Our YES campaign was exciting, hopeful, positive and full of energy. We had a mountain to climb but we’d climbed mountains before and enjoyed it.
Locally, campaigning started as soon as we knew there was going to be a referendum.
Looking back at early photos, street stalls and work nights featured a handful of SNP stalwarts. In contrast, pictures from the last week of the campaign shows how far we came and how diverse our movement was.
The most exciting aspect of the campaign for me was the large number of folk who became YES activists who had not been aligned to any political party, indeed hadn’t been involved in politics at all before.
It’s became clear that the opportunity for real change caught people’s imaginations and it felt like everyone was engaged in a real community effort.
2014 was a wonderful year. We gave it our all and, on the run up to the 19th, I honestly thought we had done it, against all the odds and the full force of the British state, we’d persuaded enough people to vote YES.
Actually, in Irvine did vote YES but that wasn’t the case across the country or indeed across North Ayrshire.
I was heartbroken at the result. Our collective sense of loss was almost overwhelming. It was devastating and we were grief stricken.
However, what happened after the “No” vote was unexpected. I was a bit bemused when I saw how many people started joining the SNP. Our minds sharpened quickly and winning in 2015 became the new focus. It was clear we had to get as many SNP MPs in Westminster as possible to stand up for Scotland’s interests and, with 56 elected, we certainly managed that.
Next up are the 2016 Holyrood elections. The SNP’s record in government shows that where we have the power we can set our own priorities and make things better for the people we serve.
I know in my lifetime Scotland will be an independent nation again. It is simply a case when not if.