Well we’ve certainly seen that. Thankfully we have an outcome that is decisive, for a result a point or two apart would not have been good. I pen these notes in the immediate aftermath, before the morning reading. Bear with me.
I woke this morning, after a sleep counted in minutes that was not really sleep at all, and I heard John Swinney on the wireless. Whilst I am in turmoil I listen to a man whose whole professional life, his aims and aspirations, have come to an end, on one level. But the dignity, the calm and the control that I heard from him had me welling up, again.
My day yesterday ended more than 24 hours after it began. Yet even from those first few tiny results the outcome was clear to be seen. We had been found wanting. Fear overcame Hope. It was a shock, for I really did not expect it.
I go back to the mood on the streets, building over two years. Even yesterday, polling day, Independence Day, that mood was there. The stories that emerged through the day gave way to an emotional roller coaster. We heard of people in tears in the polling booth, unable to believe that finally they had The Question in front of them, to be answered. For some it was a life’s aim, for others like me it was the end of a campaign. And what a campaign.
We witnessed democracy as never seen before in my lifetime, and never again too I’d wager. 85% of the electorate took part, 85%, from a base of voter apathy, of democratic deficit. In that regard it has been a huge success.
Long will I remember the marches and the rallies, the halls and the meeting rooms packed with people, listening, questioning, eager to hear more. Personalities emerged, some familiar, others new. We’ll not forget Margo, who didn’t make it to the end. And Robin McAlpine will surely have a big part to play in what lies ahead. So too Lesley Riddoch, from her Nordic Horizons. We had a dream. It is no more, and I’ve still to tell The Urchins that I’ve tried my best but that, in my view, their future will not be what I had hoped it might be, could be, should be.
That said we know there will be some form of devolution coming out of this. We do, don’t we? It will get through the back benches and the Lords, despite the media. It will have to.
Ah the media, that was the difference. Whilst Yes were on the streets, energised, mobilised, grassroots, No were absent, rarely seen, and when they were they had been transported from far to the south, paid to be here. For they knew they had the full might of The Establishment machinery, and that meant the media. The role of the state-funded broadcaster needs to be seriously reviewed. They have had a poor referendum, especially that branch that is supposed to serve Scotland.
We’ve been love-bombed and fear-bombed; chairmen and directors have been called into Downing Street, announcements made. The people cannot compete with that. Democracy falls against the tsunami that was set in motion in the last few days, when they finally took the Yes movement seriously, when what we bring to their table looked to be at risk.
Devo was not on the ballot paper, at Westminster’s insistence. It was not there when postal votes were cast. It appeared, in a panic, when one poll was released, released precisely to have the outcome it produced. I’m beginning to trust pollsters as much as …, let’s not go there. If Devo Max had been in the Edinburgh Agreement then that is undoubtedly what we would have voted for. The negation of that gave rise to the quest for Independence. Of that I have no doubt. And a movement grew, momentum; the hare was running. Then at the last minute came unspecified promises, and Fear overcame Hope.
And so we are where we are, and the future will bring what it brings. We’ll not see a campaign like that again. What will we talk about? Now excuse me whilst I go and see what the world is saying, Scotland’s application to join rejected. I’ll probably have to change some of the categories on these pages, once the dust settles. It’s been a blast.
And here’s a thing. As we won’t be a nation to rise again, have been sent homeward to think again, what will our army of sports fans sing on the terraces, our sporting heroes stoke their adrenalin with before the kick off? Will we even have international teams?
I’m tired, and down. I need to hear more of that dignity I heard as I started these notes. I’m sure I will. Listen to it.