The editorial suggests that there is an ideological vacuum at the heart of Scottish life and that Scottish separatism is a cause for concern because " it can look like a selfish and materialistic bid for full control of Scottish oil revenues, inevitably impoverishing the rest of Great Britain. if England owned such North Sea oil reserves it would be inconceivable for it to refuse to share its wealth with the Scots. It would be a tragedy if independence merely accelerated Scotland's progress towards an ever more secular and self-absorbed culture". Surely the editor cannot be serious? This has a paternalistic and racist tone to it and demeans not only Scotland, Scots but also the whole debate about independence.
An important conversation going on at the moment is about the kind of Scotland we want to live in. How is Scotland to live up to those values on the Scottish Mace: wisdom, integrity, justice and compassion? How is Scotland to be a just and equal society and how can we as both religious and non-religious people commit to the common good? It is the movement for independence that has allowed us to have these conversations and they are good conversations to have no matter what the outcome of the referendum. Scotland will be a better society for having been given the opportunity to talk about them.
The point I really find offensive is the suggestion that to be considering independence is selfish, materialistic and self-absorbed (while England is the opposite of this!) This, it seems to me, is rather a colonialist and superior attitude and one that has often been found in Christianity's relationship to other faiths. Interreligious Dialogue has taught me that it is possible to have a strong sense of one's own identity but be open to relationships with others. This is what I call an open identity and what Brian McLaren calls a strong and benevolent identity. None of us has an identity separate from that of others. As I have said before it is the very act of relating that gives us our identity and any person or nation that thinks it can live in isolation from others is deluded. To have pride in who we are but yet be open to the world around us and to working in partnership with them is the way of peace.
Scotland has as much right as other nations to consider running its own affairs but in doing so is capable (and willing) to enter into a relationship with the other nations in the British Isles, Europe and the rest of the world. Perhaps the editor of the Tablet has done more for the 'yes' campaign than she might imagine or desire.