A Chàirdean – We have all now emerged from a week of shock and psychological trauma, a week in which our hopes for a victory in the independence referendum were dashed. Over the week behind us we have taken the first steps to recovery, and to beginning the whole process of getting back up and onto our feet. There may be some merit to the charge that many of us entered the echo chamber and heard nothing other than ‘Yes.’ Many remain unconvinced of this explanation for the referendum result, but no matter the truth we will have to pull ourselves up and continue the wonderful journey we began when we first made the decision to seek national independence. As disappointed, sore or bitter as many of us now feel, we must take stock of the reality of the situation in which we now find ourselves. With 44.7% of the Scottish electorate opting for national self-determination we have gained for ourselves a mandate to continue the campaign and create for ourselves another opportunity. This may come by making the conditions right within the Scottish parliament for a unilateral declaration of independence or it may come about by another referendum, but what we can be absolutely sure of is that there will be a next time. We may be feeling exhausted and wounded at the moment, but we have achieved something quite extraordinary. In fact we have achieved many extraordinary things.
Plans were all made, for this author, to travel to Glasgow as soon as the result was announced. There was no doubt that the answer to the referendum question was going to be a resounding Yes that rattled in the ear of every Scot and brought them flocking home from the four corners of the world. As one No vote came in after another there was the quiet confidence, wait to see Glasgow and Dundee vote, wait for Dunbartonshire, for Lanarkshire, and wait for East Ayrshire. A narrower margin than expected for Glasgow, the lowest percentage voter turnout, and the look of Nicola Sturgeon’s face caused us to flinch. Earlier that day the moderators of the Facebook independence campaign we had been running drafted two updates. In stunned silence we posted, at one minute past six in the morning, the update that we neither expected nor wanted to post. Later in the day, on an a coach headed in the other direction from Glasgow, I had a little cry listening to Will ye no come back again, remembering my grandmother singing it to me many moons ago. So many people we have known and loved deserved to live to see our nation’s self-becoming, so many of the people we live and work with deserve a better future; one that has never been offered by a union with England.
Then something happened. Later that night in a guesthouse, licking my wounds, news came from Glasgow that rioting had broken out. Unionists were celebrating in an orgy of racist violence, and pictures arrived of the Herald offices on fire. Gloom and frustration became a deep well of refusal. This was not going to happen in my country. A text message came from my brother at home,
More hope needed.
It was at that very moment that my own rebellion was born. Hope. Hope was the answer, and Scotland had given that hope. It gave it in 44.7% of the national vote. Never before had the people of Scotland, the only sovereign power in the nation, spoken in such numbers for change. At least 5.3%, at the very least, were afraid to take the chance because of the bullying we endured all through the campaign. At least, at the very least, 0.1% of Scotland voted No because they were trapped in systems of poverty and alienation for which they were never responsible. Hope was in the realisation that we all won so much of the vote because we came together and worked so hard. Hope was in the knowledge that we need to work more. Now we know what is required, and it is anything but impossible. Hope is right on the horizon. The Butterfly Rebellion was nothing new. It was the same idea, the same want and desire; it was the same campaign, only it was at the dawn of a new time. The referendum was over and the setting had changed. We had to change with it, but so much was now clearer to us. Our task now is to continue what we have started. It is to form the habits of a new Scotland, where the food drops and heat drives are not gimmicks in a political agenda, not that they ever were, but made part of the national characteristic. In changing ourselves we give ourselves a new identity and a new claim on the future, a claim and identity that will set us apart. More hope is needed, and the answer to that is that we need to keep working. We have made the future we want inevitable.
– Butterfly Rebellion