According to the unionist press the dream of independence split the nation. Is this true? In a way I suppose it could be said that it was. Some voted that Scotland should be an independent country while others voted to remain under the heel of the Westminster system. Indeed the September 18th result was obviously the focal point for the British Nationalists, as was demonstrated by the George Square Riots.
After a day of being a sovereign country, we were returned to colonial rule. This begs the question of who was really trying to divide Scotland and whether they were successful? Was it the positive and inclusive grassroots YES campaign organised by the people of Scotland? Or was it the AstroTurf Project Fear; a scare and intimidation campaign run and funded by a Westminster government who became increasingly desperate to hold onto the revenues from our nation in order to prevent the inevitable bankruptcy of the rest of the UK.
For the people of Scotland I believe the lead up to the big day was actually way more important. Far from the hatred and division portrayed in the unionist controlled main stream media the residents of this country actually experienced a reawakening of a sense of community and compassion. For perhaps the first time in their lives the voiceless had a voice and the nation was gifted with a sense of hope.
Contrary to the reports of violent division before and since September, my personal experience was, and indeed continues to be, that of a coming together of people from diverse backgrounds. It has become irrelevant which social class you come from, what race or religion you happen to belong to, which sex you are, or even which country you were born in. People came together then and continue to work for a common cause. Perhaps for the first time politics was being openly discussed in homes, workplaces, pubs and public meetings the length and breadth of the land.
New phrases, such as social justice, flooded social media sites. People who had previously been unaware of just how large the gaps between the well off and the poor had become joined forces to attempt to redress the balance. Food banks became headline news and the levels of poverty, which had been at best ignored and at worst deliberately hidden, were thrust into the spotlight. The people were coming together to help those most in need in our society and continue to do so.
Divisive? That’s a matter of opinion. I have made a lot of new friends through the YES campaign, both on social media and also locally, nationally and worldwide. People I would never have met or interacted with if not for the referendum. I am not alone in this as the sense of inclusion is repeated hundreds, if not thousands, of times over in Scotland and around the globe as many looked on and stood with us in anticipation of the triumph of hope over fear.
Alastair G Rennie (Wheelie Bins for Yes)