Monday, 22 September 2014

Scottish Referendum Reflections

Thank you to everyone who commented on my previous Referendum posts. Whether you were pro, anti or just generally supportive I have loved having your thoughts on this moment in my country's history.

I'd planned to post on Friday evening but, as often happens life got in the way. My Mother became suddenly very ill that morning and she became my priority. She required admission to hospital but thankfully she has improved even though we only have a presumptive diagnosis. She is still not entirely 'right' but I am just so grateful she is better than she was as the situation was looking grim.

Anyway, to wind up my posts on the Referendum here are my thoughts and reflections on the result. On Thursday night I stayed up until the first result came in. When Clackmannanshire returned a No majority I went to bed with a feeling of foreboding and was not entirely surprised at the overall result. Predominantly, I just felt an overwhelming sadness at an opportunity lost and a slight touch of relief that the necessary upheaval to effect that change would not be happening. I was also sad to see Alex Salmond resigning as I was beginning to develop a grudging respect for his political astuteness and skills. Though this may simply be him manoeuvring Nicola Sturgeon into place.

Two days on I still feel slightly saddened by the result but given how close it actually came in the end I believe there will be a resurgence of interest. I am amazed that Glasgow, which is a staunch generations' old Labour heartland and proportionally the largest council, achieved a Yes majority. I think enthusiasm for independence will return and that this has been a staging post towards Scotland becoming an Independent nation. SNP probably lost predominantly on the financial uncertainty and I would imagine the next time if this aspect is nailed down then the outcome may be different.

I completely reject the notion that 'healing' needs to occur between the two sides of the debate and between Scotland and the rest of the UK. I have not had a cross word with anyone online or in real life during this whole time. This is what democracy is, the answer was No, and we move forward on that basis. If you are grown up enough to vote then you make your peace with it and move on. I was saddened to see that the warm and fuzzy geniality in George Square on the eve of the Referendum was replaced after the result by vile, neo-Nazi, sectarian characters spreading their own brand of hatred and pack mentality. These looked to be the kind of amoral nutters who exploit any opportunity for foaming at the mouth mob based hatred irrespective of the 'cause'.

I found it quite strange that older voters were more heavily balanced towards No despite having probably benefitted most from the health and social care reforms enacted by the devolved Scottish government so far. I am acutely aware of this as I don't know how I would have coped to fund and manage my mother's continuingly complex care needs since 2006 had I lived elsewhere in the UK. Perhaps older voters felt more aligned to the idea of the union from past associations, wars and industries or just less inclined towards change. This might be why younger voters were skewed towards independence.

So, having had a No majority we now proceed towards the Unionist utopia of maximal devolution, or devo-max. This apparently promises greater powers for the devolved Parliament over taxation and decision-making for issues impacting Scotland. One of the most persuasive drives towards a further referendum might result from how well the Westminster government delivers on their alleged promises of devo-max, or not. I am cynical that three party leaders who clearly loathe and distrust each other can deliver, but we'll see.

The Prime Minister has opened the floodgates by suggesting that far from Scotland being the prodigal child he is widening the scope to ensure all parts of the UK will be given devolved powers. I agree entirely that this is right but it does make me laugh; instead of upholding the Union as something cohesive and homogenous he's proposing dividing up the very union he was advocating....??!

So, far from being the divisive nationalists portrayed as shunning their kindred UK brethren, Scotland has actually shone a light on the political inequalities of the dislocated Union and created a vehicle for improvement for all the four countries of the UK. Any chance the political parties will acknowledge this, or is it just easier to blacken the name of the upstart haggis bashers.....? (answers on a postcard or sealed down envelope on this one...!).

It has been fascinating for me to be involved in this Referendum, even if getting to a final decision was a tortured journey. I have seen myself move from a careless No to a thoughtful Yes who felt that Independence was, and is, something worth having. Maslow's Hierarchy places Esteem and Self-Actualisation at the top of the pyramid of growth in humans yet we settled for a Sense of Belonging. I hope that this 'sense of belonging' proves to be for the greater good of the nations of the United Kingdom.


  1. I think what we should be seeking is independence in union. I'm glad that the referendum has highlighted issues of equality and made central government offer a lot more self governance but I hope this is carefully and fairly worked out across the country. As a northerner I'd welcome a chance to treat the area as having different needs and priorities from the south.

  2. Sorry to hear about your Mum...we followed the events on the link to the paper until we were too tired..I was shocked at the results from Glasgow too.
    Jane x

  3. Sorry to hear that your Mum has been ill, I hope that she will be much better soon. Take care there won't you. xx

  4. I bet you are just so happy it is all over, even if you are not happy with the result, or maybe just perplexed by the result. After an election here it is such a relief for the the bashing and negativity to end. I am not like the winner, but at least it is over.


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