Cleric calls for post-independence vote harmony

THE CHURCH of Scotland’s most senior cleric has urged unionist and independence campaigners to join forces to build harmony in the wake of the vote.

Yes or No, the  Rt Rev John Chalmers has called for harmony following the vote. Picture:  John Devlin
Yes or No, the Rt Rev John Chalmers has called for harmony following the vote. Picture: John Devlin

In the hours after the result both sides must publicly declare that the matter has been democratically settled, the Moderator of the General Assembly said.

The victors should then host an event with the key figures from the opposing camp to work on a strategy for Scotland’s future, the Rt Rev John Chalmers said.

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With polls so close during the closing stages of the campaign, fears have been raised that whatever the outcome, Scotland will be left a divided nation.

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Mr Chalmers said the way leading figures in both campaigns deal with the result is crucial in setting the tone, and he called on voters to go to the polls with “cool heads and calm hearts”.

Posters and badges from both camps should be replaced with a “One Scotland” image instead, while opposing voters should pose together for “selfies” and share them on social media, he suggested.

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Mr Chalmers said: “We have encouraged a respectful dialogue up until now - disagreement without being disagreeable; now we need to convert that into preparation for the result.

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“Post your vote, stand back and trust the democratic process.

“Get ready to accept the will of the Scottish people - and that will be best done by setting passions aside.

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“If we do that we’ll be ready for the next step in the process, which will be to harness the energy of both sides.

“Whatever the outcome we will need to be ready to work together.”