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Time to Unite as a Nation

Unedited version of my column for Scottish Sun on Sunday 21st September 2014

Time to Unite as a Nation?

When I woke my son for School on Friday morning, the first question he asked was ‘Dad did we win?’ I wasn’t quite sure how to explain to a six year old boy that we had lost. Sitting in tears, I wondered how those who had invested a lifetime bringing us to the cusp of making history were feeling.

I could not remember ever feeling so emotional in the ballot box as my pencil trembled, realising my children’s destiny was in my hand.

This was the greatest social movement that I have seen in my lifetime and of that we can be proud as a Nation, but there is no need for it to become a distant memory.

Spin doctors and professional Politicians were forced to sit up and take note of the giants who emerged from the grass roots movement speaking the language of the people across the length and breadth of Scotland. Whether it was the young people of Radical Independence, Woman for Indy or ‘National Collective’ they all reflected the hopes and aspirations of millions.

Building a peaceful revolution they brought the British establishment to its knees. Politicians like young minister Humza Yousaf have been a great source of pride, who I hope is destined for greater heights whilst others such as Green MSP Patrick Harvie earned respect for speaking with honesty and compassion.

I was proud to stand shoulder with Darren Carnegie a young food bank campaigner who became a You-tube sensation when he challenged Nigel Farage. But the day after unionist thugs terrorised anyone daring to wave a saltire, Darren and his father were back in George Square collecting food from ordinary Glaswegians.

Then there was actor Martin Compston who turned George Square into a carnival of politics by filling it with thousands just by telling everyone on social-media  to turn up at 6pm on a Tuesday.

The ingenuity and the humour of the People’s Movement was captured by rickshaw bike rider who followed the 100 Labour MPs, heckling them with the Star Wars Imperial Death March tune asking passers-by to ‘Bow to our Imperial Masters.’

Big Eck is to stand down, like him or hate him, Alex Salmond is the finest First Minister we have ever had, if it wasn’t for his lifetime of work, Westminster would not have been dragged kicking and screaming to promise us more powers. He made sure that we can no longer be classed as 90 minute patriots and made us proud to be a nation again.

The last month has been a whirlwind of activity, with many heroes, far too many to name here but the thousands of young people I have met have inspired me to believe that another world is possible and for that I am truly grateful.

The 45% who voted for independence can hold their heads up with pride. I for one will continue to wear my ‘Yes’ badge and fold the posters away to show my grandchildren one day.

As for the remaining 55%, your choices reflected your fears rather than your hopes. In the aftermath like many I had hoped you would be judged by history, but I was angry, we need to reach out those who voted No.

They had genuinely believed in the promises that we would be given more powers. Sadly those promises crumbled in less than 24 hours.

Facing the prospect of another right wing Tory government, it is time to unite as a Nation to ensure that we are ready for the austerity attacks we will face on a scale unknown since the days of Margaret Thatcher- for our children we have no other choice.

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