Last night was a hard night for the ‘Yes’ camp. I mentioned in another post that I had considered sleep. The early part of the evening I watched the beginning results from Greenmantle Pub. Great pub, by the way. I headed back to my room about 2:30am thinking the vote would be ‘No’ and not close at all so why not get some sleep. Well, then Dundee came in and then Glasgow. It began to look like a close race. THIS IS THE REASON I CAME TO SCOTLAND! No matter how tired, I had go back out. The pubs were all closed by then, at 5am but my taxi driver and I found a large group at Parliament. Not too many stayed until the bitter end – morning by any standards – but enough.
Everyone was hopeful and lighthearted at first. Very lighthearted. Apparently drinking in public is perfectly legal. Scots behave quite a bit better than most emotionally charged crowds of imbibing Americans. *ahem*
Then the news organizations began to call the vote and the tide turned. Older vigilists grew tense, quiet and some moved off to their own spaces looking worried. Younger attendees became defiant letting loose a slew of colorful language and dropping f*bombs – F*bomb BBC! F*bomb SkyNews! etc, etc. Once everyone had that out of their systems, the young began reflecting the old. There were literally a series of group hugs (photos and videos of the night to come in post momentarily). The joining together rallied the youth again who in turn inspired the not so young. Shouted chants of ‘Power to the People’, ‘Scotland’ repeatedly, ‘Where are you BBC?!’ began with vigor. A man donned in Scotland blue and full kilt played his bagpipes. Their defiance and emotion had turned not to anger but towards one another in hope. The fight came back to them once more and they were energized! It brought me to tears.
Once the mood was light and lively again, a few of the young men threw in a little levity. A swim in the fountain anyone?
This bright mood lingered until Edinburgh’s numbers came in. At that point there was no more hope, no more ‘what if’s’, it was final. Highlands were still out but even if they turned out 100% ‘Yes’, everyone knew it wouldn’t be enough to turn the vote.
They began to cry. Tears ran down everyone’s faces, boyfriends comforted girlfriends, husbands and wives reached for each other, tough young fighters, and wise old warriors were covered in shock and tears. It was so incredibly sad to watch and pretty hard to think about right now. One man summed up how I think many are reflecting today:
“I can’t believe it. I don’t even know what to think. I can’t believe it. What kind of country doesn’t vote for their own independence. My country. I’m so ashamed.”
I truly hope he no longer feels ashamed in his country or ashamed to be Scottish. It was very clear that they are all very proud and patriotic Scots.