A quick guest post from Sarah Beattie-Smith, an activist with the Scottish Greens. Thanks Sarah! More post-indyref analysis to come.

Sarah Beattie-SmithI get it. I get why you might want to hold on to the fact that you weren’t alone in voting for independence. That 45% of the voters were with you. But I think it’s unhelpful. Here’s why;

1) Calling yourself part of the 45 harks back to Jacobites. They may have had super cool wigs and kilts and lived romantic (and short) lives fighting for Scottish freedom, but come on! It’s 2014 and we’ve just held the only democratic vote *ever* on independence for Scotland. We don’t need swords to fight for independence, we need an informed, engaged and pissed off electorate with the will and the means to change things democratically.

2) It’s divisive. A quarter of those voting no did so because they believed “the vow” that we would get more powers as part of the union. By focusing on being part of the 45% of folk who voted Yes, we cut off those people from being part of fighting to ensure we get as much power as we possibly can. A lot of them will be feeling pretty low right now. I know some No voters who really desperately wanted to vote with hope and optimism for Yes but just didn’t feel they could – whether because of attachment to an idea of shared struggle across the UK or distrust in the idea of an automatically better Scotland after a Yes vote. They need us as much as we need them if we’re going to build a better Scotland. Cutting ourselves off is just daft when we should all be reaching out – from both sides.

3) It makes us look like we’re wallowing in self pity. What do you notice about 45%? That it’s smaller than 55%. We lost. Let’s not do that awful Scottish thing of celebrating being the underdog and feeling contempt towards everyone else. If we’re ever going to win, we need to have a hell of a lot more people voting Yes and that means we need to look at why people voted no and help move them from No to Yes – just as we’ve done for the last 2 years. We did bloody well to get from 25% two years ago to 45% last week. Let’s not turn that number into a sad vainglorious symbol – it’s there to be built on, not to stand as a permanent memorial to the injustice of No.

For the record, I don’t think we need “reconciliation” – that’s what happens when both parties have done something wrong. But we do need to keep fighting for the Scotland that I believe the vast majority of people want to see – free of nuclear weapons, where poverty is a thing of the past and where we care for people and planet for now and into the future. The folk who want that are far more than 45% of the electorate. Now is the time to build that new Scotland, not to build a bunker.