Hoping for a better tomorrow

Susan Christie and grandchildren Louise (1) and Gemma
Susan Christie and grandchildren Louise (1) and Gemma

After months of talking and arguing, appearances by high profile politicians and frenzied public debate, Cumbernauld and Kilsyth residents finally went to the polls today - to cast their votes for the most important political decision in 300 years.

MP Gregg McClymont said he was happy with the way his campaign had gone, and was pleased to see obvious signs of a high turnout.

The volunteers who have run the No shop in Cumbernauld town centre for many weeks were finally getting set to roll down the shutters on a fixture they reckon has helped many local people make their minds up – to save the Union.

Meanwhile in Kilsyth grandmother Susan Christie (pictured, with grand-daughters Louse Carberry, just turned one, and Gemma Orr) has no doubts about how she’s going to vote.

“This is all about trying to build something positive for the next generation,” she said.

“The Yes campaign in Kilsyth has been excellent in getting over the message, and so many people are involved who have never been interested in politics before.”

That view is echoed by local SNP councillor Alan Stevenson, who was manning the Yes shop opened recently in Kilsyth Main Street.

“Whatever the result tonight we know Scotland will never be the same again.

“The first day we opened here 33 people came through the door, and the interest has built up from there.

“Beyond the election, we’re a community in Kilsyth and we’re used to working together.”

Has there been any friction or malicious incidents, as talked up in some daily newspapers?

“The only thing I’m aware of is a group of ‘revellers’ who tried to put up a Union Jack one night – but if the worst that happens is a couple of Yes posters being down I don ‘t think that’s really a worry.

“On the contrary it has been a unique campaign in which most people, many for the first time in their lives, are engaged in a vital debate about the future of Scotland – Kilsyth, and Scotland, can only benefit from that”.

By lunchtime local polling stations seemed exceptionally busy.

Kilsyth Labour councillor Heather McVey said: “Our volunteers have been fantastic, and this has been an extraordinary campaign.

“From a Labour point of view, we’ve got a lot of people finding out that the Labour movement is the largest political group in Europe, and while it is wrong that we have food banks, and wrong that pensioners have to worry about bills, Labour has a huge part to play in forging a better future.”

She added: “But we’re voting about Scotland and the union today, a completely separate issue - and I’m delighted the debate about what should happen has captured people’s imagination, and motivated them to get involved.”