We chatted about schools and Scotland and ourselves (imagine that!) and, obviously, the kids.
One of her little boys is going through a tricky phase. He is constantly pushing the boundaries, trying to break away by, literally, running away from the family.
She wondered if she was doing anything wrong. She most certainly is not. She sets clear boundaries. She listens. She and her husband make it clear the relationship with the kids is what it is – a parent-child relationship. It is clear to all but the little boy that, eventually, as he progresses towards adulthood, him and his Mum will be a great team and be able to work in partnership together.
We chatted about the odd families who rarely set boundaries or who never make time to listen to the kids. At least we aren’t that dysfunctional.
We then got on to us and smiled at how it would be nice if people listened to what we Mums had to say now and again – standard mother type banter.
As we moved on to chatting about Scotland, we discussed how we were fearful of our union breaking up. But we did understand in part how the ‘Yes’ voters might be feeling.
Here, finally, was an opportunity to break away from a Westminster that has been acting too long as dysfunctional parent. Until very recently, that partnership approach was feeling a long way off.
Regardless, I still heaved a massive sigh of relief to awake to news that Scotland had decided to vote ‘No’. However, there is no doubt that the whole process to get to that vote has been truly inspiring.
The Scottish people have shown that we, the electorate, need and deserve and have a democratic given right to be listened to. And, more than just being listened to, we need politics to move towards a two-way conversation between the electorate and our elected representatives.
We don’t need politicians acting like dysfunctional parents, claiming to act in our best interests while actually just making their own lives easier. We don’t even need a more healthy parent/child relationship. We need a partnership. And it is long overdue.
The Scottish people made good use of our open democracy and fulfilled their side of the partnership – they turned up, they voted, they got stuck in, they kept the peace. We all of us need to learn from that. If we don’t even speak, if we don’t vote, how can we expect anyone to listen?
Thanks to Scotland, the whole process of this campaign, and the ‘No’ that they decided on, I hope finally we can move Great Britain’s democracy to the next level – a proper partnership.
That is what will keep this big, amazing, diverse family together. Perhaps it will stop the frustrated electorate feeling they have no way to express their fury at the status quo other than breaking away.
As far as the UK is concerned, we are long overdue that move to partnership. But perhaps it is finally on its way.
From two Mums in a cafe, we are looking forward to being listened to.
Thank you Scotland.
*De-caffinated. No word of a lie, I woke up this morning and the headache was gone!