“I believe Scotland should be independent, but without Trident’s we’re defenceless – we just can’t take the risk. I hope you understand.”
“The only reason anyone even listens to us is because we have Trident. Trident’s the reason we have peace, and security, and freedom of speech. Without it, we’ll be walked all over.”
“Look around us. All those shipyards, IBM, the ropeworks: they’re all gone. What do we have left? If Trident goes, we’ll have nothing. Nothing. I don’t like it any more than you, but we have to protect what we’ve got.”
“The only thing stopping me voting for you is the jobs at Faslane. We can’t afford to lose Trident.”
“I’m so sorry, I would vote yes, but my son works on one of the Trident submarines, so… you know. I have to…”
Do you have any idea how many times variations on those phrases came up on the referendum campaign? I heard it from frightened pensioners on the doorsteps, from young people stopping by our stall, from angry workers in our shop waving newspapers in our faces, from tea drinkers at church halls. Even folk walking in and out of the polling both on the day who felt some need to explain themselves – completely unsolicited, as if they were asking penance. Worst of all, I heard this from people who wanted to vote Yes, ached to vote Yes, believed that they should vote Yes – but they wouldn’t. Because they felt Trident was too important to lose – either because of the jobs, the protection, or both.