Scottish independence: At Glasgow's busiest polling booth, voters arrive in their hordes

No clear winner as 40% cast their votes before 3pm

Click to follow
The Independent Online

At Glasgow’s busiest polling station off Byres Road in the city’s West End, located between the student population of Glasgow University, middle-class Hyndland and the once traditional Labour voting of Partick, almost 40 percent of registered voters had marked their ballot papers before 3pm. Both the Yes and No campaigners visible at the gate of the red sandstone primary school said they had been involved in general and Holyrood elections. “This like nothing we’ve seen before, astounding,” said the woman holding up a No poster.

She said the climate of intimidation that had been evident in the neighbourhood over the last two weeks had meant No voters were reluctant to show their colours. “But we’ve had plenty of quiet thumbs-up as people left the school,” she said.

On the bridge from the gate to the school’s entrance, in which the main voting hall was, voters told The Independent how and why they’d voted.

Brothers Ben and Leon, one a freelance journalist, the other a would-be music sound engineer, held opposing views but nevertheless marched to the poll together and still smiling. Ben was voting Yes because “this might be a one-off opportunity”. Leo described the Yes campaign as idealistic and over-optimistic. “Governments all over the world say the same thing and fail to deliver on the promises they make. A government in a separate Scottish state will be no different. Britain and every country has finite resources. We should be sharing them, not putting barriers up."

 

One Glasgow University psychology student, with parts of her hair coloured red and blue – not intentional apparently – said: “I’m not from Scotland. And not from England either. I was brought up in France and elsewhere. And though I’m not entirely sure why, I feel No is my answer. That’s been criticised by my friends at university – most of them voting Yes – as not a good enough reason. But it’s the way I feel.”

Another women, walking with her young daughter admitted “I really don’t understand all this. I don’t. But when I look at all the stuff I don’t understand and all the risks I’ll be taking – it’s No. That’s not complicated, but its what I feel.”

scotland-polls-10.jpg
Chris McAleese at Bannockburn Polling Station, as voters go to the polls in the Scottish Referendum (PA)

Others making their way out of the school, with police at the gates and inside the school, offered almost monosyllabic reasons for their choice. These consisted of “Pensions - I’m near retirement. And an independent Scotland can’t guarantee my future or that of my family’s.” Other words rattled off at Partick included: “not enough guarantees”, “why are doing this?”, and “I don’t trust politicians but I distrust Salmond the most.”

Outside the polling station a CNN camera crew were broadcasting the views of this part of Glasgow to the world. One elderly woman, who said she’d lived in Partick all her life said :”It’s about time the world learned what I think. My wisdom’s been ignored for too long.” Her pals were laughing through her joke.

The official sitting on a small stool at the school, said that while the steady flow coming through from 8am had been mostly peaceful, there had been the odd incident. “We had one man who started shouting at everyone over the need to get rid of the nuclear base at Faslane. And one person was angry that his car, which had a few No stickers on its back window had been completely vandalised. “The man said they’d taken keys and rocks and destroyed the outside of his car, scratched it to hell. That shouldn’t be happening – not here.”

Comments