Defining ‘Yes’

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Robert Miller (Letters, 12 December) has made the same mistake which is being repeated all too often in these pages. He takes the Yes movement and invests it with the character of an amorphous mythical mass then tars the whole with the same brush.

It is a difficult situation to counter, because I would argue from the standpoint of a very varied collection of individuals (which is what Pat Kane was describing, Perspective, 11 December) and what Robert Miller describes is this single mass (of 1.6 million people) about which he has settled prejudices.

It is hard to reach common ground.

It cannot be disputed that the incidents he described happened. However, they were condemned, not condoned, by the vast majority of Yes voters, myself included.

In repeating that condemnation, No voters should acknowledge that a similar minority in the Better Together campaign also behaved disgracefully.

Abuse of donors to the Yes campaign, a death threat made against the First Minister and incidents of threatening road rage spring to mind.

These actions do not reflect the behaviour of the vast majority of No voters.

What is more sinister and concerning is that their campaign leaders conceived and executed a strategy which included having staff dedicated to phoning pensioners to tell them that a Yes vote would have a damaging effect on their pensions. This is not an anecdotal account. I met pensioners during canvassing who openly explained what they had been told by Better Together and that consequently they were voting No.

I also met EU immigrants who had been told that a Yes vote would mean Scotland being thrown out of Europe, leading to their subsequent deportation.

And though they did not conceive the strategy, on this point then and since the silent majority have remained just that.

Douglas Turner

Derby Street


It seems to me Robert Miller, in repudiating Pat Kane’s Perspective article in the previous day’s Scotsman, is himself being too exclusive in his idea as to what is meant by inclusive pluralism.

His letter hardly suggests any notion of it.

Whatever journalists he refers to asking pertinent questions at Yes campaign press conferences, they might well have been those who did not ask any questions of unionist protagonists but, instead, rubber-stamped their messages and press conference statements as fait accompli arguments.

J K Rowling is no more exempt from criticism and non-adulation than is any other writer or whoever.

Whatever the efforts, including the petition-like celebrity muster roll engendered by TV history documenter Dan Snow, a significant number of Scottish arts practitioners, including many writers, were onside with Yes. As for Mr Miller’s “traitors” reference, there have been few, if any, statements online or offline attaching such labels to anti-independents, however much deserved was the epithet in regard to proponents of the original Union of Parliaments historically.

How Robert Miller can equate the broad open membership disposition of the Yes movement to a cultishness of some of its members contradicts the meanings of words he employs in this attempted comparison.

Ian Johnstone

Forman Drive