Out There: Independence debate splits opinion in Scotland

Landform Ueda by Charles Jencks at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art. (the garden shot).
Landform Ueda by Charles Jencks at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art. (the garden shot).

Should we stay or should we go?

That’s the debate gripping Scotland in the run up to the Scottish referendum on independence on September 18.

As someone who was born in Edinburgh and lived in various parts of Scotland, I have followed the independence debate with great interest.

However, living in England and not having the right to vote, means it can be hard to make sense of the ‘yes’ and ‘no’ campaigns.

The ‘yes’ campaigners claim that Scotland would be better off – financially, socially and politically. The ‘no’ proponents argue it would be folly to leave the UK for the very same reasons in reverse.

I went up to Edinburgh at the weekend to see my parents and was struck by how the debate is splitting the country.

I asked several people what they’d be voting. Not a very ‘scientific’ opinion poll but the huge differences in opinions left me wondering if there could ever be consensus.

On another level, there are some people who want independence because they see England as imperialistic and set on subjugating Scotland.

They see England as the enemy but, personally speaking, I’ve never had the almighty chip on my shoulder that some Scots have about their southern neighbours.

In fact, living in the Morecambe and Lancaster area, and observing that there is a north/south divide in England, has shown me that the situation is far more complex than some people make out.

However, I do think that too much power is centralised in London and other parts of the UK often get a bad deal.

So am I a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’? Well, at the moment I am yet to make up my mind.

As my grandfather from Orkney used to jokingly say: “a woman’s likely to change her mind.” That’s a prerogative I’m retaining.

Apart from all the shenanigans over the independence referendum, I visited one of Edinburgh’s gems over the weekend.

I met up with an old friend of mine at the fabulous Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art and saw Charles Jencks’ Landform Ueda. Jencks says the artwork was inspired by patterns from nature and the effects of chaos theory. The lawn in front of the gallery was landscaped to create serpentine mounds, complemented by crescent-shaped pools.

Jencks describes it as a combination of artwork, garden and social space. It’s certainly that. It was a delight to look at and walk around.