Though Scotland has settled its independence referendum by choosing to stay in the U.K., rifts created in the fiercely contested vote remain. “The Scottish people got it wrong,” said Susie McIntyre, a 40-year-old stay-at-home mother in central Edinburgh over the weekend, who was one of the 45% of voters who had cast a ballot for independence. “The people who voted for the union—they should’ve taken the bull by the horns and stood up for what they truly believed.” Senior politicians and other public figures are now waging a campaign to mend such divisions and soothe resentment toward the British government.
Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown of the opposition Labour Party sought to smooth over tensions in a speech in the Scottish town of Dunfermline on Saturday, urging his fellow Scots to throw away their “yes” posters for independence or “no” posters against it. In the streets of Edinburgh, many of the blue posters still hang in windows.
“Consign these to the history books,” he said. “No longer think of yourselves as ‘Yes Scots’ and ‘No Scots,’ but all of us Scots.”
A reconciliation rally in Glasgow on Friday suggested that could take some time. As separatists and unionists gathered in the city’s George Square for the event, the mood was somber, despite efforts by a musician and a handful of speakers to liven the crowd.