Surviving Scotland During the Referendum - An English Girl's Guide

Friday  18th September: The Results Are In!: And so, there we have it. Scotland is still part of the UK, with the No campaign securing 55% of the vote.

Here is a breakdown of the results (as of 7:18am):

(Source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2761704/SCOTLAND-REFERENDUM-RESULTS-LIVE-Follow-results-historic-vote-announced-interactive-map.html)

 The election saw an 86% turnout, one of the highest there has been in the UK in the twenty-first century. Although the No vote won overall, it was incredibly tight between the two, with major cities such as Glasgow supporting the Yes Campaign. It was also the first time 16 and 17 year olds had their say in the democratic process, having been given the right to vote.

 

Now What?

Because of David Cameron’s last ditch attempt to raise to profile of the ‘Better Together’, Scotland (and the rest of the United Kingdom) has been promised further powers of devolution to the Scottish government. These will be announced by the Prime Minister later on in the week.

Scotland’s First Minister, Alex Salmond, has acknowledged the defeat of the Yes campaign, but has once again called for the Scottish government to be given more powers. Earlier in the week, Salmond pledged to not hold another referendum for independence in Scotland at least for another generation, but with margins so close, this may not be the case.(source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/scottish-independence/11095188/Al...)

 

The Mood Here?

Edinburgh is grey and solemn at the moment; although they had one of the highest margins in the country for the No campaign, there is no feeling of celebration in the air. Only time will tell if Scotland will be able to unite once more; not necessarily with Westminster, but with themselves. The tight margin has illustrated a very narrow victory, with nearly half the country disgruntled with the outcome.

Those of you south of the border may have been expecting the No campaign to prevail, but having spent the last two weeks on the streets of Edinburgh, it’s certainly an issue that has divided the city as well as the nation. Below are a list of observations and photos that I have seen on the run up to the announcement of the referendum.

 

Tuesday 16th September: With only two days to go until voting opens for the  Referendum that threatens to divorce the United Kingdom, the results are still too close to call.

Don’t believe David Cameron’s guff that his last-ditch attempt to convince the Scots he would be ‘heartbroken’ if they left the United Kingdom is the reason the latest polls indicate that the ‘Better Together’ campaign is leading by 4%. In Scotland’s cultural capital Edinburgh, it’s the Yes campaign that is capitalising the streets with its razzmatazz, electrical energy and pure brute force.

The Scottish flag flies proudly over a vast number of flats, ‘Aye’ has been written on the windows, and it’s not an uncommon sight to see topless men painted blue playing the bagpipes on street corners, whilst slightly more refined campaigners hand out Yes badges like free sweets.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’ve never been to Scotland before, and the only preparations I made to immerse myself in Scottish traditions before moving to Edinburgh for three weeks was watching Trainspotting, and buying a tartan scarf. However, even though I was aware of these cultural norms, I genuinely didn’t believe in the stereotype of the ‘proud Scot’ playing the bagpipes in the drizzle whilst wearing a kilt, like I don’t believe that Italians only eat pasta, or that the French all wear berets.

But Scottish pride seems to be on steroids on the streets. And that’s where the Yes campaign is succeeding; its ability to touch a sore spot about the two country’s often tumultuous history, leading to some shops putting up signs saying  ‘sack the Tories and keep Westminster out of Scottish affairs – say Yes’. It’s almost more about sticking two fingers up to England and illustrating their pride in their country more than truly considering whether this is the best thing for Scotland. Voting No is something that is done quietly, almost shamefacedly, as if these nay-sayers are thinking Scotland isn’t capable of going alone, relying on England like some kind of awful step-parent. Barely any shops have the ‘No, thanks’ posters up on their windows.

 

Thursday 18th September: Although you may have thought Scottish Parliament would be the place to be during Election Day, things there were surprisingly tame. The Yes campaigners are still making their presence felt in Edinburgh in almost bizarre ways; blue vans decked in Scottish flags with megaphones calling for independence are circulating around the city every hour. One man who was especially dedicated to the cause painted YES on the bonnet and doors on his blue car.

 

The most unexpected side effect of the Yes campaigning is how other districts from around the world are using their passion to fuel the fires of their own independence campaigns. Catalonian men were stood outside parliament today, taking full advantage of the media attention to argue for their independence from motherland Spain. Their campaign took an almost romantic turn when they lit candles in the shape of their flag next to a Scottish flag. In an ironic way, the independence vote is uniting countries together in their need to be free.  

 

 

Photos writer's own.