5 years ago to-day was the last day of campaigning, before voting started in the Scottish Independence Referendum. Looking back, it is a bittersweet memory.
It was a most exhilarating political experience. I made a whole host of new friends. It was marvelous being part of a movement that changed the country forever, and for the better. However, although my home area managed 57% Yes, nationally the independence vote didn't prevail.
Let's do it again.
On the Independence Referendum day (September 18, 2014) there wasn't any organising left to do. So, I spent the whole day (7am-10pm) standing outside a Polling Place, talking to voters.
I had a few boards next to me with Yes posters, including the one pictured. I still think this is one of the best ever campaign posters. A babies hand resting on an adult hand, with the slogan: "Scotland's future in Scotland's hands" & "Vote Yes". It still brings a tear to my eye.
Around this time 5 years ago I had finished my stint at the Polling Place, and collected the stats from the Returning Officer. I met up with my Yes colleagues, who had been at some of the other Polling Places.
During the day I had received many, many more positive reactions from the voters. My colleagues had experienced the same. We all felt happy.
I went to a friends house, who was also a Yes campaigner, to watch the results on TV. #Neachdainn came with me.
I went home, I was tired and dejected. I didn't realise worse was to come.
I didn't stay in bed long, I wanted to see the voting patterns across Scotland, and specifically for my home area. What I discovered was much more ominous.
George Square (Freedom Sq.) in Glasgow had been commandeered as a location for Yes supporters to gather, in the final weeks of the campaign. They were always joyous gatherings. On September 19, 2014 the joy was shattered by Nazi saluting Unionists.
Now that Scotland had voted No to independence, PM David Cameron didn't waste time setting his stall for constitutional change. As well as hailing the No vote he introduced EVEL (English Votes for English Laws):
"We have heard the voice of Scotland, and now the millions of voices of England must be heard..."
Erm, as England has 533 MPs out of a total 650, when is its voice not heard? In truth, Cameron was using this excuse to strengthen the position of the Tory party. What else?
As September 19, 2014 progressed, and the news about the disturbance in George Square & Cameron's EVEL sunk in, my mood began to change. My dejection began to evaporate, it was being replaced by renewed determination. I wanted to finish this thing we had started. I realised the referendum was a battle lost, not the war.
To my amazement I found others were thinking the same way. People were talking about Yes2 and StillYes. 5 years on and the movement is bigger and stronger than ever.
@fitheach That was horrifying to watch from afar. I can only imagine what it must've been like in Scotland.
TBF I wasn't in George Square, I only saw the video clips and photos as it happened. Obviously, not all "No" supporters are like that, but their campaign and ethos did attract that type. A lot of it has to do with "football" and sectarianism, the combination of which is much more prevalent in the west Central Belt (around Glasgow).
There is also an overlap between these No supporters and those wanting a hard Brexit, a kind of Empire attitude, if you like.
@fitheach oof... if the graffiti around edinburgh is anything to go off, those nazi cunts are even more emboldened now than they were 5 years ago
The whole topic is more "newsworthy", which probably increases the likelihood of graffiti. One of the side effects of the on-going Brexit "debate".
The slow, and inexorable, shift to the right in UK politics is normalising what would've been considered far-right only a few years ago. Expect this to continue.
@fitheach English devolution only makes sense when you completely break up England into smaller regions, EVEL was so overtly about anglo supremacy it was painful to observe
As I hinted at, but didn't have enough characters to explain further, EVEL strengthened the Tory position because the other countries return more opposition MPs. Sneaky. Make it sound something like devolution, but ensure a bigger Tory majority. Things didn't quite work out as he planned, but still...
@fitheach my entire lens for this was the division and aggro I witnessed on social media (if only I knew what Brexit would be like I'd have realised that this was nothing).
But didn't know anyone personally with a real opinion either way. My entire contribution was this 'hilarious' gag that Facebook has just reminded me about.
In the 2+ years that the campaign ran the worst thing that happened was Jim Murphy MP (Lab) got hit with an egg. The newspapers made out this single non-event was akin to the Boxer Rebellion. You could say they over-egged it. That said, any violence is unacceptable, whether eggs or milkshakes.
In comparison the events on September 19, 2014 were vile.
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