Belfast Telegraph

Scottish independence: Publicans really nail their colours to the mast

By Adrian Rutherford

Simply voting for independence isn't enough for Jim McLaughlin. He wanted to make a statement. So he named his pub the Yes Bar.

"My wife and I decided we needed to do something to show our support, so we decided to change the name," he said.

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The McLaughlins bought the pub in Drury Lane on the fringes of Glasgow's bustling city centre three years ago.

Until recent weeks it was known as the Vespbar, but the growing momentum for separation prompted the couple to make a subtle but significant change.

"It was a risk at the time because the polls were showing over 50% would vote No," Jim adds.

"Potentially we could have lost half our customers.

"But we knew we needed to do something, and actually it has been very positive.

"We've become a hub for people who want to gather and talk about independence.

"We've had a lot of Yes voters, but we've had a lot of No voters as well.

"It has all been very good-natured."

His wife Suz is a former Labour activist who turned her back on the party more than 10 years ago.

"I was a lifelong Labour supporter but I turned away during the illegal Iraq war," she said.

"I'm excited about voting Yes and about the change it would bring.

"There is no excitement in staying the same. It is not new, it is not different, it's not a dream, it's not hope.

"If it's No it would be the same, perhaps even worse."

Asked what will happen to the name if it is a No vote, Jim replies: "I really don't think we'll have to worry about that.

"I don't think it will be No. The only question is how big a Yes vote it will be."

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