I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but something big is happening in Scotland at the moment. A long-promised referendum is happening on the 18th of September, asking one question of the populace: “Should Scotland be an independent country?”
Now, I’ve made my decision, and I’ve voted already (the joys of a postal vote), so I can watch things ramp up in the last week or so of campaigning with a certain level of detachment. I’m a voter – I’ve always voted, and always will, as too many people fought too hard for me to gain that basic right of self determination for me to give it up because of silly issues like the polling station being inconveniently located, or because it’s raining. But there’s something different about this referendum, that sets it apart from all the previous elections of all types that I’ve voted in.
The difference is, that people now seem to think they have a right to know what your choice has been, and it’s not the people who live in Scotland who’re asking. They’re often polite, and interested, but…I’m just not used to having people (both close friends and acquaintances) think they have some right to know my vote. I’m usually polite and just deflect the question, although if I think the person’s not going to rant at me about my choice, I may well share it, but I was brought up to believe that what you voted was your personal choice, and not something that other people should ever ask of you.
So, when did we all become so crass as to feel it was OK to ask others about how they have or will vote? When did my political choice flip from being private to being something that other think they have a right to know about? Is this going to happen in the next General Election in 2015? Will people be asking each other about their voting intention beforehand, and jeering them for it after?
Where did our political politeness go?