Depicting a white crescent moon and star on a red background the Turkish flag is everywhere. Turkey is a proud nation though I would say it’s also not the only flag adorned place we have ridden through. Thailand, Malaysia, the USA and closer to home, Denmark, all show off their colours.
Back home the story is much more complex. We are a nation comprised of four countries with a population made up of individuals from all over the globe. We have our own traditions and have also accepted and shown tolerance for the beliefs and customs of others. I’m proud to live in a country like that yet I would be much more hesitant to hoist a flag. Sadly being proud to be British has been overtaken by the far right and flags only really seem to fly when there’s a football game on.
I am English, living in Scotland and right now the debate on whether Scotland should be independent dominates news and discussion. I’m really proud to live in Scotland. It’s such a beautiful country – rugged landscapes, dramatic scenery and buildings and history some of which of course is linked to previous battles on the ownership of land.
Many people are still debating on which way to vote. Some will of course go with their heart regardless of outcome – this is a chance they have been waiting on for a long time. For me, my head would tell me that economically there still need to be much more clarification and that unity is a better proposition. There are just too many unknowns. I am course also fully aware that I am English and in my mind that’s also equal to being British.
However….putting the unknowns to one side there is a strong part of me – a very strong part – that sees the potential for a more social and environmental vision, much more akin to the community I prefer and I can’t help feeling that this vote is also a real opportunity. In addition to feeling there are too many unanswered questions, I fear for society outside of Scotland should it’s balance in UK politics be lost and I care greatly about this too. This is not just a debate for Scotland and I want the social and environmental vision of Scotland to be UK wide.
Only time will tell whether we are counting the cost of independence or regretting an opportunity to work towards a country with a greater vision for equality and a greater respect for it’s environment. Whichever way it goes I’ll still be proud to be English, proud to be British and proud to live in Scotland though I still won’t feel comfortable flying any of the flags and I can’t help feeling that’s sometimes just a little sad.