I hadn't planned on further comments about the referendum here, but since somebody asked, I'll post what I wrote on Facebook yesterday. I have no comment about the riots in Glasgow, other than to say that I'm not terribly surprised. People are upset and angry and I get the impression that they were certain they'd win and finding they didn't, they don't really know what to do -- a lot like the Tea Party in the wake of Mitt Romney's defeat in 2012. Some will lash out, some will accuse the other side of fraud, and some will claim that it was all a colossal media conspiracy and it's the press's fault that they lost. Frankly, I'm glad the campaign is over, I'm glad my side won, and I'd like to just get on with things now and not dwell on the referendum. I have that luxury, because I got the result I wanted. But I respect that other people didn't and it would incredibly insensitive of me to wave my Union Jack in their faces and gloat about their loss.ADDENDUM
: It has been brought to my attention that the rioters in Glasgow were most likely from the No side. Even if, as I have also been informed, that this was a small, isolated incident, whoever's behind any violent clashes ought to be ashamed of themselves, no matter which way they voted. If it was indeed extremists from the No camp, it's even worse than if it had been disgruntled Yes voters, because to attack people who are already experiencing tremendous loss is to kick someone while they're down. That is inexcusable. However, I'd also like to take a moment to point out that the following commentary was requested by someone for what appears to have been the sole purpose of inciting drama. I'm not interested in arguing about the referendum now that it's done. If you and I differ on the referendum, I understand that you're most likely very upset and angry, but I respectfully ask that you not take it out on me. I've had enough of referendum drama, thank you very much.
Anyways, here is what I had to say yesterday morning on Facebook. This is the last thing I have to say about the issue here, so I hope those who are curious will be satisfied:
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So now that the initial feelings of immense joy and relief have subsided enough for me to write something more coherent than, “Yay! Beth happy!”, I’d like to say a few words vis-à-vis yesterday’s historic vote on Scottish independence.
I have not enjoyed this independence referendum or the campaign trail leading up to it. I have found it to be a gruelling experience, physically and emotionally draining, frustrating, infuriating, and worthy of more than a few facepalms along the way. It has tested, strained, and even outright ended friendships -- a tragedy I have not been immune to. But from the beginning, I have felt so passionately about Scotland’s place in the UK -- for reasons I’ve expressed enough elsewhere to not revisit them here -- that I could not, as so many others chose to do (and I don’t really blame them), keep my head down, my opinion to myself, and try to stay friends with people on both sides at all costs. No, from the beginning I was openly a unionist and proud of that; if that was a deal breaker for any friendship, then so be it. I did not relish the thought of losing friends over this and I am thankful that I only lost a tiny handful (and, even then, they were people I barely knew). I hope that, now that the decision has been made, reconciliation can begin, and maybe even friendships mended.
Of course, it’s easy to be magnanimous in victory. But I have to wonder what I would be writing now if the boot had been on the other foot and I had woken up this morning to find that I had been robbed of my national identity as a Briton, that I had become a stranger and a foreigner in my own country, and that friends and family in England were now going to be separated from me by an international border. I am thankful that I will never know what I would have felt waking up to such news, but I imagine it would have been an anger and a despair greater than I have ever felt, and I don’t imagine that what I would have been writing would be pretty. In that sense, I can empathise with those who’ve woken up to disappointment and heartbreak today. I am truly sorry that you have to feel that way.
But I am not sorry that you lost.
As I said, it would be easy to be magnanimous in victory, but I think honesty is far more important than shallow, cynical platitudes. I’m not a politician, after all. I know a number of people -- good, decent, sensitive, intelligent people -- who, as far as I know, voted Yes to independence yesterday, and it would be insulting their intelligence to pretend that I’m not happy they lost. I am happy -- possibly happier than I’ve ever been about anything in my entire life. If we’re friends, then our friendship demands nothing less than bold honesty at this point. I cannot spend over two years championing the union of Great Britain and Scotland’s place in the UK and then pretend I’m not happy when Scotland votes No to ending it. That would be two-faced and dishonest of me. Of course I’m happy.
But I acknowledge and respect that a lot of people aren’t.
There will be a grieving period for them, obviously, and each person disappointed by Scotland’s decision will deal with that grief in their own ways. But I hope that, after the recriminations have been made, after the tears have been shed, and after the sorrows have been drunk away, those who voted Yes to independence will be able to accept defeat with good grace and step up to the challenge Scotland -- and the entire United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland -- now faces, to deliver a better, fairer system for all of us. I look forward to mending fences and working together in my own small way with everyone willing to take part in what happens next.
Thank you for reading and, whichever way you voted, thank you for participating in this historic decision. May it prove to have been the right decision, but whatever it proves to be, let us work together to make the absolute best of it. I believe we can do that and I look forward to seeing that confidence in Britain realised in the coming months and years.