Even Londoners get YES in Scotland’s referendum

I’ve been in London for the past few weeks and I seriously wonder where I am.  As I meet with friends and associates the subject of Scotland’s referendum is never far from the conversation.

I find myself intuitively explaining or even justifying my position as a passionate YES voter and campaigner.  Suddenly, I have to take a step backwards as a realise I am not under attack, I am not having to justify why Scotland should be a an Independent country.  They get it, they absolutely get it.  They get it in England and they get it in London.

Of course, I can’t speak for everyone but I do know a lot of people in London from a broad cross-section and I am just a little shocked at how on-board many people are.  I suppose I am a little shocked because I have been out canvassing in the West of Scotland, places such as Helensburgh, Luss and surrounding areas, knocking on doors and turning up at meetings.  I cannot comprehend what is going on in the minds of some Scots (or maybe they are not Scots, just residents) but they hate Alex Salmond, the most popular politician with the highest and most sustained majority in the UK, and prefer Westminster and the Tory Government.

I am lost for words.  I have lived and worked in the City of London for more than 20 years in very senior positions and I am totally lost for words to describe what is going on in the minds of these locals.

Of course the really really big problem is that I do NOT know what is going on in their minds because not a single one of them will or has ever explained the logic or rationale for their choosing. Frankly, it’s like trying to hold a rational discussion with a small child.  If some people find that offensive, I find it deeply offensive when I, and every YES campaigner that I know, will go to any length to express and explain their perspective on the referendum and find themselves faced with a NO voters, who simply says NO – nothing else.  They probably don’t even know why they are voting NO.

I just wish the NO voters and the Undecided could walk with me a little in London and witness the attitude to Scotland’s referendum from ordinary people in London.  Of course there is a divide.  There is a divide everywhere in the UK.  It’s the same divide that there is in Scotland.

But there is new and enormous divide in Scotland – it’s the divide between YES voters and NO voters.

The real surprise is that this big divide is less prevalent in London than it is in Scotland! People in London are far less entrenched and far more receptive to information  and explanation on Scotland’s referendum than some people in Scotland.

But what is this divide?  Actually, this is an ugly divide.  This reminds me of Glasgow in the 1950’s and 1960’s when we had bitter sectarianism.  These were people so far apart and so-irreconcilable in their differences that it has taken decades to almost ‘breed it out’ and there are still traces of it.

This is Scotland’s dirty secret.  One of the world’s proudest and most intelligent  nations with an underclass of people in their midst so bitter and filled with hatred for their fellow Scots that they bring shame to their nation.

Scotland’s referendum should be a celebration of opportunity – but there has been an unintended consequence in that it has brought some very bitter and misguided people to the surface again.

I hate to say it but, while they appear on both sides, I believe they are far more prevalent on the NO side of the debate.

Actually, I think there is more than one divide.  We are all familiar with the divide between the ‘have’s and the have not’s’.  We are all familiar with the class divisions.  We are also well aware of a division based on your educated – was it Eton or was it St Pat’s comprehensive.  We all know that these divisions manifest themselves in some very strange behaviour indeed such as the way you speak, your accent and even the way you dress. There is nothing new in all these divisions, especially in the UK and there is probably little or nothing we can do about that.  However, there is a more sinister divide that separates the YES voters and the NO voters in Scotland’s referendum.


I’m not sure what this divide is.  Is it social?  Do YES voters come from a different social class than NO voters?  I don’t believe that for a minute.  I know YES voters from every walk of life; intellectuals, successful business people, very wealthy people, trades people, shelf-stackers, students and the unemployed {OK, sadly, student are too often just people waiting to be unemployed}.  But what is it that defines a NO voter?  Someone who does not believe in a country’s freedom to determine their own future.  I know that Scotland does have it’s fair share of people with their head so far up their ass they will never see daylight.  But there is nothing like enough of these people to divide a nation – it can’t be that, it can’t be a social divide. Could this be a political divide?  It could be, but I doubt it.  Scotland has been dominated by Labour politics for decades.  However, there are many Tories in the borders and in the east.  In the north there are many Liberals or LibDems.  Since Blair, Labour has morph’d into middle England socialism, New Labour; something to the right of Genghis Khan.  These three parties occupy the same political space.  We know that they loath each other, and we also know there are many amongst their ranks who would vote NO in Scotland’s referendum.  Even though they loath each other, they just loath freedom and self determination for their nation even more.  Politics cannot explain this away.

Could this be a wealth divide?  Could it be that the South is so much wealthier than the North and that this somehow influences our decision in the referendum?  Again, I don’t think so.  Scotland has a history of great wealth.  When rich people in London had hundreds of thousands, Glasgow was awash with millionaires.  Fortunes were made trading sugar, tobacco and spices.  Go back a hundred years and take a look at Edinburgh.  All those fabulous Victorian, Georgian and Edwardian mansions that stand proudly all over Edinburgh – were they all flat’d – I don’t thinks so.  These were the homes of very rich people with ‘live in’ service staff.  No, wealth cannot explain away the divide.

Could it be an intellectual divide?  Could it be that we Scots are as stupid as Johann Lamentable would have us believe.  Not on our watch.  We are all familiar with the great inventors and pioneers that Scotland has given to the world.  Although, much fewer of us are aware of the Scottish Enlightenment in the 18th century when Scotland was the intellectual powerhouse of Europe and probably the world.  Scotland has retained a world class education system and our universities are envied the world over.  This is not about intellect – Scotland is an extremely intelligent nation.  Intellect can’t explain the divide. Could this be a religious divide.  I think this may be a part of it, but not the whole story.  OK most of my life in Glasgow I have been all too aware are the religious bigotry on both sides.  I have seen both sides of the divide.  I have a flat at Parkhead Cross.  I also had a pub/club in Central London for years that was the home of Ranger in London.  I have been in the thick of the rivalry.  But I have also seen that mellow enormously in recent years. But wait … this summer we have seen some heightened animosity within the ranks of the Orange Walk who feel the YES campaign threatens their Union.  What I don’t understand is the threat to this Union.  The Union of the Parliaments happened in 1707 and that is the union that will be dissolved after 18 September 2014.  This is all about getting rid of Westminster. The Union of the Crowns was really 1603 when Elizabeth 1 of England died leaving her only heir, James (V1) of Scotland to also become James (1) of England.  To commemorate this, the Union James flag was conceived (actually James in Latin is Jacobus or Jack for short). Clearly the Union James flag did not have a certain ring to it so Union Jack seemed to work better. Of course, the referendum question does not include a mention of Republicanism.  I, for one, have no wish to see the monarchy removed and I believe there is no significant appetite to do so amongst Scots.  OK there are a few ‘hangers-on’ that could get a ‘shoe-out’ but I believe the Queen and then Charlie le Prince will prevail in Scotland.  I absolutely get it if the Unionist want to hang on to the monarchy and the Union Jack – I am certain neither is under any threat.  I even checked Right Move and Holyrood is not even listed.  If I am missing something I am very happy to give way to an unbiased historian and correct this.

I have a theory ….  I think this may be an inspirational divide.  That would explain why some people in Scotland are determined to remain in the Union while some Londoners believe Scotland should have the opportunity to determine their own country.  These Londoners have something in common with Scotland’s YES voters; they aspire to something.  If nothing else, Londoners have always aspired to better things – they have always been a city on the move.  The east-end ‘barrow boys’ aspired to be rich and became traders and stockbrokers in the City.  The City kids aspired to move up, become ‘yuppies’ and move out to the suburbs.  The one thing I have learned about Londoners is they are not content with their lot – they want more; and when they get more they want event more.  That is one reason why London has been successful.  That is why many Londoners ‘get it’ in Scotland’s referendum – they see in the YES voters people after their own heart, people who aspire to something better.  In the referendum, for the YES voters, this is  surprisingly small step.  All they need to do is put a tick in a box and they open the door to a new future.

But of course, it is so much more than that.  Although a very small step initially, you could borrow the words of Neil Armstrong from … well, the moon, on 20th July 1969, and say:

‘one small step for a YES voter, one giant leap for a country’.

 At this historic time these very diverse people of Scotland, in every conceivable walk of life, are coming together like never before and with a common purpose;

Independence for Scotland.

On the other side of the divide, we have the NO voters.  What do they aspire to?  Surely not ‘nothing’, they must aspire to something.  At best they aspire to leaving things as they are. There are few certainties in this world.  Death .. yes, Taxes … oh yes, {there is another, but it’s not PC and I value my readership} voting NO to maintain things as they are?  … not a chance in hell. On a risk scale of 1 to 10, where 10 is a very big risk, I would say a YES vote would be a 7 or an 8. A NO vote would be a 12 or a 13.  If you were ever aware of the brutality of Edward (1) ‘Long shanks’ or ‘hammer of the Scots’ that was just a tap compared to what would be coming to Scotland with a NO vote.

Hammer of the Scots

The horrific truth is, with every awful thing that would happen following a NO vote, (be it the end of the NHS, paying a fortune for education, massive increases in unemployment, extensive nuclear dumping, fracking hell) every time something awful happens in Scotland the YES army will hold every single NO voter responsible.  I am really sorry to have to say this and I know a lot of readers will see that as scaremongering.  But the truth is, that’s absolutely what will happen without a shadow of doubt.

Some of the most pessimistic polls suggest that the YES/NO vote is pretty much split down the middle.  Some more optimistic polls and especially the local polls suggest the YES vote is surging ahead.  Let’s just assume that it’s pretty much 50:50. Nobody doubts for a second that the YES camp is vastly more organised that the NO camp; who are not even really a camp.  The YES camp have become incredibly politically aware, so charged up, so enthusiastic and so optimistic.

If, and remember this is just a faint suggestion, but if there was a NO vote there is not the slightest chance that the YES camp will simply melt into the background and bide their time for another 300 years.

If the referendum was a straight vote; YES for Independence or NO to remain in the Union then there was always a chance that the loser would give way to the victor.

But here’s the thing.  The referendum in Scotland has proved to be as dirty, treacherous, deceitful, duplicitous and vindictive as any ‘managed’ referendum.  Russia, China, Korea, South America, the Middle East and many Central African dictatorships would be very proud of Cameron.  Cameron has proved to Scots, at least, that he can ‘dictate, connive and double deal’ like a true professional.  However, although it has proved very difficult to counteract this political interference it has proved to be almost impossible to cover it up thanks to the candidness of Social Media and the incredible organisation that is the YES Campaign.

  1 comment for “Even Londoners get YES in Scotland’s referendum

  1. Finnula
    August 3, 2014 at 10:38 pm

    What, Cameron the leader of the decietful, duplicitious WM government – beware Perfidious Albion! Next you’ll be saying the BBC/msm were ‘in on it’ – perish the thought! You’ll be scaring the NO voters out of their slumber!

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