How Scottish am I?

You would think after spending more or less three decades in the country there would be a little tartan in my blood by now. But I'm not sure. I still can't stand Irn-Bru, square sausage or Peter Howson. I still spell whiskey the wrong way (1). I listen to football on Radio 5 Live rather than Radio Scotland, and I don't tend to come over all tearful when Braveheart's on the telly (2).

The fact is, I'd fail any Caledonian version of the Norman Tebbit sporting test. My football team is English, my national team is Northern Ireland and I cheer on Ireland in the rugby. And I'm not even bothered if Andy Murray wins Wimbledon again or not. Frankly, I'm surprised I haven't been deported by now.

Loading article content

Then again, I've never really thought about leaving. Oh, we had a couple of years in the north-east of England back in the mid-nineties. J loved it but I was always pining for the Firth of Forth. Is it possible daughter number one was my cunning plan to move us northwards again? Possibly not. J may have had some say in the matter, now I come to think of it. Still, the thought crossed my mind.

Anyway, the point of all this is, whether Scottish or not, I live here, I've no plans to move and inevitably - given the political import of 2014 - I've been giving some thought to the place I want to live in. In short, I've been thinking of which way I should vote in the independence referendum.

I like to think you've all been waiting desperately to hear my opinion on the matter before you yourself decide. I mean, you can only get so far by reading Ian Bell and Iain Macwhirter. They'll give you the context and the arguments and the thought-through positions. Me, I'm more the guy you go to when you want vague. I do great vague. Add fuzzy to that and you've nailed the range and scope of my political thinking.

Even so, vague and fuzzy is still allowed a vote and I'm voting Yes (3). There you go. Given the reach and the clout of this column I'm expecting to see a huge swing in the polls in the next few days. Probably in favour of No, right enough.

But I am voting Yes because I want to live in a country unshackled from the failing Westminster model. A country that can shape its future as progressive and liberal, one that doesn't pick on the poor or the sick or the unemployed but supports them. That's the country I want to live in. My only worry is that someone will make The Proclaimers' 500 Miles the new national anthem. Because I can't stand that either.


[1] And if the word comes up I still immediately think of Old Bushmills, not Glenfiddich.

[2] ET gets me every time, though.

[3] I've got the right question, haven't I?