Respect other views on independence

On winning the lottery almost three years ago, we made a decision not to speak publicly about any aspect of our lives. We are not celebrities, politicians or public figures.

We try to live quiet, decent lives, just as we did before.

Our silence, though, has meant that, from time to time, we have been subjected to comment and speculation, the majority of it kind and generous, some of it mischievous or ill-informed and, occasionally, some of it has been downright nasty.

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But, in the words of one friend, we have “sucked it up” because those whose opinions matter to us know the truth. And we trust the public to 
recognise the difference between fact, speculation and idle gossip.

But even we have to say “enough” when we are denigrated in the most personal of ways.

We appreciate that not 
everyone shares our political view. That surely is the point of democracy.

And, in a democracy, we each have the right to support political campaigns of our choosing and to contribute financially, provided we do so in line with the rules.

As lifelong supporters of independence, it would be strange if we did not support the Yes Scotland campaign. So that is what we have done, nothing more and nothing less. No one bullied or targeted us, as has been suggested in recent newspaper articles.

The only “targeting” has been by an MSP who chose to express his “concern” for us by implying we have been, at best, naïve, and, at worst, duped.

Would he, we wonder, have felt the same concern had our contribution supported his cause?

The people of Scotland are not gullible. They aren’t going to vote based on how much money we have given to a particular campaign – they will make their decision based on being well-informed.

That’s why we made the donations we did, to ensure there was the chance of an informed debate. Beyond that, it’s up to the voting public to decide, not us – we only have two votes.

And on 19 September, irrespective of the outcome, we all have to live together. That will only be possible if both sides of the campaign, the politicians and the media take responsibility for their behaviour and language in the next few months.

They are the ones who will steer Scotland through this challenging period – we can’t have the possibility of leaving our country fragmented. So it is time for all sides to stop the smears and personal attacks before a line is crossed and 
attitudes adopted that cannot easily be healed.

No-one – on any side – should be vilified for the views they hold, lest our democracy become the victim of the present debate.

Differences can and should be expressed – but decently, with honesty and integrity. 

Our lives have been blessed with good fortune.

And we wish to live out our time in a happy and confident Scotland, one which respects and thrives on political differences.

Otherwise, in a race to the bottom of the political barrel, we will all be the losers.

Chris and Colin Weir