We need change. We need a positive way forward, and the way to get that positive way forward, is to vote yes to Scottish Independence.
Sadly, only 45% of Scotland voted for Independence. The other 55% voted to remain as part of the UK, so Independence was rejected again.
We belong to a democratic country thankfully, and as such, we were allowed to have this vote. No blood spilling, just a X in a box. And I accept that the majority of the country did not want Scotland to run its own affairs. However, I do still have the same views about Independence for our country. And should we ever get the opportunity to vote again, I would certainly vote in the same way.
Several things changed throughout this campaign. And a few other things need to change.
My own opinion on Independence changed. I had, until a few months ago, been certain that I would vote against it. Then I read and learned as much as possible, and I became a somewhat vocal yes voter. I wasn't alone in that. I have read and heard about so many other previous no voters, who, once they looked into it, changed their minds. I admire anyone who took the time to try to learn about the subject before voting. I hope that continues.
We had an amazing turn out at all the polling stations. People, both for and against, were determined to be heard and make their vote count. Some areas had over 90% turn out which is unheard of. Voter apathy is the term most often used during most political campaigns. So, for whatever reason, people became involved in this decision. This was a good change, and I hope it continues. The only way politicians will ever listen to us is if they know we are watching and voting accordingly.
Media......where do I start? People depend on the news programmes and newspapers to get information. They presume that most of the stories reported are true. I have always realised that they decide which slant to give a story, but I have discovered it is far more than giving it a slant. The truth is that they can often create the story. They make it completely different from the truth and in doing so, they can sway people's opinions. People believe what they write. It is actually quite shocking how they can manipulate stories to suit themselves. Will this ever change? Probably not.
In our quest for Independence, the government at Westminster really were not taking notice that this quest was real. About two weeks before voting day, a poll emerged saying the Yes campaign was in the lead, and panic ensued. At that point Westminster made offers of more devolution powers. Those seemed to be very hastily put together, and I doubted at the time whether they would actually happen. The offers increased as the days went on. All three leaders of the main parties at Westminster signed a vow for change. After Scotland rejected Independence, David Cameron, our Prime Minister, stated that we would get those extra powers, as would other areas within the UK. That has to be for the good.......if they actually come to fruition. We can only wait and see (but there are already cracks showing, and many people voted No on their promises).
During the campaign for Independence, the Orange Lodge marched through Edinburgh and some other towns throughout the country. They were campaigning for Scotland to stay as part of the United Kingdom. They carried their Union Jacks and their Better Together banners, while playing music. Doesn't sound bad, does it? But it is bad. The Orange Lodge is a sectarian institution comprising of Protestants who hate Catholics. They have existed for centuries and it is disgusting that in 2014, an institution like this can still exist, never mind being allowed to march carrying official Better Together banners. Is this really something which should be allowed in any country nowadays?
People have complained that the Independence campaign split the country. But the Orange Lodge is openly putting a divide between Catholics and Protestants. Why should religion come into politics? Would authorities allow marches from groups which are openly homophobic, sexist or racist?
I doubt it.
So why is the Orange Order allowed to march through the streets of Scotland carrying Union Jacks. The Union Jack represents United Kingdom, it does not represent sectarianism of any kind.
Better Together say that they had nothing to do with the Orange Lodge marches. However, they seemed to be happy enough to have the support from them.
The aftermath....on Friday after 55% of Scotland voted against Independence, Yes campaigners got together once again in Glasgow. Despite having lost this vote, those people were still in good spirits. They were with like minded people and the atmosphere was still electric. Then several hundred Union supporters appeared. This seemed to have been very organised. They came with their Union flags, giving Nazi salutes, threatening to stab those yes voters. They rioted. They burnt Scottish flags. They assaulted anyone carrying a Scottish flag or wearing a Yes badge. They terrified people. Thugs. That's what they were...thugs.
Shocking, disgraceful and disgusting. Those people waving their Union flags do not deserve to say they are either British or Scottish. They probably didn't even vote. They probably didn't even know what the vote was about. They were simply there to cause trouble. It was not a confrontation between Yes and No voters (as some media would have you believe). Who on earth were they? It may have been an organized attack by a minority amongst Rangers fans. Rangers fans have always had a close alliance with the Orange Order. There are also some suggestions that they may be part of the British National Party and the English Defence League. That may or may not be true, but whoever they were, I hope they are arrested and charged.
Thankfully by Saturday, things had calmed down. Yes campaigners had another rally in Glasgow, this time not just with their Scottish flags, but flags asking for peace. And not only did they come armed with their flags, they also brought along supermarket bags full of groceries to set up an impromptu food bank for the people of Glasgow. Those people are the type of people who make me feel proud to be Scottish.