Up to 10,000 people filled Glasgow’s George Square tonight, Wednesday, to rally support for independence ahead of Thursday‘s referendum. An hour after the rally was due to end thousands remained in the square.
The surrounding city centre streets were gridlocked as cars flying flags beeped horns continuously. A great sense of hope filled the air as speeches urged people to keep the campaigning going until 10pm Thursday when the polls close.
“This is amazing,” Laura Littlejohn told Socialist Worker. “So many people are really engaged and we need to keep it going.”
In Edinburgh thousands of Yes supporters marched through the streets to the Scottish parliament chanting “Are you watching Cameron?”.
By contrast former Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown addressed a closed rally earlier in the day to make the pitch for the unionist Better Together campaign. The media duly played their part and gave him wall to wall coverage.
But the issues driving the movement for a Yes vote won’t go away, and half-baked promises of more devolution do not address the concerns fuelling support for Yes camp.
Laura said, “Austerity is a major factor for me to vote Yes. Working class people know the consequences of Thatcherism – we’re the ones that have suffered then, and now.”
She is a full time carer for her autistic son. She explained how she has had to “fight every step of the way” just to try get provision of care for him. The impact of cuts has made it even harder for her.
“I don’t class myself as a nationalist at all, I’ve never voted SNP. It’s usually Labour I vote for but they’re not offering us anything – they’ve turned their back on the working class. I don’t trust them.”
Sean O’Neill and Madeleine Collins are among the youngest voters in the referendum, at 18 and 19 years old. Sean voted for the first time at the European election in May while Madeleine will be a first time voter on Thursday. Both are voting Yes.
Sean wants to see a more just society. He is angry at the Tories. “I don’t want to have a government that demonises poor people on benefits. Or demonising workers in the NHS by trying to blame them for the problems of privatisation. I want to create a more just society.”
Madeleine thinks that Scotland could lead the way in green energy and that’s a big reason to vote Yes for her. She wants to get the government that Scotland votes for. She said, “I want to see a more sustainable society. We’re using our voices to get a society where we can all be happier. We can make it a better place, a more beautiful place all round – and not just the scenery.”
Among the crowds in Glasgow people can’t believe what they are witnessing. There is a resurgence among the working class to stake a claim in their own society and shape it.Tomorrow is going to be a battle to start that process.
There are still many making up their minds. Labour supporters of the union are saying “If you don’t know, vote No.”
But Laura argues, “If you don’t know, get informed, there’s lots of information out there.
“People should get out onto the streets tomorrow and find the campaign stalls and go and have the discussion, then vote Yes.”
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