All over Scotland people are hurting right now. Myself included. The professional commentators probably don’t realise just how deep nor how wide this hurt runs. When my partner took our five year old son to his primary school this morning half the kids weren’t there. His mum had to take him home, bewildered, and in tears. The staff helped but were gutted. There is nothing I can say here that will lessen the hurt people are feeling.
We tried. So many wonderful people embraced the idea of transformational change and tried their best to make our country a better place to live in; for everyone not just the few. But, as happens in a democracy, we didn’t win. We embraced hope but the vote went against us. Anyone who believes in the sovereignty of the people, as I do, and the principles of democracy, then we have to accept the result.
I feel depressed that some, perhaps clouded by anger of the moment, chose to attack their following Scots for voting a different way from them. This doesn’t help. I’m not embarrassed by Scotland and its people. Look how many people voted. What an incredible display of civic participation. I’m proud of them not ashamed. These are the same people who inspire me every day of my life. Despite the poverty and neglect there is so much kindness, such a generosity of spirit, and a desire to make our communities better places to live in, I’m confident, as a people, we’ll get over our hurt and get back on our feet.
Where we go from here politically is something that perhaps should be thought about carefully. Let the dust settle first. Now isn’t the time for ranting or raging, blaming or scapegoating. YES did its best. Armed with little more than social media, blogs, and DIY creativity, we tried to take on the might of the British state and the vast power and wealth of the British establishment. And for a few weeks we had them terrified. Hold on to that feeling and be proud of it. It was incredible that over a million and half Scots had the courage to stand up tall for a fairer society, and that will see us in good stead. It has changed our country forever.
This isn’t intend to be a long article. Its hard enough writing this. I’m taking the weekend off to spend some time with my family. Next week I’ll write something constructive here on Bella, my own thoughts, nothing more, about where, as a movement, we could go from here. The pages of Bella are always open for others to do likewise. We’ve suffered a huge setback, this is true. But we’re not defeated. Not by a long chalk. As long as poverty and inequality stalk our land, accepting defeat is not an option.
My last thought and the main reason I wanted to write this. This might be tough to accept but it needs to be said on today of all days. Most of those who voted NO are not celebrating. They’re looking at us, the wounded minority, and wondering how they can reach out to us. We’re part of their families and communities. The overwhelming majority of NO voters don’t want to rub our faces in it. So please don’t lash out at your fellow Scots. The hurt will pass. People’s allegiances change. There are ways to regroup. Opportunites to advance the democratic case for transformational change will come again. That is a universal constant.