THE nationalist icon Ian Hamilton has claimed the referendum has “radically changed Scotland” because ordinary people are coming round to a Yes vote.
The 88-year-old QC, who became immortalised in SNP folklore when he took the Stone of Destiny in 1950, believes a grassroots movement towards independence has transformed Scotland’s political complexion.
Speaking to Scotland on Sunday, Hamilton claimed canvass returns from the Yes side defy the opinion polls by showing up to 55 per cent support for independence, reinforcing his belief that Scotland will become independent on 18 September.
Hamilton acknowledged that the country will be divided whatever the referendum result. But he argued that division was healthy, citing Nazi Germany “as the very worst example of a country that wasn’t divided”.
According to Hamilton, the momentum in favour of Scottish independence is such that Yes supporters will keep fighting for their cause, even if the country does vote No.
Nearly 64 years after he took the coronation stone of the Kings of Scotland from Westminster Abbey, Hamilton believes he will live to see an independent Scotland. “That would be great, it is what I have waited for all my life,” he said at his home in North Connel, near Oban.
“I know I may be very old, but I am not a prophet. But to me something very different is happening in Scotland today.”
The number of ordinary people – not associated with the SNP – who are out campaigning for Yes and canvass returns showing that working-class people from housing estates are independence supporters, gives Hamilton optimism.
“From the canvass results in Argyll and what’s reported from the rest of Scotland, there is an astonishing unanimity. Yes is going to win.
“It is interesting because the people speaking are the people who have never spoken before.”
Unlike others, the prospect of a nation split over the constitutional question held no fear for Hamilton.
“We will have a divided country,” he said. “If the division is pro-Yes it will be less divided because people who vote for the status quo, don’t have a great deal of spirit. But people who want change are not going to change.”
He added: “I think it is a wonderful thing for democracy when a country is divided. Surely the very worst example of a country that wasn’t divided was Nazi Germany. I want to live in a divided country.”
Last night a Better Together spokesman said: “The idea of the nationalists campaigning for another referendum if there is a No vote will horrify most Scots.