herald

Monday 23 October 2017

Relief rather than elation on the DRIZZLY streets of Edinburgh after momentous day

The mood among the victorious No voters on the streets of Edinburgh was one of relief rather than elation today.

Scotland voted to stay in the United Kingdom by a wider margin than many expected.

As the city went about its business on a misty, drizzly morning and commuters picked up early morning coffee, there were no union flags waving or car horns hooting. Triumphalism of any sort was absent.

In the city centre near Edinburgh University, Jane Campbell tried to be magnanimous in victory.

"There are a lot of people in Scotland with their dreams shattered," said the No voter. "I do feel sorry for them."

Until around 10.30 last night, when a voting day opinion poll was released showing No ahead, the dream of an independent Scotland still seemed possible.

When the results came in, the Yes voters in the pubs were so caught up in the emotion of it all that they could not quite believe they had lost.

Yes supporter Jonathon McAllister said he was "sad, angry, heartbroken, stunned, disappointed, sick, gutted and lots more".

But Samantha Murphy, who had just arrived into town on her morning commute soon after dawn, told me: "It's time for the independence campaigners to let it go.

"This has been settled for a generation and I don't think we'll see another vote like this in our lifetime. Intelligence has won out over emotion."

On her bus ride into town, she had been checking Facebook.

"I saw Yes voters on Facebook who were now complaining that they were ashamed to be Scottish. Only yesterday they were waving saltire flags," she said.

In the end, the Bravehearts on the Yes side, who made their presence felt right across the city centre throughout the campaign, were overcome by a silent foe.

deflated

The supporters of the union wore fewer badges and did not wrap themselves in flags, but they used their power at the ballot box to deadly effect.

As the result of the vote dawned, the mood of Yes supporters grew ever more deflated.

"I won't be dancing tonight," said independence supporter Doug Bathgate (58).

Although Scotland's largest city, Glasgow, voted Yes, a relatively low 75pc turnout dented expectations of a big boost for the independence tally.

"I've had better nights, but that's democracy in action. It wasn't to be," said Mr Bathgate, a submarine pilot in the oil industry. "We still have our parliament and we will have to pick what crumbs we can from the parties down south."

Independence supporter Amie Robertson, a 20-year-old student, was in a tearful state of high emotion.

"I'm extremely disappointed. I don't know what to tell the people in our country who are living in poverty," she said. "We're fed up with illegal wars. What went wrong? I can't answer that. But people want change, they are demanding change. We will keep mobilising people on the ground."

Calum Martin, a 21-year-old history student who was wearing a Scottish Socialist Party badge, said the result was disappointing but set the stage for the independence movement to go forward.

"As long as there are flaws, there will be calls for independence. You can't put the genie back in the bottle," he said.

"I'm annoyed," said 16-year-old high school student Alexandra McKintosh. "Westminster doesn't care about Scotland. I don't trust them."

But No activist Phil Wheeler said he was delighted with the outcome.

"I'd like to think Alex Salmond is hiding in his bunker," he said

hnews@herald.ie

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