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Agenda: I will quit the England of my home and birth to campaign for Yes vote

I consider myself to be English and I support independence for Scotland.

Not only that, I'll be coming up to East Lothian with my partner in July to do what I can to campaign for a Yes vote. We've only just made this momentous decision, and some of my friends and family have looked slightly aghast when I've broken the news.

For many, London is not only the centre of Britain, it's also the heart of our global influence. To leave looks like giving up on "the dream". To leave to campaign for Scottish independence looks like betrayal.

I don't believe this. London is not the heart of the UK, nor should it be. The levels of ignorance and denial from Westminster and the capital's media in their approach to Scottish independence reveal an elite that is frighteningly out of touch. I also don't believe that, by campaigning for the end of the Union as we know it, I'm betraying my country as an English woman. Bringing government closer to citizens does not mean dividing those people.

Scotland has a chance to set an example by building a nation that embraces democracy and sustainability; rejects foreign aggression; and is proud of its immigrant population and ability to deliver social security to the most vulnerable.

This is an example that I wish England would follow. I'm increasingly ashamed of our undemocratic voting system and hereditary House of Lords, the growing acceptance of Ukip's noxious populism and a Government that is rapidly dismantling the state and our institutions while cracking down on dissent.

People in Scotland should not have to be governed by a party they did not vote for. However, only 36% of Britain's voters supported the Conservatives at the last General Election. I don't buy the story of a "naturally" socialist Scotland abandoning England to a "forever Tory" future.

It will be difficult for England in the aftermath of a Yes vote. I am under no illusions about that. The ghost of empire may finally be exorcised, and England will have to take a long hard look in the mirror.

There will be a painful struggle over which of the very different visions of England will prevail. We will have to forge an English identity that is open and inclusive, before racism and xenophobia rush to fill the vacuum.

Today we celebrate St George's Day. Already, thousands have paraded in the Black Country and the London Mayor has hosted a public banquet in Trafalgar Square. The day itself will see events taking place across England, reflecting a revival of interest and pride in English heritage and contemporary culture. Not so long ago, I would never fly the St George's Flag.

Like many others, I associated it too strongly with football hooliganism and the Islamophobia of the English Defence League. Today, England is beginning a journey to build a national identity that is civic and welcoming, reclaiming our flag from this narrow section of our society.

I believe that England can and will do this. In fact, I believe the only way to achieve this future is to bring democracy closer to the people in England, which means challenging the power of the capital and devolving more decision-making to the rest of the country. We cannot do this as part of a Union that is inherently undemocratic.

I'll be sad to leave London, but not because I'll be leaving the "centre of Britain". I'm convinced I'll receive a welcome from Scotland that puts the lie to accusations of anti-English sentiment among supporters of independence.

A Yes vote is not a betrayal of our common cause and future. It is a way of renewing our ties of friendship and support, giving us more control over our shared future. In these times of rapid cultural, economic and political change, the balance of power is shifting. I want to be on the side of those working to bring power closer to people. Whether you consider yourself to be English, Scottish or neither, that side is Yes.

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