I wrote a couple of posts on my FB which have proved popular – so I have put them together here – for some more reflections on a truly historic day in Scotland. And strangely encouraging.
The deed is done. I voted. And for the first time in decades I feel that my vote actually counts and matters. Democracy has returned to Scotland. Nobody died. There were no riots. No-one invaded. There were no bombs. And my vote matters. I am elated.
My prediction – 55% No – 45% Yes. Why? Despite an incredibly successful campaign which panicked the Westminster Establishment into making lots of promises there are two main reasons. Firstly there are many people who love Scotland and who believe it is better that we are in the United Kingdom. I hope they are right, I fear they are not, but I respect and honour them. Secondly there are many others who just do not know, would like to be independent, but their fears will turn them away. On an issue of such importance when people go into the polling booths the inherent tendency is to go for what you think you know. When you are handed a leaflet saying vote No to save the NHS, your job, schools etc it will impact you. It is a very emotional argument. Thirdly virtually all the media and political establishment have been opposed to Independence – from the slight bias of the BBC to the disgusting bias of the Daily Mail (comparing Salmond to Hitler), the media and political establishments are united against Scotland governing itself. Obama and Clinton even leant a hand and shared with us their wisdom that Scotland should not separate. Let me add one caveat. It is possible that the pollsters and pundits have got it all wrong and that they have not taken into account the mass movement that this has become. Although even if has become 500,000 people that is only 10% of the population. So I think my prediction will stand.
I am a Calvinist. And I sleep like one. So I will go to bed tonight with a wee dram to celebrate my vote for democracy, knowing that when I wake up in the morning I will come down and hear the result. And then the real work begins (or more accurately continues).
By that I don’t mean that lovely sign in front of the Scottish Parliament just now which declares ‘The Beginning is Nigh’! Even though in my view many Scottish people have got a taste for democracy and after a No vote, some will disengage disillusioned, but others will continue and I can see Independence coming in ten years – unless there really is a reformation in Westminster. No what I mean is that the work of communicating the Good News to the people of Scotland, England, Ireland and Wales needs kickstarted again. That is what I am committed to. That is why I will head to Edinburgh Theological Seminary tomorrow to teach on church based persuasive evangelism, and then on Saturday speak at the Reason Conference in East Kilbride, and then on Sunday welcome Dundee University CU Freshers crawl to St Peters. The work goes on – whatever the political system. May God give myself and all His people, strength to continue that battle until the end. And may He grant the grace and mercy so that we may see revival and renewal of the Kingdom in all the kingdoms of these islands (whether United or not!).
My diary has today marked as ‘Independence Day’. I accept that is a bit optimistic and unlikely but nonetheless I am glad to have the opportunity to vote for a new start for Scotland (despite Gordon Brown telling me that I am not one of the ‘real people of Scotland’!). I believe that this country needs a new beginning, but I know that there are many of my friends and Christian brothers and sisters (who are also the ‘real people of Scotland) who will vote otherwise. And tomorrow we will all get on with the real work of the Kingdom. Together.
I don’t believe that the UK is eternal or that any choice we make today is eternal. There is only one choice that is eternal. Nevertheless today is important for the present and immediate future. The lot is cast, and is in the hands of the Lord. God is sovereign and our hope is in Him.
For me these words of Psalm 80 are appropriate for both Scotland and the UK.
1 Hear us, O Israel’s Shepherd, Joseph’s guide,
The one enthroned between the cherubim.
2 Show forth your splendour to the threatened tribes,
Manasseh, Benjamin and Ephraim.
Come to our aid, O God, stir up your might;
3 Restore and save us! Shed on us your light!
4 LORD God of hosts, when will your anger cease
To burn against the prayers of your folk?
5 For food and drink you give them endless tears;
6 You make our neighbours rage and enemies mock.
7 Come to our aid, O sovereign God of might;
Restore and save us! Shed on us your light!
15 This vine, this root, which by your own right hand
You planted for yourself, you now have spurned.
This branch, this son, whom you raised for yourself,
16 Has been cut down and in the fire is burned.
Your people—those whom for yourself you took—
Are perishing because of your rebuke.
17 Your hand place on the man at your right hand—
The son of man you raised up strong and true.
18 Revive us; then we’ll call upon your name,
And we will never turn away from you.
19 Come to our aid, O sovereign God of might;
Restore and save us! Shed on us your light!