“Quite the little joiner, aren’t we?”
It’s a line that Baby’s sister Lisa says to her in the adolescence-defining film Dirty Dancing. She’s not admiring Baby’s handiwork in the shelving department – instead, she’s mocking her willingness to join every group going at their holiday camp. Of course, we the viewers know that Baby is actually using these groups as cover to sneak off and snog Patrick Swayze, and who on earth could blame her for that?
Anyway, I am a bit of a serial joiner myself. Clubs that I have enthusiastically joined and quickly slunk away from include a hillwalking group, numerous writing societies and, worst of all, an East Timor Support Club when I was in first year at uni. I swear I did join because I was appalled at the atrocities in East Timor, but I may also have been swayed by the chocolatey eyes and luscious dark locks of the man who ran it. I know. Shameful. I was only seventeen, in my defence. Still, not my finest hour.
Joining things has been on my mind a lot lately, since the launch of the laudable Women for Independence group. I was invited to join, which I was pleased about both because the group involves lots of women I respect and also because I am always pitifully happy to be asked to join anything, having been your stereotypical last-to-be-picked-for-everything geek in my schooldays.
Nonetheless, I have declined. Mostly because I am not one hundred per cent sure that I am in favour of independence, and I don’t want this to be yet another group that I leap feet-first into and then paddle away from sheepishly.
I am attracted to the idea of living in a small, modern North European country with a general tendency to vote for progressive left-of centre policies and no compulsion to try to flex any international muscle. More so than to the notion of living in a more populous, often US-focused nation that needs to maintain its position as a global power and comes with the constant threat of a right-wing government that will prioritise private benefit over public good.
But we are protected by the Scottish Parliament – so do we need all the upheaval that independence would bring? And how would it work? What would our currency be? What about my pension? Would we still get the BBC? Who would get the oil? Would there be enough jobs?
With so many questions, I don’t feel ready to join WFI at the moment. Yet I am haunted by a vision of a future me, with a fictitious child hanging off my knee, asking, “So what did you do in the independence campaign, mummy?” And me answering shamefacedly, “Well, I faffed about, wrote a few blogs and generally took no part at all in the whole shebang”.
It’s not really the stuff of family legend, is it?
For the moment, I wish the campaigners well, I look forward to taking part in their consultations, and I envy them their decisiveness. Whether I will eventually join them is still unknown.