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Why Glasgow 2014 proves Scotland can be independent

It started with the rather hysterical reaction to the unveiling of Team Scotland's parade uniform, and then there were the first ten minutes of the Commonwealth Games' Opening Ceremony.

Part of the Scots' psyche often seems to view the world through fingers over the eyes, wondering "What if we embarrass ourselves, what if we don't get it right?" Sometimes we are too ready to conclude we have made the wrong choice, that we should have been less gallus and left the big decisions to somebody else.

It's an approach which the No Campaign seems to have appropriated. They point out that we've been together for three centuries, why change now? Independence can offer no certainties, why take the risk? We may not like many of Westminster's policies, but who knows, they may change. Let's just not draw attention to ourselves and get noticed, when we can stay in hiding behind the skirts of a British state obsessed with former glories. A leading No campaigner on television put it succinctly: if you don't know, vote no.

In the grounds of National Gallery of Modern Art in Edinburgh, there is an installation by Nathan Coley musing on the nature of faith. It consists of neon words spelled out on scaffolding: "There will be no miracles here." It reflects a kind of Scottish hesitancy: great things happen - but not here. However, in its very defensive certainty it almost seems to question the possibility.

And so it has proved for the Commonwealth Games. In the riot of colour that marked the start of the event, the Team Scotland outfits seemed appropriate, even adventurous, and the Opening Ceremony proved a perfect challenge to international opinion: Hah! You thought we were this - but here's the reality, as we moved from the teacakes to the Glasgow Kiss, Mandela, and the glorious internationalism of the egalitarian "Freedom Come all Ye," from the 'township soprano', Pumeza Matshikiza.

It was a typical night out in Glasgow - moving from confusion at the noise and bustle to tearful, affectionate emotion. Furthermore, the aspirations of the Opening have been reflected in the reality of the welcome afforded to all nations at the Games - friendly by name, friendly by nature.

There are still a few grubbing around for some negative aspects, without much joy it has to be said, and there remains the risible suggestion that 'politics' be kept out of an event which is based on links forged by a colonial empire - but most folk have embraced these friendliest of friendly games with an understanding that the internationalism of independent countries coming together to celebrate historical connections leads to fraternity, not division.

Yes, there is a lot of history in the Union, but its weight can be stultifying, and constantly looking over our shoulders tends to limit our ability to look forward. The flourishing of these Glasgow Games can redirect our vision, suggesting how the future can be built on the past. When you change direction, you don't wipe out the route you followed before.

This September, I believe it's time to take a bold step, show confidence in Scotland, its people and its capabilities, and, by voting Yes, build the scaffolding of a new, independent and modern country, with its people sovereign and its democracy complete - and on that scaffolding we can put the words - in the brightest neon - "There WILL be miracles here!"

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