The telephone rang this afternoon the voice on the other end asked me who I was voting for in the up and coming Scottish Referendum on Independence. I must confess that I groaned within myself. I thought, is there no place to hide from this ongoing debate ? Regardless of where you go in Scotland you can’t escape from the question, “ Are you voting yes or no ? “ It’s everywhere, on the television, on the radio, on the street. 97% of the electorate, it is pro ported, have registered to vote. People want change.
The thing of course is that while we have to make our minds up we don’t need to tell anyone how we intend to vote or have voted. However you’d think by the actions of some people they had a right to know our mind on the matter. Keeping your counsel to yourself might be a wise idea when your out and about tomorrow indeed when your on Facebook or any of the social media sites.
The great principle of a secret ballot is part of our democratic tradition in these islands, and it is a principle we should guard and protect. It seems to me, in many cases, that principle has been somewhat overshadowed by the actions of pollsters and media pundits who, in seeking to create a story, place members of the public under pressure to reveal their voting position. This also begs the question, could the over plerieration of media end up distorting the truth of what is really going on in the nation?
Now when it comes to those involved with canvasing, the so called "Party Persuaders" , they should be careful that the message they want the public to hear is not overshadowed by the messengers. The problem is that often if the messenger is disliked the message is disregarded. Too many protagonists on each side of the debate have lost my attention because they drew attention to themselves and I missed the point of their message. Thetre is truth in the idea the medium is the message.
I’ve been thinking when the votes are counted, could the commentators be surprised? Much of the information they have received from the electorate may well be misinformation. In other words, the electorate may well be saying, they don’t know, simply because they don’t wish anyone else to know how they intend to vote. So, did I tell the person on the phone how I was going to vote? Of course not; I bored them for five minutes highlighting the virtues of the secret ballot.
Whatever the out come, we all need to recognise God is neither a Unionist nor a Nationalist he is our Father who takes great delight in his children, especially when they wrestle over issues of justice, equality and compassion. The prophet Micah summed it up as follows: “He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God?”
If Scotland and the rest of the UK genuinely are seeking justice and 97% of the electorate have registered because justice is a core principle burning in their hearts. I would say watch out Revival is closer to all of us than we may imagine. You see it is not a political policy that will change our nation. It is the personal policies of all our hearts. Willy Mason in his brilliant song' Oxygen' sums it all up for me on the eve of this rather important moment in our nation’s history. Have a listen and if you like it pass the song on.