Dear People of Scotland

Alex Mitchell

Political observer and current affairs addict. Northumbria University graduate. Opinionated, my aim is to fuel debate. My favourite questions in life are Why? How? And What? My Favourite answers tend to start with It depends or Yes & No.

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I am writing to the 4,285,323 eligible voters in today’s historic vote. Not to try and persuade you to vote ‘Yes’ or ‘No’, but to encourage you not to sit back and watch history pass you by. Cast your vote and encourage others to as well.

It may only be one question that you are asked today, ‘Should Scotland become an independent country?’ with only a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ reply – but goodness me it’s a big question, and your answer is even bigger!

I do not begrudge you the referendum. I am all for self-determination if it is indeed what the people want. What I would hate to see is a low turnout and thus having a decision either way based on a majority of a minority. This vote before you is not like any other person – you can’t sit this one out and wait for the next one to come along as there won’t be another.

Should you vote ‘yes’, then the drive along the roadmap to independence would begin straight away, and this drive is along a one-way road.

Should you vote ‘no’, then you will still remain a part of the United Kingdom – however this commitment to the union would not go unnoticed, with the promise of greater autonomy on offer.

To the 4,410,288 16 and 17 year olds taking part in their first vote, I say do not delay. It is unprecedented and hugely important that you make your voices heard, for it is you and the generations to follow who will live with the lasting effects of the result.

I remember my first vote and I’m jealous of you getting this historic referendum as your first. Mine was a European Election. When I cast my ballot I felt part of something big, taking part in society, performing my civic duty.

If you are thinking that this vote doesn’t affect you then think again. Both sides throughout the campaign have been spreading their messages, their promises. Listen, discuss, think, and don’t rush it. Don’t think that politics in general doesn’t affect you. Politics determines the spending of social services such as health, education, defence, welfare. It determines the taxes you pay. Politics affects you from the moment of birth right the way through to death.

I would also urge you to vote purely on the best interests of Scotland and its people. Please don’t make this vote about the political establishment. As Cameron put it ‘Don’t vote yes to give the effing Tories a kick’. This is not a vote for or against the Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, Ed Milliband or Alex Salmond. That vote is next year in May. This vote will have ramifications beyond the Cameron Premiership in Number 10. Under the roadmap to Independence it is possible that Alex Salmond could be booted out of office before Scotland breaks away as an independent state. So please do not make this a battle of personalities as they are just the faces of opposing ideas.

Go and be a part of history. Go out and vote.

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