We have checked the balance sheet of risk and fearlessness, of wisdom and of folly

Referendum Wrap for Fife Free Press'September 18 2014'Inside cover
Referendum Wrap for Fife Free Press'September 18 2014'Inside cover
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Let none wake despondent.

The opening line of the first poem by Christine DeLuca, the new “Poet Laureate for Edinburgh”, strikes a note of conciliation that many will echo after a referendum campaign that has been as divisive and draining as it has been truly exhilarating and all-embracing.

The opening line of the first poem by Christine DeLuca, the new “Poet Laureate for Edinburgh”, strikes a note of conciliation that many will echo after a referendum campaign that has been as divisive and draining as it has been truly exhilarating and all-embracing.

After two years of relentless campaigning, the country goes to vote with every opinion poll saying it is now simply too close to call.

On that knife-edge sit the hopes and dreams of Scotland.

We will wake early tomorrow to find whether we have decided to become a separate, independent country, or we have chosen greater powers for our Parliament and remain within the 300-year old union.

Yes or No. The smallest of crosses placed on ballot papers will have the most profound impact on our country for generations to come.

This is no ordinary election.

This is a defining moment in our history.

This referendum has swept people into politics and campaigning with incredible gusto.

Time, effort, and, above all, emotion - raw, genuine, open emotion - have been poured into debates in town halls, in schools, on TV and across the media, on doorsteps, and have completely swamped social media. No lunch break, no visit to the pub or family or business gathering, no wander along the High Street has been complete without a discussion on the latest polls and developments, and where we may be headed as a country.

For many who have spent countless hours knocking doors, handing out leaflets, manning phones, organising and attending meetings, and talking about the referendum, there has simply been no ‘off’ switch. Lives have been consumed.

Now, their work is done. They can do no more than wait for the verdict.

The stakes have never been higher, but every single vote counts.

Whether your choice is Yes or No, it is your vote to cast as you see fit - to pick the vision you believe is best for our country.

Your choice, Yes or No, should be respected.

And once the result is known we must all accept it. Dignity in victory and defeat.

‘‘Each should work and play our several parts to bring about the best in Scotland, an open heart,’’ wrote DeLuca

We endorse her words wholeheartedly.

Whatever the outcome tomorrow, change is coming.

In his address to the Scottish Parliament as it reconvened for the first time in 1999, Donald Dewar, the first First Minister - the Founding Faither of Devolution - spoke with great pride and dignity.

His words are worth recalling as our own Parliament stands on the cusp of its next era.

He spoke of the Scottish Parliament as ‘‘a voice to shape Scotland - a voice for the future”.

He said, ‘‘This is about more than our politics and our laws. This is about who we are, how we carry ourselves.

‘‘A Scottish Parliament. Not an end: a means to greater ends.”

Fifteen years on, as DeLuca says, ‘‘one way or another we have talked plainly, tested ourselves, weighed up the sum of our knowing, ta’en tent o scholars, checked the balance sheet of risk and fearlessness, of wisdom and of folly’’, and now our votes will set the direction for generations to comes.

Now, let none wake despondent.

>> Live referendum coverage at www.fifetoday.co.uk and on Twitter

>> At tonight’s count follow @ffp @fifefreepressed @ffppaul @ffpdawn @GazetteNeilH into the early hours of the morning using the hashtag #jpScotRef