In response to 5th letter in http://www.heraldscotland.com/comment/letters/true-democrats-must-accept-the-verdict-of-the-electorate.25465430
It is understandable that Maggie Chetty was so enthused about the Yes campaign, as she was formerly a member of the Communist Party of Great Britain, and therefore is probably not used to being amongst so many people with whom she agrees. However, she – like many others – should understand a very important fact about that campaign.
It seems undeniable that if you were in the Yes campaign, it was indeed a wonderful experience, full of the joy and enthusiasm described by Ms Chetty, Alex Salmond and everyone in between. However, to those of us outside the happy-clappy-Yes bubble, the sheer depth of hatred and loathing to which we were subjected was extreme. To take just one example, Maggie Chetty describes “vivacious political street debates,” which video evidence shows to be exemplified by the howling down and assault (with eggs, admittedly) of Jim Murphy. To Yes, it might be “vivacious”. To the rest of us, it was just plain vicious.
Likewise, one of the more curious features of the aftermath of the referendum is the praise for the wilder left-wing fringe of the Yes campaign, crediting outfits like the SSP and the Radical Independence Campaign with having energised communities usually beyond the reach of politics. There is also another side to this part of the story. On polling day, Mrs Russell and I were showing the flag at the Knightswood Primary School polling station for the No campaign when an elderly lady approached us. She thanked us for being there and said “I was afraid to come to vote”. She then revealed her hitherto hidden “No Thanks” badge.
It is notable that the turnout for the referendum vote was noticeably lower in some of the areas where the leftwing groups were concentrating their efforts. We may never know, but it is possible that their street politics antics deterred voters as well as attracting others. Again, to Maggie Chetty and Yes, a crowd singing patriotic songs may be a “flash mob”; to the rest of us, they look just like a mob.
Peter A. Russell