Saturday, 4 October 2014

First impressions of post referendum Scotland

Yesterday was the first time I stepped foot in Scotland after the referendum. It is a fortnight on from what Alex Salmond hailed the biggest decision Scotland has to make in 300 years so what do I think.

I come from Northern Ireland, so I am used to opposing sides marking their territories. Green, white and orange kerbstones in some parts red, white and blue ones elsewhere. But if you were in doubt you'd look up to the lampposts or the top of towerblocks and there you would see flags of the matching hue to confirm where you were. In days gone by from me this used to indicate whether I was Stephen or Patrick and whether my father came from Londonderry or Derry and more precisely The Fountain or just vaguely the Cityside.

There have always been Saltires flying across Scotland but this time as I traveled by bus from Cairnryan to Ayr and on my train to Glasgow as I wandered a little last night after grabbing a bit to eat in the City Centre back out to my accommodation for this week I noticed something else. Wherever I saw a Saltire there seemed to inevitably be a Yes poster or sticker in the windows as well.

Now I know that not all of those across the whole nation who fly the Saltire are anti British as those who fly the Tricolour in Northern Ireland are. And I expect, indeed know, that there are some who have a flag pole outside their house, hotel or whatever that fly the Saltire that do so for tourism reason and not as a mark of their voting intentions. But I largely was traveling through towns and villages. Or that is where I was close enough to see the flags and the additions. Or just the stickers like the one next to the plague on the Kingston Bridge commemorating the opening of it by Queen Elizabeth , the Queen Mother.

Just like my Facebook and Twitter feeds which has members of the 45% who voted Yes there are signs of people marking their territory. The one thing I did spot is that it is by no means 45% of all the accommodation that I wonders past that still is doing so. But there was enough of it to catch my attention. Maybe by online presence is more politically active that the general populace, or maybe the general populace is more ready to move on with the decision than what the media and the vocal parts of the 45 are telling us.

As I said these are just first impressions from someone who grew up in a divided community, where symbols have a greater importance to marking your identity that almost anywhere else I have visited or lived. Also as I wasn't present here during it and last lived in Scotland over a year ago I cannot judge on the intervening period it is just a brush on the surface from someone who has spent a decade living here.

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