Saturday, 14 June 2014


By Ben Palmer

Before I start, for fear of a cyber lambasting, it is imperative that I state that this is not a piece discussing the pros and the cons of Scottish Independence.

Neither is this a statement of which side of the referendum I will vote for. For this piece, that is irrelevant.

I make these points, because it is becoming increasingly palpable that any addition to this debate is met with a flurry of coarse derision.

Whether it be the Better Together or Yes campaign that is being vouched for, the hounds of the opposite movement snap immediately at the often innocent claims.

But, with No Grey Areas being a politically neutral website where all reasoned opinions are welcomed, I must add that I believe these refutes are being dealt out more frequently by the Yes campaigners. It is a subliminal display of their excellent use of social media to group together the backers of Scottish Independence into one, passionate, bunch.

The Better Together campaign has been virtually non-existent in terms of public display, at least to my personal observations – their snapping is rather muted to that of the opposite, Nationalist, camp.

This brings me to the well documented donation of £1 million by Harry Potter author JK Rowling of her behemoth wealth to Better Together, something which should have been unanimously applauded.

Someone in the public eye openly stating which side of the debate she was on. She wasn't cowering away as so many others are. Except Sean Connery, of course, who swayed in with his part from his home in Monaco and a couple of Americans called Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

In the direct attention span of the UK, Rowling's donation wasn't even to the level of which the Yes campaign received from their most generous backers, the lottery winning Weir family, yet she has been met with the critique of a treason committing criminal.

Despite being told to: “F... off” a plethora of times on Twitter, to where exactly I'm not sure, the most ludicrous condemnation of her charity I saw was her being told that: “nae one gives a f... about why you think we're better together,” and to: “Piss aff.”

I can handle the poor grammar, we're all guilty of that on social media, but that one tweet sums up every single wrong about this debate.

Whilst Rowling put out her polished and stylish inclusion to the argument, she was met with dumbfounded criticism and lack of impartiality.

I'm not saying that someone's viewpoint cannot be questioned, or outright ridiculed, but a perfectly legitimate stance on a debate which will be strung-out and intricate, to be met with such venom, is wrong.

I understand that people desperately want Independence, and that others are 100% against so, but the lack of open-mindedness and willingness to accept that others have a viewpoint is worrying.

A debate is when opinions are battered back-and-forth, decorated with statistics and arguments. The Independence Referendum is referred to as a debate, but it is slowly becoming a brawl.

The Better Together and Yes movements obviously have a pair of stark wants, but there needs to be a degree of discussion between those on either side of the Independence Referendum fence.

As there are so many stuck in the middle, the fence may be better referred to as a wall to hold up all the bodies for which the two campaigns are battling for. But for those perched on it, there is no authentic opportunity to weigh-up the pros and cons. You must join a camp, get stuck in the crossfire or forever hold your peace.

This is the most important decision to happen to my country since I've been born, and with little over three months until the big day, it looks as though instead of a split union, we may end up as a split Scotland with enough stuck in the middle to make Humpty Dumpty feel awkward and nervous.

The result that determines this split? I hope it isn't both.