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Independence Chat Abounds Inside Inverness Pub

MAGGIE STEWART: Good evening, Nellie Dean's.


Hello, is that Maggie Stewart?

STEWART: This is Maggie Stewart. Hi.

BLOCK: Hi, Maggie. This is Melissa Block with ALL THINGS CONSIDERED - NPR in the United States. How are you?

STEWART: Good, good, good, good. Getting a bit excited over the vote here.

BLOCK: Very excited over the vote here. And of course we've called you. You are the - we should explain - the co-owner of a pub, Nellie Dean's. You're in Inverness in the Scottish Highlands. And of course we've called you because today, Scots have been voting on whether to become an independent country. What's the mood in the pub right now?

STEWART: Solemn, at the moment.

BLOCK: Solemn?

STEWART: Just at the minute. We're just waiting for the vote coming in. Then we'll know if we're to party or commiserate.

BLOCK: Oh, you're going to know whether you have a party or whether to commiserate.

STEWART: Yeah. (Laughter).

BLOCK: Well, Ms. Stewart, were you a yes vote? Were you among those who say, yes, Scotland should be independent?

STEWART: I was a very big yes.

BLOCK: A very big yes - why is that?

STEWART: Yes. It's what we need. We're a very resourceful country. We have the things we need. What we don't need is bombs sitting in the middle of the country. We're a country of heritage. We're not a country of war.

BLOCK: When you say, we don't need bombs in the middle of our country, you're talking about British nuclear weapons based in Scotland?

STEWART: Basically, yes. Yes.

BLOCK: Can you tell, Maggie Stewart, are most of the folks in the bar tonight - are they supporters of Scottish independence?

STEWART: Some of them are, and some of them are not. Would you like to speak to any?

BLOCK: I'd love to.

STEWART: No bother. I'll put you on to Peter. Hold on.


BLOCK: Hi, is that Peter?

POWER: How're you doing?

BLOCK: Good. Peter, what's your last name?


BLOCK: Peter Power.


BLOCK: And tell me, if you can, how you've voted today. Are you a pro-independent Scot?

POWER: Yeah, well, I've just been and voted. And I'm a definite no vote. If it's not broken, why should we split it up?

BLOCK: If it's not broken, don't fix it.

POWER: A lot of folks in Scotland are - been watching too much "Braveheart" films.

BLOCK: (Laughter). Watching too much "Braveheart," the Mel Gibson movie.

POWER: Yeah, and they're voting with their heart and not their head. It's a big decision. And they've got to vote with their heads, not their hearts.

BLOCK: Well, thank you for talking with us. Do you mind passing the phone back to Maggie Stewart?

POWER: Yeah, no problem.


BLOCK: Ms. Stewart?

STEWART: Hi. How're you?

BLOCK: I'm good. So again, you were a yes voter on Scottish independence. When you get up in the morning, if you find that this has gone your way, what will you do?

STEWART: Get over the shock, I think.

BLOCK: Get over the shock of becoming independent?

STEWART: That will be a big one, yeah. Imagine being part of something for all these years, and then you're just not a part of it anymore. It will be quite scary 'cause it's been a big safety blanket for us.

BLOCK: A big safety blanket, being in the U.K.


BLOCK: I gather, Ms. Stewart, that you have a kind of a ritual that you have prepared if the vote for independence does pass. What is that ritual?

STEWART: We will be going to Culloden Battlefield, where our ancestors fought for Scotland's independence hundreds of years ago. You take a double whiskey and you put - a good whiskey, not (unintelligible) your rubbish.

BLOCK: (Laughter). A good whiskey.

STEWART: You take a good whiskey, and pour a dram onto the ground, onto the bones of ancestors. And we'll take a dram and salute to the future.

BLOCK: So you'd be pouring a dram of good whiskey onto the ground at this battlefield, onto the bones of your ancestors and drinking some yourself?

STEWART: Drinking the other half, yes. And salute the future and how we carry on.

BLOCK: What kind of whiskey do you think you'll bring?

STEWART: I'll take a battle of Old Inverness.

BLOCK: Old Inverness?


BLOCK: The local whiskey?

STEWART: That's the local whiskey, yes.

BLOCK: Well, Maggie Stewart, thanks to you and all the folks there at your pub, Nellie Dean's in Inverness, Scotland, for talking with us today. All the best.

STEWART: You're so welcome. You take care, darling. All the best to you all.

BLOCK: Bye bye.


BLOCK: And whether Maggie Stewart needs that good whiskey should be clear tomorrow when the results are in. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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