"I can almost imagine what it feels like to be Scotland’s only Tory MP"by Brenda Kutchinsky / September 23, 2014 / Leave a comment
The memory of that historic night, September 18th 2014, will stay with me. The sheer happiness. The relief beyond belief and tears. As the results roll in I am on my feet shouting joyously at the television. I feel as if a great weight has been lifted off me. I feel dizzy and giddy, although I suppose I have been up all night. The sun is shining. The mist and grim weather of the past week has gone, a great omen for this new Scotland.
Phone calls and messages come flooding in, one from a dear friend who voted Yes but is happy she won’t have to visit me in a foreign country (I was planning to decamp south of the border if Scotland had gone independent), friends in America and Singapore also call—happy Britain is staying united. The silent majority has made themselves heard, even in Alex Salmond’s Aberdeenshire backyard, despite Better Together having run a really woeful campaign.
As I drive to the nearest village, New Aberdour, where the previous day I had cast my vote in the stuffy church hall, the plethora of Yes posters which had covered this, and many other, villages had vanished. For a second you could almost believe that the Independence Referendum had never happened. But, what will this Scotland, familiar but different, with 45 per cent of the electorate against the Union be like?
I return to Pennan and walk through my village with a spring in my step, when I encounter the sole remaining fisherman (there were 300 a century ago), who I have counted as a close friend for many years. Before I can speak, he starts shouting angrily that he doesn’t want to talk to me, that it is a terrible day for Scotland and that it’s all my fault. I back off, apologising as I go.
Then I turn and see my two left-wing activist friends, who had campaigned ardently for a Yes vote, arriving back in the village. They had been up all night and looked defeated. Yet, they still found the energy to dole out blame—among their many enemies were; Westminster, the media, pensioners and, of course, the Labour Party. I tried to calm the situation but there’s currently not enough oil in the world, never mind the North Sea, to pour on these troubled waters. Two other villagers wander past, also shocked and disbelieving of the result. One of them had read my previous article “I’m the only No in my village” and claimed to be surprised that I didn’t share their dream of an independent Scotland.
My No vote is still a badge of shame and I see the judgement in their eyes; traitor, quisling, not Scottish. I retreat quickly, wondering how long this will take. I was foolish to think normality would have returned so fast. This was a long, drawn out campaign in which bullying became increasingly commonplace. In the end, 1.6m people voted for independence and the Yes side see that as a victory of sorts. Despite announcing his resignation late on Friday, Alex Salmond keeps promoting disunity and new groups are emerging dedicated to carrying on the fight for independence. One such group, The 45, already has 167,880 Facebook likes and has released a list of brands, businesses and media organisations that they will be boycotting because they “scared Scotland” in the run up to the referendum.The anger is still red hot.
I must go back to keeping my head down, avoiding social events in the village hall, particularly next week’s post-referendum ceilidh where alcohol will flow freely (I’m not opposed to drinking, just the rows that it can induce). I can almost imagine what it feels like to be Scotland’s only Tory MP. The new dawn is coming, we just have to be patient. Come on Scotland the Brave—let’s live up to our name and build a better future for both Scotland and Britain. Gordon Brown, son of the manse and saviour of the Union, we need you to guide us. My next campaign is to see Gordon installed as Scotland’s next First Minister, who’s with me?