what was voted for in the referendum held in 1998, just as I had to live with a Labour government from 1997 to 2010, although I certainly voted for neither. Equally obviously I did not vote for our current SNP Scottish Government in 2007 or 2011 and indeed nor did the majority of voters vote for the SNP either (the 2011 Scottish Parliament election results are here), but the vagaries of our electoral system gave the SNP a comfortable working majority. However uncomfortable I am with this, it is democracy and I therefore accept it. But of course, the real reason the SNP, with its 'beggar-thy-neighbour', 'chip-on-shoulder' attitudes (and I make absolutely no apology for slipping into cliché) does not really accept democracy at all, which is why it seeks to sow division between Scots and our fellow British citizens - I really do not believe your average Highlander in Scotland (me, in other words) is so very different from people in the lowlands of Scotland, the north-east of England or Devon or Cornwall, just to take some random examples - we all have to accept democratic outcomes which means that sometimes we get governments we don't wish for personally. The SNP only want a democratic arrangement which will favour them - hence their wish for Scotland to swim in its own little political pond, rather than to be part of (remain part of) one of the foremost economies of the world.
And speaking of 'economies', SNP plans give no certainty of what currency we might use should they prevail on 18th September, nor what entity will be responsible for acting as 'lender of last resort' or for setting interest rates. It is not "negative" to ask hard questions of these fantasists, indeed it would be negligent not to.
I shall be voting "No" on 18th September and I urge you to do so too. However, beyond that, I would like as many people to exercise their right to vote as possible, however you vote - this is a really important decision for all of us. Please don't miss your chance to participate in deciding our future. Finally, I hope the result is decisive one way or the other and both winners and losers will accept the result gracefully, as I intend to. Hopefully the SNP and its supporters will similarly accept the result if (as I hope happens) they lose their bid to split our country asunder. We will all have to live together once this is all over, so triumphalism by the winners is certainly to be avoided.