Preparation on the case for Scottish independence has resumed, the Scottish Government has announced, with the goal of a referendum by the end of 2023.
So it begins.
Firstly, I will not presume to tell you what to think. You will have already made up your mind. If not, your conscience and good judgment will lead you to an opinion. I will respect that opinion. I may not agree with your point of view, but I defend to the death your right to express it.
Some rules should be set for the next couple of years.
Can we not refer to this as “Scexit”, please. It isn’t a real word. Why is there this drive to shorten, slap on a slang label, dumb down everything? We have a fecund, vibrant language with which to express ourselves. Let’s use it.
Let’s have an adult discussion, using grown-up words. Let’s examine the issues, not chant slogans and parrot propaganda. Let’s use our eloquence to explain. Let’s talk about it, not shout about it.
The last referendum had too much vehemence on both sides. Too many debates were hijacked by foam-flecked, bulging-eyed fanatics interrupting each other, braying over each other, and ignoring the question asked. There was too much blare and bluster, too little thought.
The social media exchanges were worse. There was an almost palpable hatred in some of the insults traded. Reason was drowned out; zealotry took its place.
It was horribly unedifying. The world was watching as we squabbled and spat. Words, we should remind ourselves, are tools. Not weapons.
I respect articulate people who calmly explain their view and who, in turn, respect the views of others. I don’t like to see eyes rolled, lips pulled into a sneer, or questions dismissed with a laugh. If politicians cannot control themselves, how can they control policy?
I think political debate would be better if done solely in writing. Each candidate should be given a pencil and paper and have their microphone muted. We could quietly weigh the strength of their written argument (and their spelling, punctuation, and grammar).
Anyone who uses the language well and expresses themselves with dignity must have thought deeply about what they are saying. I will consider what they say. I may not agree, but will afford them every politeness and respect.
Eloquence is admirable.
Word of the week
An old Scots word meaning a fit of bad temper or rage; a quarrel. EG: “Let’s have a talk about politics, not a tirr.”
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