Think the end of the referendum campaign has put the kibosh on Scotland’s political ardour? Nae chance, says Jojo Sutherland.
So, the votes have been cast, counted and verified and the results are in. The yes voters lost; or did we?
I was, am, and always will be a passionate supporter of Scottish independence. I’ve long held the belief that a country of 5million people, with the resources it has at its disposal, could govern itself more efficiently and fairly. Given that I grew up in an aristocratic, Telegraph-friendly, Tory household, my yes vote was a surprise to many, not least my siblings (who voted no). But despite the mainstream media’s portrayal of a divided Scotland fraught with feuding families, we didn’t fall out: we just didn’t agree.
This extraordinary campaign for independence has given this 48-year-old married mother of four a different dynamic to the ‘unheard little sister’ role that I’d previously occupied. I surprised my family – and myself – with how passionately I believed an independent Scotland was the future. Okay, so 55% of the electorate didn’t agree with me, but the referendum has awoken something in people. Previously undiscussed subjects became the mainstay of people’s conversations; in bars and banks, at bus stops, everywhere, everyone was talking about new possibilities. And it’s still going on. The full force of democracy has shone brightly and, thanks to the role of social media, the way we engage with politics has changed forever.
The result, of course, came as a blow. As the votes came in and the realisation dawned that we were not going to take the necessary leap of faith, I cried. I cried for what could’ve been, I cried for the hope that had been in my heart for all those years, and I cried for the youngsters who’d been so engaged and voted yes, only to be thwarted. But I have faith in our youth. And I trust that their voices will be heard – and listened to – for many years to come.
And though the democratic majority voted no, I don’t believe they voted for no change. The referendum has revealed that it’s not just Scotland that wants to wrestle control from Westminster: all corners of this reunited kingdom have joined in the discussion. The debate has exposed the flaws in some politicians like never before and the assurances made by some leading figures in the run up to the referendum have already begun to unravel. The debate has galvanised a previously muted society, with Twitter and Facebook cast as the people’s parliament.
This is one conversation that is not going away. Since the vote, thousands have signed up to the Green Party and more than 30,000 people have joined the SNP, making them the third biggest party in the UK. With the news that we look set to have our first female First Minister in the shape of Nicola Sturgeon, there is a fresh sense of hope and purpose.
I’m a yes voter but I’m not a loser; none of us are. The awakening of people’s politics, the desire for change and the momentum to continue to have our voices heard makes us all winners regardless of how we voted. Scotland, take a bow.
Keep up with Jojo at: jojosutherland.co.uk
Jo jo Sutherland - Charismatic comedy mother, entertaining audiences worldwide and proving that you can have it all