Joy & Anguish In Edinburgh
Just after seven this morning Edinburgh was barely awake. Covered in a thick layer of fog, it was a gloomy site to step into as we got off the sleeper train. Still, this week has been quite possibly the most exciting time in Scotland our generation will ever experience. Besides, Scotland isn’t exactly renowned for its wonderful weather to begin with. We slept for about five hours in a far too small of a space but that was still more than many of the people we’ve met today. There were few that weren’t drinking last night. By the looks of it there will be even fewer that won’t tonight - whether it’s to celebrate or drown their sorrows. A Glaswegian friend, though pro independence herself, predicted this outcome. She said we’d likely experience a very festive Edinburgh today. It had after all been the no hub throughout the campaign. But, we’ve come across few celebrations. People here are friendly and welcoming, but few seem delighted. Instead we’ve met too many that feel disappointment. They spoke of their sadness and their anger. “Scotland the brave? Not any more,” said one, adding too many voted with fear in their hearts. We understand the disappointment. Queen Michelle
, our friend and web designer wrote to me yesterday, “This referendum is the Scottish people's only chance to have a vote that actually counts. Being part of the UK means that democracy for us is meaningless since our votes count for nothing. We traipse, in ever decreasing numbers, to the polling stations every 5 years knowing that if none of us did, it actually wouldn't change the outcome of the election. That's pretty depressing.”
That thought is depressing but we’d like to think - much like Michelle herself added - that this serves as an inspiration for the rest of us. Empowerment if you will; that you can stand up for yourself, and make your voice heard. There are too many reasons why we’re not politically engaged enough, why we’re so uninterested. No doubt many of those reasons inspired the referendum. This event, despite the result, is a win for democracy. It’s monumental, bringing out some 84.6% voters - as opposed to 65.1% turnout at the last UK general election. Hopefully it is the beginning of a better future; one we’re more involved with. I wrote to our friend Katie (formerly of the blog What Katie Wore) to hear her thoughts. She said, “I’m so proud to be Scottish, but today, I’m proud and thankful still to be British too,” adding this is something that echoes what a lot of Scots are saying today. Miista is kinda like Switzerland in this. This decision belonged to Scots and only Scots. We don't have a say in it, but we hope this is how most of them feel. We sympathise with those that didn’t see their wish come true, but we hope this isn’t a defeat for them. Even though the union remains intact, Westminster can no longer afford to be so London-centric. There’s no more room to go on without change. The day we've had in Edinburgh has been wonderful despite the sombre weather and somewhat morose mood. Scots, even when miserable, are the friendliest funniest bunch. The openness they welcome you with is unparalleled. They strike us as the kind to give away their limbs to make others feel comfy. From shopkeepers on Thistle Street to gents in kilts, we've met a lot of lovely people today.
At the Jane Davidson
Fraser from 21st Century Kilts