Scottish independence vote: ‘No’ campaigners’ rally relegated from Arthur's Seat to cricket pitch

 

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The Independent Online

Despite unsavoury associations with the darker aspects of Edinburgh’s past, few locations afford a more stunning backdrop for a photo opportunity than Arthur’s Seat.

But hopes of pressing the city’s premier vantage point into the service of the No vote were scuppered on Sunday, with Unionists claiming they had been thwarted on the orders of the SNP Government.

Organisers had hoped that thousands of supporters in favour of remaining part of the UK would gather in the form of a human No on the site of the extinct volcano that overlooks the Scottish Parliament. They were to symbolise what the No campaign claimed was the “silent majority” in favour of the status quo.

However, they were forced to move the location of the stunt after Historic Scotland, responsible for the site where 17 miniature coffins were discovered in the 19th century, said they could not climb the hill without its permission.

Instead, around 1,500 gathered on a cricket pitch in the Stockbridge area of the city to make their point.

 

Organiser Felicity Kane said she was convinced that pressure had been brought to bear to stop the event, which had been publicised on social media – a claim fiercely denied by Historic Scotland.

Ms Kane said Arthur’s Seat had already been used by Yes campaigners who unfurled a giant banner there last week.

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A pro-Union pet joins the campaign

“This was a personal idea I had last week. I don’t see a positive message that has gone out so far from Better Together, so I wanted to do something in which the hopefully silent majority could come together.

“People with families don’t want to get into a debate but they do want to do something,” she said.

A spokesman for Historic Scotland denied there had been any political interference in its decision and said that it refused to allow any of its sites to be used for any political purposes. “As we had not been approached for permission we had to track down and contact the organiser ourselves. From the initial contact with the organiser last Wednesday we made it clear that we could not allow the event to go ahead. Historic Scotland does not allow political campaigning to go ahead on our properties and [we] have refused numerous similar requests in the past,” he said.

At the cricket-pitch rally in Stockbridge, Sir Menzies Campbell urged No supporters to take time off work this week to rally support against the break-up of the UK, which he said had been the most successful union of all time.

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