Evoking Obama, Scottish ‘Yes’ camp full of hope at last rally

Evoking Obama, Scottish ‘Yes’ camp full of hope at last rally
In front of hundreds of supporters shouting ‘Yes we can’, First Minister Alex Salmond urged Scots to seize the ‘opportunity of a lifetime’ on Thursday and vote for independence in his final rally of the campaign.

Full of the same hope which infused Barack Obama’s 2008 US presidential campaign, independence campaigners greeted their leader as a hero, waving ‘Yes’ banners, wearing ‘Yes’ hats and even wearing football shirts emblazoned with the word.

Looking tired and sounding croaky after months on the stump, Salmond warned there was no room for complacency despite polls showing the ‘Yes’ camp could snatch victory.

But at times he laid caution over the result aside, allowing his rhetoric to soar and evoking great Scots like Robert Burns and Adam Smith. ‘Tomorrow for a few precious hours during polling day, the people of Scotland will hold in our hands the exclusive, solemn power to define our nation for the future,’ he told the crowd in Perth, north of Edinburgh.

‘It’s the greatest, most empowering moment that any of us will ever have.’

At points during the speech, supporters broke into chants of ‘Yes we can, Yes we can’, the slogan made famous by the 2008 US presidential campaign that swept Obama to victory.

But Obama himself weighed in against independence on the night, in a tweet advocating a ‘No’ vote.
‘The UK is an extraordinary partner for America and a force for good in an unstable world. I hope it remains strong, robust and united,’ the White House twitter account said in a message signed by the president.

For supporters of independence, the night was a chance to contemplate what might be, come tomorrow morning after the vote.

Several hundred gathered outside the venue before Salmond’s speech, waving Scottish flags and singing traditional songs like ‘Loch Lomond’, with its promise: ‘You take the high road/ And I’ll take the low road/And I’ll be in Scotland before you.’ Adam Tracey, with four-year-old daughter Lucie on the back of his bicycle, said he was nervous about the result but hopeful of a ‘Yes’ so that Scotland could become a more equal society.

‘Scotland has been treated as a region of England and it’s disgusting,’ he said. ‘Where has the money from the oil gone? It doesn’t have to be like this.’ Back inside, the crowd reserved their loudest cheers for Salmond’s explanations of how he would put that right.


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