Tuesday, 26 June 2012

It’s not about politics but a conversation about the very soul of the nation

An opinion poll commissioned by the Future of Scotland campaign and conducted by Ipsos Mori has received quite a bit of coverage over the weekend.

I found reading the responses to the questions about what type of Scotland people want to live in to be the most fascinating; forget about the mechanics of a particular referendum and instead focusing on what people’s hopes and dreams, visions and aspirations for our common life together in years to come.

Like 94% of respondents saying that it was essential or very important that Scotland is a safe place where law and order are upheld, 88% who agreed it was essential or very important for the future to be a financially successful Scotland where businesses are encouraged.  78% said it was essential or very important that Scotland was a caring place where the most disadvantaged were looked after.

At the other end of the scale the least values that were deemed to be least essential were a secure Scotland where the borders are protected and a powerful Scotland which is respected on the world stage.

What, then do these things tell us? 

Firstly, that these things are important to us regardless of the outcome of the referendum.

Secondly, that peace, prosperity and compassion are, in this poll, the important things that matter.  From a Church perspective I’d say ‘Amen’ to that.

Thirdly, border protection and a powerful nation are not part of the aspirations of the overwhelming majority.  This is surely reflected in many parts of Scottish public life speaking up for asylum seekers and against Trident replacement.

If we can get our Churches, our communities and our politicians talking about these values and visions, then this debate about the referendum need not just be about where power lies, but it should be a conversation about the very soul of the Scottish nation.

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