1 EAGLETON NOTES: Thankful Thursday

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Thursday, 18 September 2014

Thankful Thursday

This morning I woke to blanket fog.  It's still foggy and  it looks as if it could be foggy a lot in Scotland this evening. 

For 20 years I was either a Depute or Returning Officer for the Western Isles of Scotland. A Returning Officer is the person with responsibility for the organisation and conduct of elections in the area.  For the Referendum the Returning Officer is called The Counting Officer (just to confuse).

What is one of the worst nightmares for the Counting Officer (apart from the mathematical possibility of a dead heat)?  Fog!  In many parts of Scotland and particularly in the Western Isles, helicopters are used to get the votes in from outlying areas to the count.  In the pre-helicopter days it could take over a day to get all the ballot boxes in using a naval vessel.  Communications have improved since those days but even so a count by 7am tomorrow would be unlikely.

So today I am very thankful that is one worry I don't have.  

Having said that today is The Day.  The Day that Scotland's voters will decide the way they hope their country will go.  It is also the day when voters will decide, to some extent, the future of the United Kingdom.  The only thing anyone can guarantee is that nothing will ever be the same again for those who live in Scotland and, perhaps, for those who live in the rest of the United Kingdom.

I, and a great many others, will be thankful that at least the decision making process will be over: no more constant bombardment by television, radio and newspapers seeking to influence voters.  Instead we will be bombarded for a while at least by analyses of where everything went wrong (perhaps even some analyses of who did what correctly).

What happens after that will depend on the result.  Another 21 hours if the fog lifts!

23 comments:

  1. You're very diplomatic, Graham. Dare I say that I hope with all my heart that its a 'no'? I love being part of the whole, United, Kingdom.

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    1. I spent my whole working life being politically diplomatic Frances. It's sort of ingrained in me although I've been trying hard to be opinionated occasionally in Blogland in recent times.

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  2. If the "nos" win the referendum thing will go on. We've had two referendums. I'm not sure that we won't have another. I'm hoping for the yes side.

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    1. I think if it's a NO then another referendum will be unlikely for a while and without a considerable fight.

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  3. Well it's early evening and the News has just said that Stornoway Airport will remain closed because of the fog so boats will have to bring the ballot boxes in. They do expect the count here to be finished before breakfast!

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  4. and in other news .... St Andrews will now accept women as members of it's Royal and Ancient Golf Club!! They chose today, of all days, to have this particular vote?!
    Best of luck to everyone in Scotland.

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    1. Thanks, Violet Sky, I think a great deal of hard work and luck is going to be needed.

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  5. One thing I've not seen mentioned anywhere is if a "yes" result would also mean Scotland leaving the Commonwealth? And would the Queen still be spending her holidays at Balmoral? (The latter question only arose in my mind as I received a postcard from there this week. Not from the Queen herself, though...)

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    1. Monica the Yes campaign had very firmly said that the Queen would remain head of state.

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  6. I was told by one of my team mates in Scotland that a 'No' is much preferred. The referendum is just the politicians with no idea and skills feeding lies to people. I have no idea but hope it all turns out for the best. :)))

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    1. Your team mate was proven correct Ruby.

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  7. I hope for a 'NO'. Better the devil you NO than the devil you don't NO.
    I really can't get too enthused. At the end of the day the politicians will reach a compromise if only to save their own jobs.

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    1. Very witty Adrian and I agree with completely about your last comment.

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  8. I had never thought about fog being an issue. If it happens today, I wonder if it will delay the verdict. They have been saying that every vote counts.

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    1. The fog turned out to be an issue Jenny but Highland had to contend with the A9 (the only practical route from the North) being closed by an accident.

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  9. From what I've just seen on the main news here on German telly (the referendum was the first headline), it is not just for Scotland and the UK that things will never be the same again. Many other countries see this as confirmation of either their own efforts at independence or at keeping a nation together, depending their position; Catalunya, Eastern Ukraine and more. And here are we in Germany, a part of Europe that for centuries consisted of so many small separate kingdoms until it was finally made one nation, only to be split in two after WWII, and - generally speaking - happy for being reunited once more in 1989. Splitting up has never been good for us, although a lot of people here in the wealthy south resent the money that goes to the poorer parts of Germany via a complicated system of federal redistribution.

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    1. That's absolutely correct Meike. The Scottish decision will mean big changes for the whole of the UK. I know that many other regions and places were hoping for an independent Scotland as a justification for pursuing their own independence.

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  10. We now return you to regular programming.......your tv will be thankful when it's all over.

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    1. Virginia it's now a week since The Day and although the television programmes have returned to other things on the whole, life in general has not. I don't think it ever will settle to the old 'normal' and we will have to learn to live and adapt to a new 'normal'.

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  11. I thought it was incredible that they counted through the night and the polls did not close until 10pm? Results are declared fairly swiftly here in AUS though, before we go to bed. Polling booths close at 6pm. Hmmm ~ more useless trivia.

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    1. Carol, generally speaking polls in the UK are counted as soon as the poll closes and the boxes have arrived at the count from the polling station. In Scotland we have considerable distances for some boxes to travel but nothing like the logistical problems of Australia so how you get your results declared so quickly is something I'd love to know. Mind you closing at 6pm sounds a bit strange to me because many people must have work during the polling hours - or do people generally vote by post in those circumstances?

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