I’ve debated with myself whether it’s appropriate to share my thoughts on the Referendum here or not and so far I haven’t. But while I don’t want to get into an argument I do want to reflect on the past few days.
In the early hours of Friday 19th, Scotland changed forever, and sadly, if the past couple of days are anything to go by, not for the better. I’m not talking about the actual outcome, but the divisions that have sprung up. People arguing about who is and isn’t a “true Scot”, the rhetoric of calling people “the 45” or “the 55” (the latter usually prefaced by “cowardly”), even going so far as insinuating that people over a certain age should lose their vote. Worst of all, perpetuating the hatred by sharing unverified stories and rumours, particularly on Friday night when a very small group of (let’s be honest here) pissed up hooligans kicked off in Glasgow. Sharing these stories and saying “I’m not saying all no voters are like this but…” has all the sincerity of the phrase “I’m not racist but [insert racist comment here]”. I even saw one post where someone compared George Square to Tiananmen Square. I can’t even begin to get into how illogical and offensive that is.
This is still a time when we can demand great change. We have not lost anything here. We can embrace the new challenges we face, or we can get sucked into in-fighting and bitterness. I know which I’d prefer. Simply by having this referendum, we’ve inspired the rest of the UK (and the world) to expect better from their government. To the people saying that this was a once in a lifetime opportunity, I say that this is simply not true. We haven’t given up any rights here and I don’t believe that even with new leadership the SNP will drop the policy of independence. In fact we should remember that we are extremely fortunate that we can vote, so fortunate that many people don’t even bother. So let’s keep this momentum for change going and turnout in our millions. Can you imagine the upset if the SNP, or another party can convert this week’s result into actual support? As the three main political parties in the UK merge into each other, we can shore up the left-leaning, progressive alternative so desperately needed by the whole of the UK.
We are one Scotland for a’ that.
See you at the polling stations on May 7th.