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”.