September 19, 2014 : Jenny Bloomfield
Referendum a victory for democracyYesterday we showed that politics is not just for politicians. Let us carry that momentum forward.
Wow! I’m not usually one for expressions of excitement when talking politics, but yesterday was really fantastic. I’ve never seen such an enthusiastic, engaged electorate, putting the lie to all those who say that as a population we are just apathetic and uninterested in politics. Give us something that matters, something to give a monkeys about and where our vote makes a difference, and we will engage.
I have loved the flags, the rallies, and the posters; the families, the young people, the pub-goers all sporting stickers; the bus stop conversations, the workers’ discussions, the endless intelligent thoughtful two and fro overheard in snatches from people on the street. I don’t think a single person has not engaged in the debate – and that includes the wee boy who was energetically singing ‘yes, yes, yes’ to his daddy on their way to nursery yesterday.
Now awake within Scotland is a knowledge that we make politics happen.
So with 97% of the electorate registered to vote, and a whopping 84.6% turnout – more than at anytime in Scotland ever – it is time, surely, to stop and say well done. Not well done to the politicians and the campaigns, but well done to all of us who live in Scotland from all sides of the debate who have taken our democracy into our own hands and shown that yes, we do care.
While the political fall-out from the result rumbles on, we can be sure of one thing. Now awake within Scotland is a knowledge that we make politics happen. So at SCVO we’re working with the STUC and NUS Scotland to help keep that space open for civil society, to prevent a retrenchment to the old, closed political ways. As we move forward as a country post-vote, we will work hard to keep the fantastic political engagement going that all of us have helped create.
But all of that can wait until Monday. For now, I will raise a glass and say sláinte to everyone who voted yesterday and who debated, argued and thought their way to the decision that felt right for them – and to the wonderful, vibrant democracy that we together have unleashed in Scotland.