Yes and No cam­paign­ers

Rutherglen Reformer - - News -

“We couldn’t have worked any harder lo­cally. I did my best for the weeks I was in­volved but peo­ple had been putting in work for years and years be­fore it.”

For the Bet­ter To­gether cam­paign­ers, the feel­ing was slightly dif­fer­ent.

While there were cheers as re­sults came in, they were tinged with an over­rid­ing sense of re­lief rather than joy.

“I re­mem­ber stand­ing with a Yes sup­porter at Cathkin Pri­mary on the day,” says Tay­lor. “He was adamant they would win 60-40 be­cause the polls didn’t take into ac­count those who had just reg­is­tered, and you start to think to your­self ‘is that right?’

“There was a feel­ing we had pre­served some­thing rather than achieved some­thing. If things are stay­ing the same, it’s a dif­fer­ent kind of cel­e­bra­tion.”

The gift of time has al­lowed for a lot of soul-search­ing on both sides and Tay­lor ad­mits Bet­ter To­gether failed to get to grips with bat­tle.

“Clearly there was a big shift and in that sense you have to say the Yes cam­paign was more ef­fec­tive. I don’t agree Bet­ter To­gether was al­ways neg­a­tive but they seemed re­luc­tant to make a pos­i­tive case. I think it’s right to em­pha­sise the risks, peo­ple have the right to know that, but we would have fared bet­ter if we had a more pos­i­tive, over­ar­ch­ing vi­sion, which is what the Yes cam­paign seemed to have, even if it was built on sand.”

For many on the Yes side, the blame for their loss lies with the press. Katy adds: “A lot of it was to do with the way the media por­trayed it. I still think peo­ple strug­gled with the idea that in­de­pen­dence was not some sort of end point. They wanted de­fin­i­tive an­swers, but any change is a leap of faith and I think a lot of peo­ple were not re­ally ready for that, one way or another.”

Tay­lor is less con­vinced: “The BBC are al­ways go­ing to put you un­der pres­sure. You need to give peo­ple an idea that ev­ery­thing is go­ing to be bet­ter when you make a big change like that.”

One thing both agree on is that the op­pos­ing sides failed to un­der­stand each other.

Many No sup­port­ers dis­missed the Yes cam­paign­ers as anti-English while there was a ten­dency on the pro-in­de­pen­dence ranks to la­bel all No vot­ers as “fearties.”

“Peo­ple mis­un­der­stood the na­tion­al­ist move­ment,” says Katy. “It’s about civic na­tion­al­ism and the core belief the peo­ple of Scot­land are best placed to know what’s best for Scot­land. We’ve got the tal­ent and the re­sources.

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