Is it a badge of honour? Is it a tribe? Does it intimidate you, or evoke feelings of solidarity?
The 45 (or 45%) was a name chosen very quickly after the referendum result, I don’t think there was time to pass it through a marketing campaign, or to have YouGov run a poll. It was one of a few flags that were shoved over the parapet after the smoke started clearing, and it is one that gelled with the most people. It’s reminiscent of the 99% during the Occupy movement. It represents the underdog, the down but not out, the pick yerself up, dust yerself off, and start all over again mentality of many Scots throughout the ages. Remember a certain wee spider? I’m sure we’d have had even less luck trying to use that as rallying call. Anyone who voted Yes in the referendum can freely use the term 45 if they wish to.
What are we, though, and what does it mean?
It’s not a movement, it’s not a party, political or otherwise, it’s simply a banner. A banner that anyone is free to rally round. Is it exclusive? Some would have you think so, from both sides of the debate (note it’s not a war, a chasm, a gulf, or any other sensationalist crap, just a debate), but the simple truth is it is whatever you want it to be.
Many badges spark many different reactions in people, whether it says Police, a football club, a biker club, an employer or a political party. Every individual can react in different ways at different times to seeing the same badge. It’s your reaction that changes based on your mindset, the badge is still the same.
For me, the 45 badge (although I do not wear one at the time of writing) is a cross between a recruitment centre and an information desk. It says we are the 45 now (or then, if you are reading this in the future), but we are growing. It says soon we will be 46, and then 47 and more. It says we believe in a brighter future for Scotland. It shouts I do not blindly follow the establishment, for I no longer believe they represent me, or treat us fairly!
But that is not all. It also says come to me with your questions, let me share my sources with you. Let’s discuss the pros and cons, I can be convinced be reasoned argument, I have an open mind. It says let there not be a wall between us, for we are friends, family and neighbours. It says talk to me.
So before you make an assumption, before you make up your mind about who and what we are, have a wee chat with us, we don’t bite.