The mood of the city the next day was mixed. Quiet ‘No’ voters were cheery and light in their step with smiles on their faces. ‘Yes’ voters everywhere were voicing their utter disbelief and disappointment between shuffling along with heads hung low and a tear in their eyes. Many spoke of an uncle, parents, or other relatives who were not coming out of their homes or speaking to anyone. Some were more angry, accusing their fellow Scots of being too afraid to move forward.
I heard a few times how the ‘Yes’ voters were young or poor or both, and the ‘No’ voters were the responsible adults. That is not what I saw. I did notice that the more affluent were solidly in the ‘No’ camp, not wanting to struggle through the sure to follow lean years and the ‘working poor’ were in the ‘Yes’ camp, hanging on tightly to socialist ideals that may make their lives easier. Everyone else though, the majority, were pretty evenly split. The ‘middle class’, small business owners, immigrants who were not from other UK countries; all had their own reasons and were not guaranteed to vote one way or the other. I could reasonably guess the income level of a fair amount of people I spoke with, mostly because so many were at work at the time. I could not guess their vote based on that knowledge.
Another thing that amazed me is how fast the city returned to a normal looking state. Had it been a ‘Yes’ vote, I’m sure there would have been dancing, drinking, and bagpipes being played in the streets with every man in a kilt! There were no demonstrations that I saw, no decorations either on the city or it’s people. Posters especially surprised me, they were on the *inside* of homes and offices. I only saw two sets of windows with ‘Yes’ posters the next day and one set with “No’ posters. It’s not like the city could pay someone to take them down. It was almost an unspoken agreement among the people like ‘It’s settled, time to move on’, yet that’s not what many were saying.
Surely it’s my American sensibilities coming out but I just don’t understand. I’ve yet to talk to an American who wasn’t surprised by the results. Most, ‘Yes’ voters I spoke with touted hopes for a future socialist Scotland. Those of you who know me, know I’m not at all socialist. Sure, the picture they painted sounded nice but socialism gives the government far too much power. The American government we have now has too much power. The part I don’t understand is that if the ‘No’ voters also aren’t socialists, why not just vote those people out? One of the flyers said ‘If you don’t know, vote No’. Catchy but ill advised. People who remain undecided should not vote at all. If you don’t like the leaders, vote them out. If you have the opportunity to choose the formation of how your country is gong to run, the vote for what you want. I don’t understand why anyone wouldn’t do so when given the opportunity to be responsible for and in charge of their own country. That aside, it’s not my country or my history. (unless you go WAY back)
The Scottish people did vote and they decided to remain British. The greatest part is that they turned out in overwhelming numbers. Every vote counted, every person who voted was heard. I hope that gives the ‘Yes’ voters a great deal of solace. 85% of the population voting is a success no matter what happens.