Independent Thoughts

I’m not too proud to admit that the referendum result has left me feeling a bit broken. On Friday after a hellish day at work trying hard not to thrown my computer across the room in a fit of apoplectic rage, I paused and took stock after cycling part of the way home. Looking across over the mountainous sprawl of the Highlands, afternoon sun dappling the Firths I finally let go and broke down. Bubbling like a five year old I grieved for a lost opportunity and for a country that has been cynically manipulated by the mainstream media, big business and the Westminster establishment.

I dared to hope, but that hope was left in tatters on Friday morning as the final stark result flashed up on my phone via the BBC app (that I will be uninstalling later).  I’d gone to bed after the Clackmannanshire poll had come in, a knot in my stomach forming shortly after a friend texted 'It doesn't look good'. Irrationally I thought that if I slept through it the result would magically come good in the morning. Why prolong the torture?

55% voted to keep Scotland in the United Kingdom. Two million people. Many of whom have succumbed to what Anas Sarwar coined ‘Project Fear'. 55% were the first in modern political history to vote against their own country’s Independence. 45% are licking their wounds and wondering ‘what next’, whilst the 55% seem... well, not really that fussed at all. Aside from the reprehensible acts of a few Neanderthals dressed up as Unionists (they’re not representative of any of the decent people I know who voted ‘No’) nothing much has happened. The promised ‘vow’ looks to be dead in the water with Miliband already saying he’s going to back out and apparently has better things to do than worry about Devo Max. Even if a statement is released on Monday, Tory backbenchers have already threatened to rebel and block any changes. The always delightful Nigel Farage wants the Barnett formula to change if not binned entirely and meanwhile the thousands who dared to hope are staring at Billions of pounds of further cuts by Westminster full in the face.

The ‘Yes’ campaign wasn’t always perfect and there were a few inconvenient truths out there that surely held us back. The issue over currency was a definite weakness and of course Better Together spotted that and exploited it for all it was worth.

Although the Better Together campaign were far from perfect either.

Much of their own rhetoric was patronising and neatly summed up by the bewildered ‘Patronising BT Lady’ who had most of us looking on in astonishment as this so called ordinary mum passively decided it was all too much like hard work to put any real thought into the matter. 

Food prices would go up, they proclaimed in leaflets sent to households. Tesco, Morrisons, Aldi, Lidl publicly rebutted this. That didn’t stop the leaflets being sent out again with the same statement left in. Pensions would be in danger. Expect they wouldn’t, and this from the DWP in Whitehall. Certainly they would have been no more uncertain than they are presently.

If that wasn’t bad enough, Johann Lamont claimed that those of us who would vote yes were akin to a ‘virus’ and that Scots weren’t genetically predisposed to managing their own affairs. UKIP had an opinion, but then again even they were declared persona non grata by the Better Together campaign and frankly the malodorous David Coburn MEP doesn't deserve any more time spent on him so I'm not going to bother repeating his bile. It's all on Twitter if you're desperate to see it.

So where does that leave us? We’re tired, we’re emotional and we’re frustrated. But I’m not going to stop believing that we’re best managing our own affairs and I certainly do not believe Westminster’s timetable of events for further devolution. And it’s not like they’re sticking to that are they? Milliband is already indicating that he’s not keen and yesterday’s announcement was missing, presumed forgotten about.

Let me be clear, the 2 Million people who voted ‘No’ don’t deserve vilification, I don’t blame some of those for being sucked into the barrage of pro Union propaganda and fear mongering by the mainstream media and I don’t blame them for making a choice that they believed was the right one at the time, even if I and 1.6 Million others might vehemently disagree. 

I cried yesterday, my wife cried and many more of my friends have cried over this result. On reflection, daft as it might sound, this is a good thing. Think about it, people have got so emotionally involved in a political process that they broke down in tears when the result didn’t go their way. Can you honestly remember the last time that happened?

We need to channel that energy and move forward, The National Collective aren’t going to quit, the burgeoning 45 Movement is inspiring people to keep the candle burning and groups like Women for Independence and the Radical Independence Campaign don’t look like they’re going anywhere anytime soon.

Two years ago according to the polls we started with 25% support for Independence. On Thursday we got 45%.  1.6 Million of us want change on our terms and I suspect many of those who voted No wanted that too but just needed further convincing.

There’s still work to be done, who’s in?


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