Capital has lost its enlightened status

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As the dust settles on the 
referendum campaign and the independence movement moves on to its next stage, it is a time for reflection.

One consequence is that on Thursday, 18 September, Edinburgh surrendered its right to be considered the pre-eminent enlightened city of Scotland as it chose fear over hope, voting with its wallet and purse in a dispiriting show of naked self-interest.

The Yes movement is ­diverse, multicultural and radical, while the No campaign was reactionary, conservative and devoid of any progressive policies. And yet it won.

It won, carried along by the over-55s who had been told not to risk their pound, pay and the most ­cynical lie of the campaign, their ­pensions.

Crude maybe, but it worked. And in the words of the Labour apparatchik, Blair McDougall, Project Fear was not meant to be pretty, just effective. And it was.

Now, as 20,000 people join the SNP in five days and we reflect on the fact that more than 70 per cent of 16 to 18-year-olds voted Yes, 
we await with interest the reaction of the unionist
parties to the proposal that this group be given the vote permanently.

No doubt this letter 
will send the platoon of ­elderly neo-liberals who campaigned for No from their armchairs in The Scotsman scurrying to their studies to fire off angry ripostes.

They will have watched in their comfortable homes while the two men who took Britain to the brink of financial oblivion, Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling, sidelined their leaders. And having whined incessantly about no Plan B for the currency, in a breathtaking display of double standards, eagerly grasped a Plan B for more devolved powers for Scotland, cobbled together at the eleventh hour and based on vague promises and a highly improbable timetable.

I have watched the arguments presented by the unionists. They argued interminably about arcane points which ultimately would have been resolved by negotiation and due process.

They have contributed mightily to making Scotland a laughing stock as the first country to reject independence, and yet not once do I recall any ­mention of the poor, frail, unemployed and disabled in any of their letters.

These are the people who will suffer most from the next round of cuts, regardless of who wins the next general election.

Douglas Turner

Derby Street

Edinburgh

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