As a boy born in Berwick-upon-Tweed, I grew up with stories of Berwick being torn apart in battles between the English and the Scots and with the streets running with blood.
In the 1950s I watched the war over the division of North and South Korea, followed in the 1960s by North and South Vietnam. Then division in Ireland resulted in me twice narrowly escaping death by bombing in London.
Then I watched Israel and Palestine, the break-up of Yugoslavia, division in North and South Sudan, potentially Ukraine and of course the current heartbreak in Syria.
On the other hand, unification between East and West Germany brought one of the most emotional sights of my life when the infamous Berlin Wall came down, with resulting social and economic harmony.
Meanwhile, here in Scotland, families and friends are now falling out in the pursuit of division at all costs and I’m listening to the frankly embarrassing and deplorable personal insults being hurled by our so-called leaders over accents and even where someone went to school – all in the apparent pursuit of division and the emphasis on differences. It is bullies who create conflict – good leaders try to encourage harmony and to celebrate differences.
Be warned: history teaches us that division brings conflict, but unification can bring stability and relative happiness.
I was encouraged to read the timely letter warning of the possible risks of division within Scotland over the issue of independence.
The attitude that “true Scots vote Aye” is, frankly, frightening, if not insulting, to us all. Nationalism can be a dangerous road to follow when based heavily on the personal ambitions of politicians, rather than on statesmen or on the will of the people.
The situation in the former Yugoslavia should not be forgotten, and notice should be taken of the situation in Ukraine – strong, self-serving political factions carving up countries to their own satisfaction and benefit with possible disastrous results, leading to generations of division amongst the populace.
Sure, we can be concerned about the value of any currency we might end up with, and true, we can view with scepticism the varying promises about oil, health and the like, but at the end of these years of stagnation and indecision caused by the unending political arguments, can we but hope that we will not be worse off whatever?
More years of uncertainty we do not need, petty nationalism we do not need, and personal political ambition we most certainly do not need.
Oh, that common sense may prevail, and the way of life we have now might be seen as worth holding onto, and not demeaned and thrown out by political gesturing.