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Opinion

Paul McNamee: Status no

“This thing that has been started, a desire for greater self-determination, is reaching beyond Hadrian’s Wall”

Last Friday morning I bumped into Ed Miliband in a Glasgow city centre hotel. He looked relieved though harried.

“What do you think?” he asked. These promised changes, I said, the vow of the extra powers, they’d better come now. They’re going to come, aren’t they?

“Definitely,” he said. Twice.

Within hours, there was confusion as to whether or not he’d actually sign up. And then Alex Salmond stood down, hinting at Westminster leaders offering false dawns.

Those Westminster leaders who sprinted up to Scotland with pleas to save Britain know that they’d better not go back on their word. This thing that has been started, a desire for greater self-determination, for a better way, is reaching beyond Hadrian’s Wall.

This is up to us. Every single one of us

To go back on this promise will not just see an irreparable collapse in faith from Scots, but from awakened people across the UK. The real victory of the Scottish Referendum vote is that the status quo will never be the same. And momentum MUST be maintained.

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This is up to us. Every single one of us. The race to secure a wavering electorate started not because leaders were warned by big business about problems ahead, but because they saw that the people were taking control of their affairs, and in a bloodless coup, could kick in the gates, force change and see a new order. After Scotland, who knows where it would have led.

All over Britain there are incredible ideas and projects to celebrate. I met with some people in Southwark recently who are starting a library for homeless people, filled with the sort of books they ask for rather than those simply donated by well-meaning folk.

It’s a brilliant idea, and like all good ideas it has the potential to be replicated and spread. The Big Issue supports any push to improve literacy and we’ll be doing what we can for them.

This library illustrates, in the same way that nearly 85 per cent of all possible voters in Scotland engaged and began to imagine a different way forward – either Yes or No voters – the ideas that will succeed are those that rise from grassroots.

We all have a vital part to play.

If you have any comments please email me atpaul.mcnamee@bigissue.com, tweet@pauldmcnamee, or send a letter to The Big Issue, 43 Bath Street, Glasgow, G2 1HW

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