Footsoldiers have a healing role too

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A letter from a canvasser:

Step by step we walked the ward. We started as strangers and became good friends. As we canvassed more, we learned the tricks of the trade – a stout pair of shoes, sweets, a clipboard and pens, a warm smile. We became amateur psychologists: when was the conversation on the doorstep going well, when was it time to pull away, job done or ­admitting defeat?

The best canvassers are ever optimistic: the next door might lead to gold.

We grew in the process. Amanda was terrified when she first cold-called someone on the telephone; after a few minutes, the patter began and she never looked back.

Young Rose matured – ­possibly helped by the experience of chatting at the front door of a young man who invited her in to see his collection of spiders!

Scott became expert in ­cyber-space, taking snippets of news and circulating them to reinforce the overall message. Jim sighed as he looked at the scratch on his car door, under the newly applied No sticker, then got in and drove to the next meeting.

Our youngest canvasser was aged 14, the oldest over 80, a few with political experience, most completely new to the rough and tumble of door-to-door politics.

Have we done enough? We don’t know. Our efforts have now ceased and we will have sunk back into a well-earned rest.

For weeks we have been pounding the streets with our message and it is time to take stock. We are the No campaigners, proud Scots and, for now, citizens of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.

Whatever the outcome, life will never be the same in this country of ours – we are living through profound constitutional change: federalism or independence loom ahead.

Our dearest hope is that, ­together with the Yes campaigners, we can work as friends and neighbours for the good of this country that we all love so much, for all peoples in Scotland, wherever they were born, and that the scars of this traumatic vote will heal, over time.

R Hayes

Edinburgh

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