Tom Peterkin: No voters want to know which way to vote

Some people's belief that the UK should stay together has come to define their politics. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

Some people's belief that the UK should stay together has come to define their politics. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

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The 12,000 or so Yes supporters who turned up at Glasgow’s Hydro to cheer Nicola Sturgeon to the rafters after losing the referendum provided evidence of a politicised public energised by the constitutional debate.

That those on the losing side were so energised was remarkable. The spectacular increase in SNP membership and the astonishing rise of Sturgeon’s party in the opinion polls has so far been the story of the post-referendum political landscape.

Those themes have been so dominant that it has been easy to overlook the reaction of those on the victorious side, many of whom were dismayed that a vote was held in the first place.

Their reaction has been low key when compared with rock star-style rallies at the Hydro. But that is not to say that they have been inactive. Below the radar and seemingly undetected by the polls, there are a significant number of voters who believe in doing what they can to defend the United Kingdom from the SNP threat.

Anecdotally, one hears of individuals, who under normal circumstances would stand out as Tories right down to the hem of their burgundy corduroy trousers, out canvassing for Labour on the streets of Edinburgh.

Similarly, one hears of Labourites who are prepared to deal with the devil and vote for the Conservatives in those rural seats where their sworn enemies are best placed to dislodge the SNP.

Such are the vagaries of the electoral system, I even heard of one No supporting couple of similar political outlook who were unable to decide who had the best chance of defeating the SNP in their area.

Their determination to be politically active in the aftermath of the referendum led to one joining Labour and the other joining the Conservatives.

Among the 55 per cent of the population who voted No, there are many whose belief that the UK should stay together has come to define their politics. .

Tonight, a group of voters, united by their determination to keep the UK together, will meet to discuss the formation of their activist group “Scotland in Uni0on”.

This grass-roots group will not tell people how to vote, but will provide research to enable supporters of the Union to make informed decision on the best way to keep out the Nationalists.

Of course, there are those who sniff at tactical voting, arguing that it is better to vote for something you believe in rather than against something you don’t.

Nevertheless, the anecdotal evidence tells us there is still a silent majority that wants to raise its voice in May’s general election. It just needs to know how.


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