Scottish Independence: An emotional decision

The end is near. I have lived through one of the most extraordinary campaigns in Scottish history and tomorrow we will know the result of one of the most important votes ever in the history of Britain. A vote which will have implications for the whole world. It is a very emotional question. Let me share mine on this momentous day.

1) I feel sad 

If the Yes vote win I will feel really sad. It is desperately sad that Britain is within a whisker of ending. I believe that after the Second World War we largely turned away from the Christian foundations that made this nation great. How can we possibly expect the house to stand when the storm comes, if the foundations have gone?

If the No vote win – I will also feel sorrow. I don't believe Britain will have been saved. I still think the ship is going down and ironically I fear that if Scotland does not take this opportunity then the rest of the UK will lose out as well. The Establishment will still be entrenched and having had a narrow escape will ensure that any meaningful change will not occur. I will also feel sorrow for the tens of thousands of disenfranchised and disempowered poor who have become involved in this campaign and who see some hope for change in a Yes vote. It's as though they will have been told, crawl back to your drinks, drugs and 42 inch plasma TV's and leave the job of governing the country to the elites.

2) I feel apprehensive

Because we do not know what will happen. I find it strange that the No campaign have told us that we can have change and the land of milk and honey 'without risk' if we stay in the Union. Is that even possible? And I don't believe on the Yes side that independence will be the promised land either.

I am apprehensive about the abuse on the Yes side continuing. There are those who have invested so much of themselves, emotionally and in other ways in this whole campaign, that I fear there will be ongoing repercussions if the vote is No. There will be a lot of angry, hurt and disappointed people.

I am apprehensive about the abuse on the No side continuing. The No side like to suggest that it is the nasty nationalists who are not nice, and that they would never indulge in such bitterness. I'm afraid that is not true. What I have seen already in a raising of the emotional temperature when a Yes vote became possible, is nothing to what will happen if a Yes vote actually happens. There will be a lot of angry, hurt and disappointed people.

3) I feel angry

At the way we have been let down by generations of politicians who have allowed the gap between the governed and the governors to increase to an unsustainable level. I am angry at being patronised by George Osborne and others whose 'let them eat cake' attitude will ferment unrest and revolution. George Osborne's Treasury officials published a document telling us that voting 'no' would allow us to 'share a meal of fish and chips with your family every day for around ten weeks, with a couple of portions of mushy peas thrown in".

I am angry that David Cameron did not have devo-max on the ballot paper, and that it was suddenly offered days before the vote, with no guarantees.

I am angry at the cack-handed way the No campaign have worked Project Fear to death! They really do like running round warning people that the sky is about to fall down. It will be the end of Western civilization. We won't get pensions. We won't be able to visit family and friends in England. All Scots living abroad will no longer be Scottish. Supporting independence is a vote for Putin, Isis or the Chinese! Those of us who write daily letters to England will have our postage tripled. And we won't get to watch Dr Who!

In the these last days they have got so desperate that they are frantically trying to push the narrative that behind every Nationalist lies a Nazi. What happens is that even respectable Unionists start telling stories of posters being ripped down, and people using bad language or intimidating others. Then they move on from that to say 'if you support Scottish independence you are encouraging this kind of behaviour'. I have even been accused of encouraging anti-semitism because I wrote in favour of independence. It's the kind of ad hominem argument that Richard Dawkins uses when he implies that all Christians are responsible for Westboro Baptists.

I am angry that there are some Yes supporters who have soured what has been a largely positive and good natured exercise in real democracy. They infuriate me the way that a few Dundee football fans do when they chant their stupid chants and behave like morons. They affect the reputation of the whole club.

4) I feel surprised 

Firstly at the level of engagement. I have never seen anything like this. Literally in every town, village, and most interestingly of all, in every housing scheme.

I am surprised at how close the vote is. The received wisdom throughout the campaign was that the most likely result was a 60/40 split in favour of No. At the beginning of September The Guardian pointed out that the No vote were 14 per cent behind and that "public opinion tends to swing towards the status quo in the final weeks of referendum campaigns". How wrong they have proved to be! At the moment the polls are showing neck and neck, with No having a slight advantage.

What makes me doubt my prediction is the role of social media, the prospect of a high turnout and how many new voters have registered to vote Yes. If the Labour vote continues to collapse then the Union will be in real trouble. On the other hand all the pollsters and pundits could be sitting on Friday morning with egg on their faces if No romps home by 20 per cent!

I am surprised that the No campaign has been such a disaster. Last week in the centre of Dundee I was handed various No leaflets. One headlined 'Don't trust Salmond's lies'. Another, 'If you don't know, vote No'. Negative and appealing to ignorance. On the other hand the Yes campaign gave me leaflets with titles like 'Your choice – opportunities in an independent Scotland'. Although in principle I am for independence it is not an absolute principle and I could have been swayed either way. Indeed at one point in the campaign I was almost persuaded to change.

There has been one other big surprise. In this campaign I have come to realise just how much some Christians tie their Christianity in with their politics. There is a significant proportion of the British church which seems to think that Christian Britain still exists and that to be British is to be Christian, and to be Christian is to be British. I am really surprised at how many people treat this as a moral and doctrinal issue. Numerous people have written to me and said that I am going against God's Word because I am for divorce (I struggle to see why the Bibles teaching about divorce and marriage has anything to do with constitutional arrangements of nation states), that I am playing into the hands of the secularists, and questioned both my intelligence and my spiritual condition. There have been some veiled hints that my ministry would be considered 'unsound', and that I would not be invited to meet the 'right sort' of people in the right sort of places. Too bad. My personal political views are not those of either Solas or the Free Church – both of whom do not equate the Gospel with one political stance.

5) I feel hopeful and joyful 

I believe that a nation should be governed by its citizens. And if Scotland ends up independent I am hopeful that in the providence of God, it will turn out to be a good thing.

I am hopeful and joyful because it is a privilege to live in a country where we can have such a deep, important and impassioned argument and not kill one another. We don't live in Ukraine, Syria or Gaza. No-one has been killed here. Despite the passions and some nastiness overall the debate has been a fantastic one for Scotland. But as Gerry Hassan pointed out in Prospect magazine –

"This is a peaceful debate, and even more importantly, it reveals a public and political culture. The old institutional carve-ups and assumptions are being challenged, and a country is maturing, growing up, and collectively deciding to stop blaming others (the Tories, Westminster) and start to take responsibility. Whatever some of the campaign rhetoric, that is an impressive and fundamental shift which will last long after the vote."

I am hopeful and joyful because even if Scotland remains in the UK, we still have the Good News to proclaim to the poor. The real Good News. Far more revolutionary and radical than any political change.

6) I feel peaceful 

I know this is a contradiction to the point about feeling apprehensive and anxious. But we are talking about emotion here – and who of us does not have a heart full of contradictory emotions?!

I am at peace because I know that God is sovereign, he already knows the result, and whatever that result he has called us to proclaim the Gospel of peace to all.

That is why it is imperative that those of us who are Christians do precisely that. We are to bring peace. Despite what I have said above about the overall positive aspect of the debate, there are a lot of raw emotions, whatever the result. We need to be sure that we don't inflame them, and that we remind people not to put their trust in politicians.

The Conclusion?

My heart tells me to vote no. My head tells me to vote Yes. I will go the rational route. But I believe that whatever the result, our nation, whether Scotland or the UK, will be ruined unless there is a return to that 'righteousness which exalts a nation.

And that's why the most important thing we can do is pray:

1 Timothy 2: I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone— 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all men—the testimony given in its proper time. 7 And for this purpose I was appointed a herald and an apostle—I am telling the truth, I am not lying—and a teacher of the true faith to the Gentiles." Amen.

David Robertson is the director of SOLAS and a minister in Dundee.