Graham Campbell reports from Glasgow
George Square last night was like Glastonbury. 10,000 people filling the square and a joyous party atmosphere: mostly, but not exclusively younger people. Bands and pipers played, reels were danced.
Today’s voting has been amazing. The turnout is so high at Alexandra Parade, Dennistoun there was a queue akin to South Africa in 1994 in front of my polling station. By 9.30am more people had voted already than had voted in the European elections earlier this year. By 11am voter turnout had already surpassed general election levels in what is usually a solid Labour seat. Tellingly the Labour No campaign could not muster anyone to stand opposite me at the polling entrance until 9am!
In the past Dennistoun had an Orange Loyalist population – even up to 2003 when I first stood as as socialist candidate here – the Scottish Unionist Party got 2000 votes. Since then, unionism has declined to the point of irrelevance. Duke St where my local branch of Yes Provan is based and which includes Glasgow’s impoverished East End would have once been solidly pro-Union. Today only Yes posters can be seen in any numbers in windows, on car windscreens and on peoples lapels and T shirts.
From the responses at my polling place that Yes is leading 2 to 1 here. We have succeeded in persuading Labour supporters to vote yes but more importantly the 700,000 newly register voters have come out to vote Yes. If that is replicated across Glasgow then we will win the referendum tonight.
There is a real atmosphere of empowered citizens voting to stop war, poverty and inequality and get a government they actually voted for, not Westminster. Things have changed forever and the role of the Radical Independence Campaign has been pivotal in shifting the wider debate leftwards. The very inclusive and broad Yes campaign is ‘not just the SNP’ but includes socialists, revolutionaries, republicans, environmentalists, feminists, anti-racist campaigners, anti-poverty community activists. They are largely people who are politically active for the first time in their lives. It bodes well for the future prospects of the left and for the possibilities of achieving greater rights and freedoms in ScotlandScotland.