As we reach the end of a remarkable year for Scotland I have many vivid memories of the incredible referendum campaign and its aftermath. Fantastic public meetings in packed halls, animated exchanges on doorsteps, Jim Sillars and the Margomobile, the BBC protests, the return of Tommy Sheridan.
I was standing a few yards from Jim Murphy on Kirkcaldy High Street when the eggs were thrown – the first egg missed him in fact and whistled past my leg – a memory that still makes me chuckle. But far from being amused, I rue a wasted opportunity in the closing days of the campaign.
In the final phase of a marathon match in which Yes had just taken a 51-49 lead, the ball was passed to the Better Together prop forward who lumbered towards the line for what they hoped could be a match-winning try. Some commentators think that Gordon Brown saved the union. Certainly it was vital for the Yes side that he was taken down and I believe I missed a chance to tackle him at a Kirkcaldy meeting a few days before the referendum, with a great many journalists present and TV cameras filming the event.
As usual the Better Together organisers had tried to keep out Yes supporters but I managed to slip anonymously past the heavy security presence. In his speech Brown declared that “an independent Scotland can’t be a fairer Scotland – just look at the SNP’s White Paper – they propose that corporation tax be reduced”.
I was astonished – was Brown trying to deceive his faithful followers into believing that there would be a perpetual SNP dictatorship in an independent Scotland, or showing so little confidence in his own movement that he didn’t believe that a rejuvenated Scottish Labour Party could gain power post-independence? Certainly the 35 per cent or so of traditional Labour voters that voted Yes seemed to believe that a fairer Scotland was possible.
I rose to my feet in order to challenge the former PM but little time was allowed for questions and I wasn’t given the opportunity to nail his lie. I look forward to voting in an SNP successor to him as MP for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath.