I don’t imagine that many of the Yes voters are currently feeling very lucky. They lost after all.
Judging by the evidence of social media, there seems to be a mood within the committed Yessers of a siege mentality, of convincing themselves that they won after all, at least in a moral sense. (“We are the 45”.) They were cheated out of victory, therefore. On the wild-eyed fringe, there are even allegations of electoral fraud.
What’s undoubtedly true is that it’s generally acknowledged that the Yes campaign was by far the superior of the two (not, mind you, that there was much of a competition given the miserable efforts of Better Together). That’s worth feeling proud of, certainly. It’s a big mistake, however, to think that the key to any future success lies in holding onto the past, far less trying to repeat it.
You can argue as much as you like about the motives or thinking of those who voted No. (I intend to myself soon . . .) What you cannot do is alter the result, which was a resounding No, of a margin much larger than anyone expected. The Yes camp has to come to terms with that or else it will never move on. Even worse, you risk alienating even further the very ones you should be trying to get to close to in order to win them round. Sore losers are not popular.
Still, the sun shines on the righteous after all.
About a fortnight before the referendum itself, a poll was published which suggested that there was a chance that Yes might have taken over the lead. This rocked the UK political establishment to its core. The Three Amigos came north to visit the colony, Labour MPs made a pilgrimage to the shrine of Donald Dewar at the top of Buchanan Street in Glasgow and then Gordon Brown issued the “Vow”, setting out a timetable for the rapid delivery of extensive new powers for the devolved Scottish Government.
What has now emerged is that the poll in question was highly suspect. The low sample size ought to have meant that it would be accompanied by a large health warning; but, it wasn’t interpreted that way, the sensation value trumping any other consideration. It has become clear that it was a statistical outlier, bearing no relation to any other poll result, before or since.
The promise of more devolution did not have to be made. No would have won anyway. It was made, however, and now Westminster is stuck with that unwelcome fact. Cue for much giggling from the sidelines . . .
Moreover, the constitutional debate has descended into risible farce. It’s not just that the promise was not well defined; the three Westminster parties cannot agree now on just about any aspect of it at all. Open warfare has erupted. If there had previously been doubt about the promise being kept, that has been replaced with certainty: it cannot possibly be delivered on time. Westminster will be exposed as having lied to Scotland. The timing is the worst possible: in the run-up to a UK General Election, which will offer the opportunity to give tangible expression to the resulting discontent.
It’s far too early to say where this will end up. No matter what, though, it’s been a gift to the Yes side. Given the size of the No vote, the matter ought to have been safely dead and buried. Instead, the corpse has been brought back to life.
Shower of jammy b*****ds. Cue falling down, clutching sides in uncontrollable mirth . . .
1. In the interest of balance, a defence of the poll concerned can be found at this link.