Thinking of 19th September last year.
Despite voting ‘No’, one of my friends had woken feeling sad and disappointed and realised that she had been hoping that YES would win. She guessed that, if she felt like that, I must be in a right state! She kindly came round with flowers at lunchtime to find me lying on the sofa with a face like a scalded beetroot and eyes so puffy from crying that you might have thought I had been stung by bees. While feeling just a tad exasperated I recognised her bravery and welcomed her into my den of misery!
While I now am astounded at how far we have all come and how drastically my life has changed, it kicked off that very night.
We had arranged a get-together in Ayr Town Hall on the 19th and made it clear that it was a win, lose or draw affair. We felt that it was important to celebrate the experience we had all shared regardless of the outcome.
It was a ‘wake’ in the true sense of the word. It started with hugs and tears and then came the stories; some funny, some just strange. As the evening wore on the music started and the laughter was back. This was exactly like the ‘wakes’ I remembered at home in Ireland; sad at first and then naturally turning into a celebration. That was the first step on the journey that we have all been on since the referendum vote on 18th September 2014.
My own life has changed out of all recognition. While helping out occasionally, I have left the job I loved as a Breast Cancer Surgeon to become the MP for Central Ayrshire. I did not foresee this let alone plan it. On 23rd November, after 2 months of people trying to get me to stand, I spent the afternoon with Jeane Freeman at a Women for Independence rally in Troon. 230 women who had paid to come and hear us giving it laldy about women needing to step up to the plate and speak out. It clearly worked as when I woke up the next day I simply thought “if not me, who?”
The rest, as they say,…….
One year on, with 55 colleagues in Westminster, I have watched the Tory Government take an axe to Social Security, try to make Scottish MPs second class and moderate their heartlessness towards refugees only through the shame of seeing a little boy’s limp body in the surf.
Our constituents see that we are there in the Chamber, we are questioning, we are arguing, we make sure that Scotland’s Voice is heard in every debate – but the Tories simply don’t listen!
One year on and I am even more certain that Scotland will be an Independent Country.
Not right now, but it’s coming yet for a’ that!