I’ve been thinking a lot about the poisoned dialogue directly after and since the EU referendum. ‘You lost. Get over it.’ springs to mind and does nothing to reach out to the 48% who voted against this silly catastrophe. In fact, it pushes us further into the margins of resentment and rage. Not the best way to move forward.

It’s an important lesson in how we move towards what looks like an inevitable new referendum on independence. It’s only fair to point out that, as a No voter in 2014, subsequent events – particularly the Brexit debacle – have made me a committed Indy supporter.

As heated as the debate around independence was, and sometimes continues to be, the after-effects of the 2014 vote were never as toxic to Scotland and our social and cultural life as Brexit has been to the UK. That may be because – apart from a few hardliners on either side – most Scots didn’t get entrenched in an ‘Us vs Them’ frame of mind.

That idea of winners and losers (‘You lost – get over it’) has struggled to gain a foothold in Scotland. As a former No voter, it was certainly never my approach when thinking about or talking to Yes voters. In fact, I went out of my way to reach out to them after the referendum because I knew they were unhappy and devastated. What kind of person would gloat in a situation like that?

As the Brexit debacle plays out and Boris Johnson enters  No. 10, another vote on Scottish independence looks increasingly likely, and I believe Scotland will vote for it this time. We independence supporters need to understand the horribly-named concept of losers’ consent. It was missing after the Brexit vote and quickly turned toxic. We must ensure No voters are looked after in the event of independence because we will need their help and support to move forward.

Independence isn’t a zero-sum game. It’s a starting point for all citizens of Scotland to live better lives. Everyone will have different needs, so it’s important we all dig deep for tolerance and understanding. The poisonous divisions resulting from the Leave campaign’s ‘victory’ in the Brexit referendum should be a lesson to all of us.

Posted by:elizabeth

Trying to do better.

4 replies on “Winners and Winners

  1. You’ve definitely got this, Elizabeth.
    I do worry about a hard core of the right wing Loyalist camp; I fear they may be beyond salvation but there are many more Scots who just don’t fully realise the harm the Union they care for has actually done Scotland. We will need to be magnanimous and very gentle with these people and gently again demonstrate that independence is a new and positive start for them also.
    You, as someone who yourself crossed the floor are perfectly qualified to help facilitate the process.
    Once they realise the an independent Scotland isn’t going to be Upper Volta with midgies, most will get stuck in alongside us with the rebuilding.


    1. We can’t worry about the minds we can’t change. I’ve always maintained that our energy is finite. It must be spent wisely.

      I think you’re correct that most people will be interested in shaping the way the country moves forward. In a lot of ways, Scotland already behaves like an independent country. Other than not worrying about the next Westminster clusterbourach, I imagine day-to-day life wouldn’t change much – especially if we can quickly negotiate our way back into the EU, or at the very least EFTA.

      Totally unrelated, but I’ve always meant to mention that my maiden name is Stafford. Could we be related? 🙂


  2. The truth of the matter is that Max Stafford is a pen-name I created nearly 20 years ago in honour of a wee Staffordshire Bull Terrier called Max who was a wee neighbourhood dog and friend of mine before I had a dog of my own.
    In the real world I’m Davy with the far less interesting surname of Smith.
    I’m honestly thinking of changing it when I come home if I can find a proper Scottish surname in my ancestry! 😀


    1. I was wondering if that was the case, but I thought I’d ask. You just never know. I changed my name by deed poll after I got married. I dropped a first name I never used. It was oddly liberating!


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