An Independent Scotland?

One week from today, on 18th September, the voters of Scotland will decide whether we wish to live in an independent country.

The vote is the biggest constitutional decision any individual is likely to take.

It would be wrong for this blog to ignore such an event, especially since the title purports to chronicle our "Life in the Scottish highlands".

I have already voted by post a week ago.

All the last minute campaigning has no influence on my decision.  Our democratic system allows me to keep that vote private so if you think you can work out how I've voted by what I've written, then chances are you are wrong.

After thirty one years as a journalist - an avowedly neutral chronicler of events - I am unable to sit publicly anywhere except on the fence.  That can be a pain in the arse at times, but it's worth it.

The day after vote I have to be able to work with people who have publicly supported both sides.

How an individual voted may or may not become a genuine issue.  The divisions that have appeared during this two year campaign may be forgotten in the aftermath.

Yet how a person voted might be perceived to determine the outcome of a decision or the tone of a future relationship.  Could we hear comments such as, "We're going to employ someone more in tune with our thinking"?

If you're in any doubt, take a look at what the National Union of Journalists had to proclaim days before the vote.

In a job interview in 1983 to be a BBC TV reporter I told John Bird, the man who would become my first editor at BBC Newcastle, that my background in economics helped me see all sides of an issue.  Personally that was often frustrating because I found it difficult to form a strong opinion about even the most controversial subjects.  Professionally, I felt it would be useful for a TV reporter.  I got the job.

I stuck to those principals throughout my career.  Although I left BBC Scotland in 2009 and I have no day to day contact with the politicians and journalists whose world I once inhabited, the principals remain.

Over the last two years I have seen lots of spite and bitterness from both sides in the online independence campaign, but none at a personal level.

That said, the subject of independence is studiously avoided at most informal gatherings.

Go to a dinner party with strangers and everyone would rather tackle thorny subjects like abortion or religion before daring to utter the "I" word.

Passions which have run that deep are unlikely to fade quickly.

Let's hope there is no backlash regardless of the outcome of next weeks vote.

This country and its people are far too important for that.

Please don't troll me in the comments - I'll delete any which are rude.

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