Today saw the start of the Scottish independence campaign, a movement which, if successful in 2014, will see Scotland leave the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and become a self-governing nation once again, for the first time since the 1707 Act of Union was enacted. The "Yes" campaign website formally launched today at www.yesscotland.net, with the BBC coverage of the launch event at www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-18162832
There's lots of work ahead on the political front for the independence movement, and the unionist case gets underway next month, which will no doubt be equally rigorous. It promises to be a fascinating two years ahead.
Having spent roughly a third of my life living in Northern Ireland, a third of it in England and a third in Scotland, I am minded towards Scottish independence for many reasons. From a genealogist's point of view, whether Scotland goes independent or not is almost irrelevant, as my daily work deals with our lives in the past, and that will always have been dominated politically by the union. As a father of two small boys, however, with an eye to their future, it's a very different story. For the past few years, Scotland has increasingly felt like a nation in transition, increasingly confident to follow its own path no matter what the rest of the UK has chosen to do.
Scotland will always be in Britain, and as such will always be British, with much in our shared history to admire. On a personal note, to the day I die I will maintain that there has never been a finer moment in the island's history than the Battle of Britain, fought predominantly in the south-east of England in 1940, the outcome of which would have had grave consequences for us all if it had been different. But whilst the past can be a great place to find comfort, there is also the here and now, and the future to consider. Where our future lies is now the biggest political question faced by my generation, and I am very much looking forward to the debate.