Two Voices: After the Scottish vote, how does the UK move forward as one?

Two Voices: After the Scottish vote, how does the UK move forward as one?

Two Voices
Two Voices

Q: After the narrow ‘No’ vote in Scotland, how does the UK move forward as one? 

David Walsh says..

David Walsh
David Walsh

The day after the referendum, a Scottish Jewish friend who voted Yes was upset by the lack of empathy from her fellow Scots, with people telling her to “get over it”.

The campaign led to dizzying levels of political engagement for a generation accustomed to low turnouts and cynicism about the democratic process.

This excitement led to disappointment on the part of hundreds of thousands of people. So, what now for a nation divided? In Jewish tradition, we are told of Ahavat Yisrael, a love of Israel based on Jews as a people.

When it comes to love and brotherhood, one of the most famous mitzvot is love your neighbour as yourself (Lev. 19:18). Rabbi Akiva described this as the essence of the Torah.

We Jews have seen our fair share of communal strife and division, which can still be observed. But as Jews of all backgrounds and streams must learn to work together for the good of the wider community, Scots must now look to build a shared future.

Part of this process of reconciliation must include listening to the pain, expectations and hopes of others. Moving on means embracing difference.

Beit Hillel and Beit Shammai famously disagreed on a range of Halachic issues but continued to marry between schools, showing an overarching sense of unity. Both sides in the Scottish debate have much to contribute to the future of Scotland’s as a healed and rejuvenated nation.

• David Walsh is a member of Liberal Judaism’s Emerging Leaders Programme

Norman CraneNorman Crane says..

Individuals in our Edinburgh community and across the nation have taken part in debate and listened to arguments.

The intellectual argument has been won or lost, according to our point of view. It is time to put behind us the arguments and the feeling of division, with no sense of triumph or defeat.

We have a political framework where we must all collaborate in reconciliation and cooperation. There are many aspects of political life in which Yes or No are not the only ways to consider issues.

Many will find themselves sharing opinions across the divide. On both sides, people believed they were arguing in the best interests of Scotland. If the same energy is devoted to moving forward together, then the people of Scotland will gain.

Taking seriously both sides of the debate will go a long way to achieving national unity.

We can point to our own Jewish history. At the end of the Second Temple, there were many factions. Pharisees, Sadducees and Zealots vehemently, sometimes violently, opposed each other.

From the ashes of the Second Temple arose Rabbinic Judaism. The rabbis created the Talmud and debate is at its core. It is of the greatest importance that the opinions of all parties in the debate are recorded and valued, not just of those who win.

There is a sense of common endeavour, which shows a way forward for the politics of debate in Scotland.

• Norman Crane is chair of Sukkat Shalom, the Edinburgh Liberal Jewish Community

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