Nose pressed against the windae

Being a full time carer and so not getting out much, nor indeed having anything that might pass as a social life, I get a lot of time to peruse the online comments sections of newspapers.  Although I rarely comment myself, you get to recognise the regulars.  It’s a bit like people watching in a public space, only you can have a comfy chair, a decent cup of tea, smoke a fag without getting disapproving looks, and you’ll not get arrested for loitering.

The pro-indy posters are legion.  Some are erudite, witty, and incisive.  Most are informative, and the great majority demonstrate a positivity that demonstrates that Prozac manufacturers are in for a very tough sell in an independent Scotland.  Some are just irritating.  And a handful do appear to be certifiably batshit crazy.  But possibly that’s what comes of sitting on newspaper comments sections day after day, constantly rebutting the same auld pish from British nationalists who keep asking the same really dumb questions.

That’s a national movement for ye, it includes old Scots and new Scots of all shapes, sizes, colours, and sanity ratings.  What all have in common is that they have their own ideas about the sort of Scotland they’d like to see, and a belief that independence is the key that unlocks countless possibilities.  It’s an exciting time to be Scottish, and we don’t get to say that very often.  The Internet gives those of us who can’t get out and participate in the debate in person a chance to press our noses against the windae and see what’s going on.

But it’s the regular No posters who are far more interesting to observe.  Outside the zoo that passes for the comments section in the Hootsmon, regular No posters are far fewer in number. This is intriguing, for all that Project Fear carps on that a majority of Scots are proud to be British, damn few of them are proud enough to do something about it which doesn’t involve a great deal of physical effort, nor even require much in the way of joined up thinking.

Most of those who can be arsed enough about saving the Union to post frequently online are strikingly deficient in any sort of vision for Scotland, and a noticeably higher percentage appear to fall into the batshit crazy category.

There are lots of dire warnings that we’ll be evicted from the EU while at the same time having to adopt the Euro and sign up to Schengen.  They’ve got unanswered questions up tae their oxters, and a lot of la-la-la-ing when they’re given an answer.  There’s a positive joy in pointing out the supposed disadvantages of independence, which apparently will be as bad as experiencing the symptoms of dysentry while being forced to watch reruns of the Royal Wedding Party for Our Great British Olympic Heroes on continuous loop. So not that unlike the BBC’s telly output last year then.

But where we’re actually going as a country and a society, and how we’re going to get there.  Nuhin, not a word.

The Scots-who-live-in-England category is also somewhat overrepresented amongst the valiant defenders of all that is good true and red white and blue.  There’s a bit of an overlap with the batshit crazy category, but that’s probably coincidental.  I’m sure regular readers of the Herald will know what I mean.

I met a lot Scots with low opinions of Scotland when I lived in London.  They left Scotland, but now they’re complaining that Scotland might leave them.  For certain London Scots, it’s important that Scotland remains a shit hole.  It validates their reasons for leaving in the first place.  Scotland needs to stay as it was when they moved away, because it gives them something to mark their own personal progress against.

Sadly this view is common amongst gay Scots in London, many of whom are convinced that Scotland is a sink of homophobia.  This may very well have been true back in the 80s when the person concerned felt like the Smalltown Boy in the Bronski Beat single, but times have changed and Scotland has changed.  Now we can all find the love we need at home, gay or straight, no need to run away turn away run away. It’s the London Scots who’ve stayed the same.  Who’s the cry boy cry boy cry noo?

(I came out as gay to my straight friends in the 1980s when I was living in Easterhouse.  I never had any problems from anyone in Easterhouse because of my sexuality.  I later moved to London where I got gay-bashed twice.  Jist sayin, like.)

Scots-in-England also frequently post to express their displeasure that they’re not allowed a vote in the referendum, like that’s all the fault of Alex Salmond and the SNP.  So let’s break down the obvious for them.

You can’t have a vote because Scotland isn’t independent.  That means there is as yet no such thing as a Scottish citizen with a right to vote in Scottish elections.  There are only UK and EU citizens who are registered to vote in Scotland.  If you’re not registered to vote in Scotland, you can’t vote.

Defining who is a Scottish citizen is something that only an independent Scottish constitution can determine.  Since we do not as yet have an independent Scotland, granting the vote to “citizens of a hypothetically independent Scotland” resident in England, Wales and Northern Ireland must be administered and approved by the Westminster Parliament, and defining who those hypothetical citizens are means pre-negotiating Scottish independence.  The Westminster Government has repeatedly said it’s not going to pre-negotiate Scottish independence.  There’s yer problem right there.

So take it up with David Cameron, only you can’t because he’s refusing to debate the issue or provide any relevant answers.  What was that about unanswered questions?

Oh aye, it was “la-la-la”.

5 comments on “Nose pressed against the windae

  1. bearinorkney says:

    I imagine the Scots exiles living in London are miffed that all these years ago they had to shift South to make a living. Now goddammit the deal they made then is maybe about to be broken by those who stayed at home and were born after they left. It’s as if they feel betrayed and they don’t have to be………they can always come home and work here after we vote ‘Yes’.
    A strange mindset where everything has to stand still in their native land to accommodate their feeling of having progressed and made a better life for themselves.
    You may have hit on something there Paul.

  2. Eilean says:

    I have read some of these “proud Scots” demanding a vote. What puzzles me is where would you draw the line as to who could vote? Born in Scotland, or both parents Scottish but born in England (which I have read on more than one occasion), or one Scottish parent or a distant heilan grannie. Some of it is like you say Batshit Crazy!

    If they want a vote then move to Scotland. However as most of them would vote Naw anyway then they are best left where they are.

  3. Les says:

    Your comment about being gay-bashed twice in London reminded me that, around 1975, I was in a gay club where the barman was arrested by plain-clothes police for selling spirits, which the club was not licensed to do. This was done with so little fuss that I would not have known about it if a friend had not told me what had just happened.

    A few years later, I was in another club which was raided, again because of alleged violations of the licensing laws, by a large number of uniformed police who closed the club after demanding the names and addresses of all the customers. The police seemed to be trying to provoke customers into saying or doing something which would give the police an excuse to arrest them.

    The first club was in Johannesburg; the second was in London.

  4. Andrew Morton says:

    As a regular poster below the line in the Herald and a veteran of OBE buffoonery, can I say what a pleasure it is to read your blog. It articulates many of my own feelings about growing up in Fifties and Sixties Scotland. I once tried to explain to my sons what it was like.

    “Imagine that there’s a party round at the neighbours house but you’re not invited. You go round anyway and peer through the window. Everybody’s gathered round the fire telling stories and having a drink. Eventually somebody notices you and they bring a half eaten sandwich and glass of water to the door and urge you to consume it at home.”

    In defence of those of us who had to go, willingly or not, down south to earn a living, can I say that many of us in 1997 were aching to put our cross in the Yes box. I used to fly a Saltire from my in tray on St Andrew’s day when I worked in Manchester.

    Now, at last, I’m home again with my pen poised for that final X.

  5. jdmank says:

    Thats a very good point Wee ginger dug, I never thought about it like that before,
    (I probably like most people ) just thought it was a decision made by the Scottish government,
    Now we can legitimately blame Cameron and his “no prenegotiation”

    So yous in Inglaterra come hame all is forgiven yer wee ma in Kelty’s kept yer room jist as it wis when ye left tae go an live wi that stockbroker Jeremy an yer 2.5 children in Esher.

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