While not the sole component of success, belief that you can succeed is the sine qua non of any achievement. Everything else may be ripe, but you don't think it, you won't try it, and the opportunity will pass. That is what the reluctant No voters and the die-hard Unionists could not see: that numbers don't ever give confidence. All that numbers can do, from the standpoint of agency, of autonomy, is tell you what is easy and what is hard and what is nigh on impossible. Those who voted No did not look at the numbers and vote rationally, as pundits like Alex Massie are wont to claim. They used numbers to rationalize their own uncertainties and gave up a measure of independence, both societally and personally, in the process.
The spirit of last year's independence referendum, far from being alive and well as many claim, is dead. The open, positive, non-partisan manner in which the vast majority of Scots experienced at a personal level the debate on their country's future has disappeared. The mythologizing of the ascendency of the SNP MPs now at Westminster has turned the meaning of that experience on its head and has created, if inadvertantly, an emerging Scottish identity that is intimately associated with being on the Left, one which has the potential to monopolize national identity in terms of a single political ideology, to the exclusion of other definitions and to the danger of social and political life in an independent Scotland.
A regular customer of mine came into the store where I work my dead-end-but-rent-paying job and said the most interesting thing: “You know, my generation is not used to doing without – if we want something, we buy it. But your generation is much, much more frugal than we are. Y'all have got to figure out how to make money once we've gone.”