Friday, 19 September 2014


Right now, I reckon I feel just about as low as it's possible to feel, short of suffering a bereavement. Last night, we had a once in a lifetime chance to make a fresh start, and we threw it away.

Well, 45% of us took that chance. The other 55% decided, for a variety of reasons that are their own, to endorse the status quo. The majority, I'm sure, did so because they genuinely believed it to be the best thing for the country, and I really, REALLY hope they're right. But I can't shake the feeling that in doing so, they implicitly voted for a future that consists of more austerity, food banks, privatisation of the Welfare State, the House of Lords, an undemocratic electoral system, and billions spent on immoral nuclear weapons in the Clyde while one in five children grows up living below the poverty time. The polls suggest that the young and the poor voted Yes, while the rich and the elderly voted No. This was always essentially a class and a generational struggle, and the working class and the young, as is so often the case, got kicked in the teeth last night.

About a year ago, I told myself that in future, if anyone who voted No complained about anything that came our way via the Westminster government, I would quietly remind them that they endorsed it with their vote. I'm not going to do that. It's petty and stupid and helps no-one. People voted No for a variety of reasons, but there's little doubt in my mind that many of the crucial 5% that could have taken us over the finish line did so out of fear. For two and a half years, but especially in the last fortnight, we have been bombarded with a barrage of scare stories dreamed up by the self-titled Project Fear campaign and dutifully reported, without any interrogation, by the supine media. No threat was too great. The elderly were told they would lose their pensions, immigrants were told they would be deported, the terminally ill were told they would be denied life-saving operations... Unable to construct a positive case for the union, they instead settled on bullying the most vulnerable into voting No out of fear.

45% of the electorate won't forget that. In circling the wagons to protect the interests of the establishment, I believe the Labour Party, the BBC and indeed mainstream media as a whole have completely shredded their trust with a significant portion of the population. Many will never vote for them or buy their products again, making this a pyrrhic victory for them. Already, the last minute promises of new powers are unravelling, as backbench Tories declare their intent to vote down any transfer of powers to Holyrood, and already the language has shifted away from "DevoMax" to "extensions of existing powers". Such is life. Tories will be Tories. But I reserve my greatest contempt for the Labour Party, who I suspect will bear the brunt of Yes voters' anger for years to come. The sight of them cheering and dancing with their supposed adversaries the Tories made me sick to my stomach, and I suspect that is an image that will long remain in the minds of their former supporters. The fact that their traditional heartlands -- Glasgow, Dundee, North Lanarkshire, West Dunbartonshire -- voted Yes suggests that they are in for a well-deserved annihilation.

In the end, we fought the good fight, but it wasn't enough. We took on the combined might of the media, the banks, big business, Westminster and a seemingly endless stream of sycophantic "celebrities". We put up a good fight, but we lost. What comes next, I've no idea. I suspect we're going to have a fight on our hands just to get the baubles we were belatedly promised. But I also suspect that, when the dust settles and people realise they've been duped, demand for a second referendum will grow louder and louder. Alex Salmond, who has more magnanimity than I'm capable of possessing at the moment, says that the matter is settled for a generation. With respect, he may find that that is not his decision to make.

As the saying goes, fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. In 1979, we were narrowly cheated out of getting our own parliament. In 1997, we voted for it by an overwhelming majority. History has a habit of repeating itself. 1.6 million people last night voted Yes. That is not, by any stretch of the imagination, a decisive vote of confidence in favour of the Union. And the young, angry and newly enfranchised electorate that voted for independence last night will still be around long after the over-60s who voted for the status quo are no longer with us.


  1. Commiserations mate, I know how much you wanted it.

    All I can say now is, we're together so let's make something of it. Let's show them what solidarity means and let's continue to be a louder, stronger voice against everything that is wrong in this union.

    The fight isn't over, not by a long chalk.

    1. Thank you. I've appreciated the support of yourself and many other friends in the rest of the UK throughout this campaign, even though I know you wanted us to stay.

      Solidarity, absolutely. But in what form? If the Labour Party wasn't already dead to me, it certainly is now. Crooks, liars, bullies and scumbags of the highest order. Right now I hate them more than the Tories, and that's saying something.

    2. I wouldn't say I necessarily wanted you to stay as such, I think I hummed and hawed about it just as much as so many of the voters did themselves, seeing both sides but ultimately, when it came down to it, just wanting the best for the Scottish people. In the final hour, I thought the best was Yes. But it seems not to be the case. Ah well.

      I'm just as disgusted with Miliband who was swayed by the bandwagon to do something when really what he should have done was nothing at all. He should have sat back, kept tight lipped and waited and then, if independence was gained, could have really used it against Cameron; "He says we're in it together...yet he couldn't literally keep the country together!"

      Forget parties, forget the shoddy state Labour is in. The working class and the persecution and victimisation it faces is still there regardless of the fact that they no longer have a representational party (actually even more because of that fact if you ask me!) We need to stand up, be united and fight for ourselves. It's not the first time we've had to do it, it's not the first time we've seen virtually no representation for our concerns or plight, and it won't be the last either. Like I say, the fight ain't over.

    3. I must admit that Miliband's actions don't really bother me all that much, though his reneging on the agreement to fast track new powers a mere seven hours after the result is par for the course. I reserve the bulk of my contempt for the foot soldiers -- the Gordon Browns and Jim Murphys who ran around Scotland frightening the most vulnerable in society into voting No. I'm doing my best to avoid sounding like a sore loser, but this was not a fairly fought campaign. I'm actually astounded we got as much as 45% of the vote given that virtually every single media outlet was against us.

      And we won Glasgow. In fact we won all of Labour's traditional heartland territories. I want to make sure they rue the day they got into bed with the Tories.

      I guess the question is how do we unite? Under what banner? For many of us up here, Alex Salmond represented a figurehead we could get behind for the purposes of pursuing the goal of independence, even if he was a bit of a marmite character. I can't really think of anyone in the broader UK of his stature. I want to believe change is possible, but right now I just don't see the way forward.

    4. Just the banner of the people. I've realised after years of Blair and Brown pretending to be Labour that it doesn't matter who is in Number 10, you've got to lobby them all the same. No one has ever said its easy, but its important and we have to do it. People in power should never be allowed to rest.