This St Andrew’s Day, we celebrate against the backdrop of Brexit. The uncertainty and chaos at Westminster is proving a catalyst for redefining the views of Scottish voters, so we invited readers to share their reasons for changing from No to Yes

KEN Dunsmuir cast his vote to continue the Union in 2014, but regretted his decision the next day.

The East Kilbride man said his position switched upon hearing then-prime minister David Cameron speak after the result was announced. His new-found support for independence was cemented when the Brexit result was revealed this summer.

“The reason was Cameron coming on to the steps of No 10 the next morning saying that votes for England had to be sorted out,” Dunsmuir said. “If it had been left for a few months it wouldn’t have rankled, but less than 24 hours? Come on. Though we should have expected that as we lived in England for 13 years before moving back.

We should have been used to this sort of attitude.

“Also with the Brexit result, that was the final straw, as all the promises that had been made during the referendum were now thrown out of the window, plus all the lies that were spouted but were changed as soon as the Brexiteers had won.

“Given the chance tomorrow I’d be voting Yes and there are a number who, like me, have now changed their minds. Whether there are enough changes, I’m not sure, but I am sure the argument can be won.”

GRANDFATHER Tom Fahey was recently appointed convener of the Dunfermline South SNP branch.

Raised in London in an Irish family, he was brought up supporting Labour, but altered his view as a result of a “political and emotional journey”.

“I grew up in a typical working-class Irish family in London,” Fahey said. “We all voted Labour, but when Tony Blair dragged us into the Iraq War I vowed never to vote Labour again. Having moved to Scotland with my family in the 1990s, I’d watched the development of the Scottish Parliament. I’d witnessed the SNP grow into a modern, progressive, left-of-centre, social democratic party and government that I was happy to vote for.

“When the independence referendum was held in 2014 I voted against. I regretted it the very next morning when I saw a smug David Cameron going on about English votes for English laws. The final straw was the EU referendum.

Like most people in Scotland, I voted to remain in the EU.

The toxic racism the campaign unleashed was a real shock to me. We were going to be dragged out of Europe by an increasingly right-wing Conservative Government that had stolen the xenophobic clothes of Ukip. Once again, we were going to get something we didn’t vote for.

“I realised then that Scottish independence was the only way I could be sure my grandkids would grow up in a Scotland of equality, dignity and fairness. A nuclear-free, greener and more tolerant nation, and one that is welcoming, progressive, open, outward-looking and inclusive.”

DAVID Henry became a Yes voter after seeing Nicola Sturgeon take questions from the audience at a public meeting ahead of the 2014 vote, with his mother going from No to Yes at the 2015 General Election.

The Edinburgh man said Yes Scotland won his vote after an elderly woman questioned Sturgeon on the Vienna Convention and EU membership, with the then-Deputy First Minister impressing with her understanding of international law.

“I was sold on Yes and prepared to jump blindfolded into the unknown,” Henry said. “After all, if Scotland was such a bankrupt economy why was the UK so keen to keep it in the UK?

“I voted Yes and on September 19, at about 2.30pm, hearing the news that Alex Salmond had resigned, joined the SNP. I have since been a very active campaigner.

“Probably the biggest change has been my mum, who was born in England and has lived in Scotland all her adult life and told me how she ‘didn’t like that Alex Salmond’.

“The night before the 2015 General Election she asked me ‘who’s responsible for the Scottish police having to pay VAT and not getting it back?’ “I was able to give her the answer that VAT is a London matter and it was the UK Government that was responsible. She told me, ‘I’ve made my mind up, I’m going to vote SNP’. She did and she joined the SNP some three months or so ago – that’s a big change for a woman in her 70s.”

Henry added: “My mum has come from a absolute No to a definite Yes – she’s no pushover, I’m proud she’s my mum. I’m betting she isn’t the only No voter to see the light.’

CHRISTOPHER Graham, 20, is a history and education student who is taking a year out and is prominent in the YesBikers campaign.

He said: “I was 17 at the time of the vote. I didn’t pay that much attention and took information from the mainstream media, but I realise now that it was heavily biased towards No. I voted by post the week before the referendum and I think one of the major pushes by the Yes campaign was during that last week, when a lot of votes were won – but I had already voted.”

Graham became involved with YesBikers through his friend Creag Thomson and began reading more about what the movement stood for. He added: “One reason I voted No was the promise of all these powers giving us more control. But we were lied to. Nothing was fulfilled and we ended up with a Tory Government.

“By April I had already changed my mind, but the Tory Government and Brexit helped seal it. As an individual I don’t have any preference for being in or out of Europe, but an independent Scotland would give us a choice. It’s more about self-determination than anything else.”

ACTOR John Jack, originally from Airdrie, North Lanarkshire, who is currently starring as King Rat in the Dick McWhittington panto in Aberdeen alongside Elaine C Smith, switched from being a life-long Labour supporter to an SNP member the day after Brexit.

The 36-year-old, who now lives in London and owns his own production company, Virtuoso Entertainment, said: “I was from a traditional Labour-supporting mining family but when Brexit happened I was appalled by Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership and I think he was a big part of why Britain chose to leave.

“I looked at what was a very different political landscape and there comes a point when you have to put sentiment aside and look at the cold, hard political and economic facts. For me, my initial worry was that I had not been fully convinced of Scotland’s political future within the EU and of Scotland’s economic future as a solo nation.

"Brexit changed everything. My reasons for switching were two-fold, the first was that politically and economically, Britain’s withdrawal from the EU is a potential disaster and Scotland’s going to be part of it as things stand at the moment. Whatever my fears during the original referendum they have been utterly changed by the political landscape.

“Secondly, being a compassionate human being, I stayed up all night as the results came in from both referendums and in the latter I watched Scotland turn a sea of yellow to remain in the EU and the England turn a sea of blue.

“We all know the way the electoral system works. Scotland can never outvote England. So I saw a country that did not want to leave the EU, thoroughly and undemocratically, being dragged into a situation it did not want to be in.

“Democratically speaking, I could not stand behind a situation where an entire people are being dragged into something against the collective will. It is now my responsibility to throw my weight behind change and the day after Brexit I quit the Labour Party and joined the SNP. I will now do all I can to fight for an independent Scotland. My scepticism at the initial referendum was not about Scotland’s right or ability to be an independent nation, it was the timing that worried me and the political situation. My fears for Scotland’s future are now greater within the UK than outwith. If ever there was a time for Scotland to strike, it is now. I will do everything in my power to make sure I get a vote second time round.”

SAMANTHA Steele wasn’t sure how to vote in September 2014, and finally plumped for the No side as she had concerns about issues such as the economy and security of pensions under independence.

But as she watched the No votes stream in the early hours of September 19, she felt a deep sense of despondency.

Over the following months, as the Better Together promises over welfare safeguards fell apart, the disability nurse shifted her views on independence, and decided to join the fight for independence.

“The build-up to the 2014 indyref is a bit of a blur,” said the 46-year-old, who lives near Falkirk. “At the time I had the mindset that independence would not benefit my life and that important questions hadn’t been sufficiently answered.

“I had never been a member of a political party and to tell the truth, I was concentrating more on my daughter’s birthday on the same day.

“That night I watched the results. As each area’s votes came in, I felt more and more dejected and couldn’t understand why. I hadn’t been part of this campaign and yet I felt that something was being taken from me at every No result.”

Steele added: “The next day there was a cloud over Scotland and my heart felt heavy. Then we saw exactly what lies our nation had been fed from the Better Together brigade and what scraps we were being thrown from Westminster.

From that moment on I educated myself. I joined the SNP. I became a committed activist. Next time, I am voting Yes.”

DURING the last referendum on Scottish Independence, 56-year-old Andrew McGurk was invited on to Catalonian TV to share his thoughts on the constitutional future of the land of his birth.

“I was quite cagey,” the resident of Barcelona’s suburbs said. “But in my heart I was in favour of staying in the UK. I was quite proud of the UK. Not any longer. The way forward for Scotland is definitely to go for independence.”

The export manager for a fastenings company, who works all over Europe, says Brexit, the death of Labour, and being impressed by Nicola Sturgeon have pushed him towards independence.

“She’s like the most serious and statesmanlike of any UK politician right now. Any kind of good image that Scotland or the UK had before, as a serious, reliable, trustworthy, steady, stable country is all gone.

It’s a laughing stock. Who’d want to be part of that? Certainly not me.”

McGurk, whose son is actively involved in the SNP, says the possibility of indyref2 has not gone unnoticed by his neighbours: “If Scotland manages to become independent, that will be a gigantic boost for Catalonia as well.”