One of the pleasures of being a travel writer is not only getting to see the world as it is, but in the glimpses we get of how the world could be.
On September 18th 2014, Scotland will be making a monumental decision on whether to leave the United Kingdom and become its own sovereign nation.
The relationship between England and Scotland is as complicated as their history is long; naturally the referendum debate reflects this. All across Scotland a carpet of grassroots initiatives have sprung up to support a Scottish ‘Yes’ vote. This is in vivid contrast to the Better Together campaign, which resembles more the traditional election machine
Scotland Yet is a crowdfunded film freshly released from the independence camp. Tellingly, the internet-financed nature of the film underscores the grassroots sentiment that resonates through it.
Through director Jack Foster’s eyes we are introduced to a broad spectrum of voices favourable to the ‘Yes’ vote, from human rights lawyers and politicians to folk singers and activists.
It is this breadth that is impressive. Scotland Yet is a film intent on portraying a Scotland that is broader than just the voting centres of Edinburgh and Glasgow. Visually, we are treated to the crashing coast roads of Islay to the sweeping hills of the Highlands as we are led through many of the key points of Independence, popping numerous misinformation bubbles along the way.
The movie pulls no punches and portrays the independence argument sincerely and with great credence. The film, as with the independence argument it seeks to represent, assigns great weight to the human rather than to the economic. Working heavily with music and song, Foster weaves together a natural Scottish lyricism with the hard politics of the debate, a poignant riposte to the often negative, purely fiscal arguments of the Better Together Campaign.
It is a reminder that nations are the sum of its people, not simply the sum of its treasury.
Scotland Yet, is a moving argument for a strong and independent Scotland. If it lacks anything it is opposing voices in favour of a ‘No’ vote. The movie does endeavour to speak with the head of the Better Together campaign but the attempt amounts to little more than door-stopping the man like a common tabloid journalist and was destined to fail.
Yet in a movie of only 90 minutes it is, of course, impossible to do justice to both sides of a complex debate and Foster makes the right decision to maintain the bulk of his attention on the push for independence. As such, we get a thoughtful and passionate image of what Scotland is, and what a ‘Yes’ vote means, from the diverse voices of the ‘Yes’ campaign.
Laden with hope and determination, Scotland Yet is a poetic and political portrayal that engages the head as much as the heart. It will resonate with ‘Yes’ voters and should be vital viewing for those yet to make up their mind on the new future of their ancient country.