A referendum question- The What if…? challenge

Firstly, I want you to know that I’m not trying to convince anyone of anything. Secondly I’m not asking you to convince me. I know what way I’m voting, and it’s not something you’re going to talk me out of. What I’m doing here is simply expressing myself and I would encourage others, no matter what your opinion, to do the same. A lot of people may be afraid to talk about Scotland’s vote for fear of being savaged or ridiculed, or brought into arguments that they didn’t want to have. The thing is, voting is for everyone, not just the combative among us. Whereas I congratulate everyone who is taking a well-informed argument to the masses, I think there’s room for those affected to simply express themselves. It’s a big day for us. It’s huge. This is no council bi-election, this is the most important day for our country for hundreds of years. I think the least we can do, together, is prepare for it.

So here’s the challenge. It’s the 19th September 2014 and we now know the result of the referendum. How do you react, what do you feel, who do you talk to, what do you do? Do this for both sides of the coin.

What if…. Yes?

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I’ve sat up all night listening to the results come in, so I’m tired, bleary eyed, croaky throat for shouting at the infuriating pundits. I’ll look out my window to see windows of east end tenements, glints of the sun rising bright red. And a lump will catch in my throat. This is all new now. This is the first day. The news broadcasters don’t know what to do with themselves they’re asking everybody up and down the UK, banging on their doors “what does this mean?” I switch off the TV and turn on twitter- it needs volume control coz it’s blasting so loudly “We’ve done it!” I write a tweet, it doesn’t really make sense, I can’t sum up the way I’m feeling, so I retweet a few folk who are better at the magic 140 formula. My mum phones, excited. She quotes the newspapers to me, she was up all night too “did you see whatshisface when…?” we laugh. I can’t look at facebook, they’ll be too many grumblings, naysayings, and people who are quietly pleased but are hesitant to show it, cautious people we’ll need now but not today. Let’s just have today, I want to enjoy the moment. I remember 97. This is better. I tune into the international news- US, Canada, Australia, everyone is watching us. They’re all looking at us “Hello Scotland!” They’ve got some old guys dressed in the kilt with bagpipes, the first mention of Braveheart and I switch them off.  This is what we’re leaving behind, we can stop talking about the past now, wait till you see what we do in the future! Feeling magic, but don’t really know what to do with it. This is the beginning. We’ve hit the reset button. We’ve got it all to live for. I log into facebook after all, someone is complaining about conspiracies, they’ll get over it eventually, but someone else has invited us to a party. I feel the need to be with others, to congregate. Better together, indeed!

What if… No?

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I’ve sat up all night listening to the results come in, so I’m tired, bleary eyed, croaky throat for shouting at the infuriating pundits. I’m drained. Is that it really over now? Really? I swear the broadcasters are smirking as they report the news. They’re going over live to Downing street now, I can’t stand it. The door’s opening, he’s about to walk out in a blaze of glory. I switch off. The feeling will come over me gradually- that’s all there is now, messages beamed from London. And we have to listen. All the news from the last year starts to sink in. Didn’t they sell off the NHS down there? Did that really happen? That voice is gone now, the one that told me not to worry, because independence wouldn’t allow it to happen here. The first feelings of horror begin to set in. How did this happen? They tricked us; they took the most important decision in our lives and spun it out of our hands. We need a recount, another vote, but a fair one. People weren’t informed, if they really knew… I realise that I’ve been staring at a blank TV screen for about 15 minutes now. What are the stages of grief? Denial? Bargaining? Shit, I’m actually in grief. I get up and make myself a cup of tea. And then comes anger. I look at my twitter feed and find I’m not alone. People are pulling apart the Prime Minister’s speech, there are links to it. But I still can’t watch it, what’s the point? The trolls are out in force, as well as some sympathetic voices. The Herald has published an article “Where did it all go wrong?” the writer seems as gutted as I am. Wait, is ‘betrayal’ one of the stages of grief? It should be.  A thought comes to me and hits me hard, it’s something everyone knows now, Westminster know it, and in the future our grandkids will know it. I tweet “the worst thing is- WE DID IT TO OURSELVES #indyref”. It gets a couple of retweets as I get into bed and pull the duvet over my head.

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8 responses to “A referendum question- The What if…? challenge

  1. Let’s just hope that everyone who has the right to vote actually does so. No matter what their opinion.

    • That sounds good! Hopefully there’ll be a ‘Scotland in the World Cup final’ atmosphere about it, but with better results!

    • Why “has to be” yes?
      Also amused that the blog’s author started off saying “I’m not trying to convince anyone how to vote” before launching into a less-than-subtle piece of propaganda for the yes vote.
      Then again, that and calling those who disagree with independence “shitebags” is all you lot have.

      • Hi Gordon, thanks for your comment. To clarify, I said I’m not trying to convince anyone with this piece because this is simply an exercise in freedom of speech and expression, which I encourage everyone- no matter their view- to use. As the battle rages on between yes and no, I think there’s space for understanding how it affects ordinary people. Of course, I’m voting yes, so I wrote from this perspective but that’s not to undermine people who feel just as passionate in the other direction. I most definitely didn’t call anyone a “shitebag” so I’d ask you not to try and attach mindless name-calling to my piece, we can both agree it doesn’t add to the debate.

  2. Good read.

    Accurate too, it’ll be what many (myself included) will be going through that day.

    And you’re right, if it is a no, we will have done it to ourselves. Call it a failure to be informed (because we know when people do get informed, the direction of travel is toward a yes – not a no vote) or plain gutlessness.

    If I’m being honest, if it turns out to be a no, I’d rather those that did vote no did so out of timidity, being associated on the world stage with the alternative (stupidity) – would be far harder to deal with.

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