P&J Column for 22.9.14

Campaign vows MUST be honoured. We need a firm timetable. When, exactly, is Piers Morgan returning to the U.S?

Jonathan M Lewis, local headteacher

I think we can all agree that, contrary to the complaints from some parents, Garioch Academy’s mock referendum was a lesson in democracy; and analogies with ‘Lord of the Flies’ are wholly inapprporiate.  I have nothing but praise for the dedication of the participants which ensured our debate mirrored the real thing so perfectly.

Division and acrimony were to the fore.  Woe betide any pupil who turned up to school with a Union Jack pencil case or a Scotland football top at PE.  Claims of media bias were commonplace, especially when Mr. Reid’s film studies class were shown ‘Passport to Pimlico”, “The Great Escape” and ‘Braveheart’ while Mrs. Rennie in the Music department had the recorder group play only the Communards’ ‘Dont leave Me this Way’, Roxy Music’s “Let’s Stick Together” and ‘Part of the Union’ by the Strawbs for the last fortnight. Last minute incentives also played a part.  Mrs. Moir’s promise to “No” voters of a sneaky peak at the Maths prelim exam came as a shock; but rest assured, I believe a teacher’s integrity should be beyond reproach, and will therefore see to it that she delivers on that vow.

Following the result, tensions ran high, and I wondered as I left the car park on Friday afternoon, weaving through the opposing ranks, their hate-filled chants ringing in my ears, if I had done the right thing.  Imagine my delight when I caught up with events in George Square.  Truly, Garioch’s referendum was as accurate as it could possibly have been!

The Reverend Edmund Everend

One of the great triumphs of civilisation is the ability to disagree gracefully. I hold dearest in my heart the occasions when I have shared unleavened bread with Jewish neighbours, attended the Glasgow Gurdwara with a Sikh friend, and co-convened outreach groups for troubled youth with my colleagues from the local Mosque. So I was deeply saddened by the lack of civility that has attended the outcome of the referendum.  I therefore resolved, on Saturday evening, to go out into the hostelries of Aberdeen to offer words of consolation, guidance and moderation.

In a public house in the harbour area I chanced upon two young partisans ferociously debating their respective positions. I placed my half-pint of shandy on their table and asked if, perhaps, they might care to join me in a prayer of reconciliation. They paused, exchanged glances, and then – quite simultaneously – both punched me square in the face.

As the room span, I rather fancy that I saw them cheerfully flicking the Vs at the bartender and running off together, arm-in-arm. This gives me cause to hope that I shall, yet, be able to look upon a less divided Scotland. Whenever the swelling goes down and I can re-open my eyes.

Struan Metcalfe, Conservative MSP for Aberdeenshire North

Throughout this referendum the power of social media has been remarkable. It has both energised and divided the Scottish nation. Not unlike the Rowie. And it was on social media that in the early hours of Friday morning, a tad over- zealous in my relief as the results came in, that through a mist of Glenmorangie and Irn Bru, I tweeted as follows:

“A big kick in the teeth for The MSP for Banff & Buchan. Get it right up your Jocksie (sp?)”.

I am sorry. I should rise above petty rivalries. Alex Salmond is a politcal heavyweight of immense standing. I know, because he trod on my foot at an MSP’s photocall for the Commonwealth Games. Crikey!

His resignation on Friday was sad but necessary to allow the Scottish nation – and my left big toenail – to heal.

But now is not the time to crow, to posture, to puff out one’s chest and say, “we are the champions”. That time will come when the Scottish Tories rise again and we have Michael Gove as First Minister. Now, I’m off for a refreshing walk around the constituency to blow off some cobwebs and to meet my people. They always give me their own V for victory sign when I pass by in my Barbour and plus-fours!

Doddie Esslemont, Radical Independence Campaigner

18 September is a day that shall live in infamy for those of us (i.e., me) of the People’s Democratic Republic Party of 39G Seaton Drive. The day had dawned so differently. Opinion polls conducted by unimpeachable sources (me) had consistently shown a 100% approval rating for independence from Scotland. With a spring in my step, the electorate (myself) processed to the local shop to purchase the milk and honey which I intended to consume immediately after casting my vote. But upon returning, my front door key (which I had previously considered to be apolitical) chose this crucial juncture to reveal itself to be part of the machinery of oppression, by snapping off in the lock.   Unable to gain access, I resolved to shimmy up the drainpipe, a piece of infrastructure which I had always considered to be utterly dependable. Alas, here too, I was deceived. The pipe gave way just as I was about to open the scullery window, and down, down I fell.

I awoke 12 hours later in A&E. My head was heavily bandaged. The time had gone. The polling station was shut. The expected 100% turnout and absolute majority for independence from Scotland had come to nothing. The faint smell of honey mixed with unrefrigerated dairy produce mocked and taunted me. I wept.