Tomorrow morning, around 0630 GMT (0230 Bda time), we’ll get the final results of the Scottish independence referendum – and we’ll know whether Scotland will begin its transition to independence in 2016, or a transition to devo-max (greater devolved powers, kind of like Bermuda has) within the UK itself.
I honestly have no idea what the result will be. It’s far too close to call. Way too close.
I have found the Yes (pro-independence) campaign to be invigorating and inspiring. They have reawakened ideals of participatory democracy and civic nationalism.
I have found the No (anti-independence) campaign extremely disappointing and based largely on scaremongering.
That being said said, there are pros and cons to both sides.
Regardless of the result, I don’t think Scotland will go back to the political status quo. The active and energised nature of the debate – of which the overwhelmingly No-siding UK media has not done justice in portraying – has radicalised and heightened political consciousness of a whole new generation.
Relying solely on the media portrayal of the campaign would give a very distorted impression of the realities on the ground.
I have not encountered any anti-English sentiment, and while I have encountered the occasional romantic idea of a reborn independent Scottish state, even those who’ve indulged in such notions have engaged in a critical review of the pros and cons of Scottish independence.
I have encountered, participated and observed random strangers on buses, trains and queues engage in passionate and informed discussions – with a surprising number even quoting page numbers from the several hundred page white paper on Scottish Independence in their exchanges!
It truly is amazing to hear random strangers, from across the social strata and occupations, discussing the minutiae of such obscure subjects as the Barnett Formula (the process by which the block grant, forming the Scottish Government’s budget, is allocated) or the consequences of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership as regards privatisation (particularly of the NHS).
For anyone to try and dismiss the Scottish electorate as being uninformed or voting solely on emotion or in spite (of the English or the Tories) is to do an injustice to this exhilarating historic moment.
I hope that this phenomenon does not end with the Referendum. I am hopeful that this newly engaged electorate continues to be engaged, regardless of the result.
I imagine a Yes vote will be the least divisive outcome – those who voted No would, for the most part, rally around in the interests of making an independent Scotland work.
A No vote, without radical restructuring of the UK state, will only postpone a future referendum and, ultimately, Scottish independence; it would be seen as a final chance for the UK. The Yes voters will continue to agitate and hold the No promises to their word. Despite an initial depression from Yes voters, this will just be temporary and a new generation of Yes activists will expand on the pro-independence arguments, setting the foundation for the future.
Ultimately, if Scotland hasn’t voted for independence today, without some very real and radical restructuring of the UK State, then Scottish independence is only a matter of time. A No vote would only postpone the inevitable.
So, it really time to say so long, and thanks for all the fish?
On a side note, the turnout so far appears, from all accounts, to be record breaking.
I voted at 1930hrs GMT, and with two and a half hours still to go, at that time, before the polls closed, the agents were estimating that my polling station had already experienced an 80% turnout. They were even suggesting they might make it to a 90% overall turnout in my area.
What does that mean for the overall result?
We’ll find out tomorrow morning…