By Suzanne Plunkett
I find myself waiting in a featureless hotel conference room in the Scottish town of Kilmarnock. I’m here to photograph an informal meeting about the benefits of voting for independence in the upcoming referendum on whether Scotland should break its union with the rest of the United Kingdom.
But if attendance at this gathering is anything to go by, the vote in favour of secession may be in serious trouble.
According to some observers, Kilmarnock, a down-on-its-luck manufacturing town in the west of Scotland, should be a pro-independence heartland. The economically depressed, so the theory goes, are more likely to vote for change.
Yet, here in the Fenwick hotel, 15 minutes past the time the meeting should have started, barely anyone is here. It’s so empty I can hear the tick of a wristwatch from three rows away. We all stare awkwardly at the rain sliding down the windows and wait.
Then – bang!
The door flies open and two chattering volunteers breeze in. They bustle to the front of the room and begin stacking “Yes to independence” campaign leaflets and draping a Scottish Saltire flag over a desk. They are oblivious to the settled gloom until one of them turns around and notices something is missing.