Thursday, 18 September 2014

What country will we be in tomorrow morning?

For those of us who actually voted in the referendum today it was something of a momentous occasion, the impact of which we hadn't really been able to anticipate. But in chatting to others, there was a common strand of deep emotion which evidently ran through most of their experience of voting. "My hands were shaking", said one person. "I felt deeply moved as I stood there and looked at the voting paper" said another, and so on. The implications of a vote either way, ran through us. This was different. Governments come and go. Political leaders have their day and say. This had a "once and for all" irrevocable, unchangeable, fixedness about it. We don't readily go there in things so deep. We like to keep our options open. But today we had to commit. We all knew just how much this mattered, and we also cared that everyone else cared too. Again, a common theme was just how much we wanted others to vote, to show their hand, so that whatever happened, we would know that a great many people had shifted or stayed the course of our nation, and not just the usual crowd.

By now the boxes from the tiniest communities are making their sealed way to the counting centres, and soon the media will be fixing their gaze on those spots and flooding the nation with speculation, opinion, and guesswork. I know some people will sit up and with bated breath give the process their rapt attention through the wee hours. Much as is invested in the result, I will not. I can't change the outcome now, and the razor's edge of emotion as the counts swing the overall result one way and then another will not be good for me. Great moments in the history of our nation have come and gone without everyone staying awake throughout their course. It will be strange however going to bed knowing that the morning will bring news of something that matters deeply to all of us, and will change the face of our nation (UK and Scotland, yes or no) for good. Some people are expressing the worry that we will whatever happens wake up a divided nation. I don't think so. We are pretty good, I suspect, at accepting the majority decision, by and large, and working with it together. There will no doubt be some high profile dissenting from the majority view, but that will just help sell papers hopefully.

So I go to bed tonight with the feeling that we've all jumped off a diving board together, into the dark. Let's see where we land.


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