It might be hard for many outsiders to understand why the Scottish referendum debate is running so close on the eve of the vote - all the famous politicians support a ‘no’ vote, the prosperity arguments seem to favour the same outcome and a ‘no’ vote seems like the safe bet.
What outsiders fail to grasp however, is the identity of many proud Scottish people. There is not a feeling of anti-anything but a desire to stand on their own two feet, as a nation. We must remember - as all Scottish children are taught as they grow up - that Scotland was a country taken by force and how this makes it’s residents feel. It is a feeling encapsulated in Scottish art many times over, as this clip from Trainspotting reveals.
When in 1965, a Scottish folk duo named The Corries wrote the song ‘Flower Of Scotland’, they could not have foreseen the reverence it would gain. It summed up for many, the mood of the Scottish national identity and went on to organically become the Scottish national anthem - an incredible feat really, when you think about it.
Digging into the lyrical content, the subject is clear - a song about England fighting against Scotland in days gone by, with an optimistic focus looking to the future within the key verse…
'Those days are passed now, And in the past they must remain, But we can still rise now, And be the nation again, That stood against him, Proud Edward's army…'.
With a national anthem like that, sung proudly at all national events, how can anything other than patriotic thoughts of independence, creep into any Scots head.
It seems very clear to me now, what the members of Belle & Sebastian meant when answering questions about Scottish independence at End Of The Road Festival 2013. When asked for their thoughts, they agreed that it was a case of either voting with your head, or voting with your heart. They are right, I think.
A vote with your head seems sensible, safe, cautious and is what the media and politicians are recommending you do.
A vote with your heart for pride, responsibility, a sense of identity and is what art has yearned for, for centuries in Scotland.