Tuesday was a beautiful day, even if the weather was back to grey after a rare spot of sun. I went out socially for the first time in ages thanks to a neighbour who’s a trained carer who sat with my partner allowing me to meet up with a couple of friends for lunch in a nice restaurant. A few weeks back, they gave me an iron because the old one had exploded as irons are wont to do. So I ironed a shirt and put on my best suit. A handmade three piece Savile Row suit bought in a charity shop in London nearly 25 years ago for the princely sum of a tenner. It’s my lucky suit. Every time I’ve worn it to a job interview I’ve been offered the job.
I wore it to a posh do at the Irish Embassy after accepting one of those jobs – which happened to involve the occasional trip to places like the Irish Embassy where they didn’t offer anyone Ferrero Rocher and I was totally gutted – but by way of compensation an even posher man from the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office came up to me and attempted to engage me in conversation. I’m sure he fancied me, because I was still young and had hair, but he didn’t look like any of the James Bonds so I wasn’t really interested. In the plummiest of tones he said: “I do so love your suit. You must give me the name of your tailor!” And I said, “Aye, it wis Relief Fund for Romania.” He sidled off quickly.
I used to buy all my suits in charity shops. But that was before vintage menswear retro became fashionable, prices went through the roof, and hipsters ruined what was once a cheap hobby. And made me fashionable, which was quite annoying because one of the reasons for getting into retro vintage gear in the first place was because it was deliberately unfashionable. I used to tell people I was an anarchodandyist – bringing about the downfall of capitalism by being extremely well dressed.
Some people believed that was a real political position. Which only goes to show that there’s a proportion of the population who are more prone to believing things if they’re said with conviction by man in an expensive looking suit – this explains a great deal about modern politics and why things need to change. The great Steve Biko, the anti-apartheid activist who was murdered by the racist South African police in 1977, knew that too. He said, “If you want to say something radical, dress conservatively.” But I digress.
Anyway after a very pleasant afternoon with my friends, and without being asked for the name of my tailor by any posh Foreign Office persons, I come home to find there’s been news in the independence campaign. Very good news indeed. The lucky suit’s been lucky again.
The Radical Independence Campaign published the results of their mass canvassing held on 22 June. The results show why the No Hope campaign has been in full-on panic mode for the past few weeks – because they’re doing private polling and canvassing too. The 978 volunteer canvassers spoke to the residents of 46 districts across Scotland, getting 8317 responses; 40% Yes, 29.5% No, 30.5% undecided. In every area canvassed, Yes was ahead of No, often by a considerable margin. In some districts, the percentage of No voters was as low as 14%.
The usual caveats and disclaimers apply. Good news always comes with small print, but it’s still good news. Extremely encouraging news, and news which for once chimes in with the opinions and views of the people I actually encounter in real life. In this part of the East End of Glasgow, there are a lot of Yes supporters, a lot of don’t knows, a not insignificant number of don’t give a shits, but very few confirmed No voters. The Yes supporters are the ones who are excited and motivated and are going to turn up and vote. Yes supporters are the happy ones. Their excitment and motivation is proving to be contagious. It’s not the virus of nationalism after all, it’s the cross-fertilisation of hope, supporting Yes is infectious like laughter.
There’s not much in the way of joy from the miserabilists of No. The stitching has come loose in the arse of their suit troosers. The expensively besuited Alistair Darling has spent the last six months telling anyone who would listen that he would debate Alicsammin “anytime, anyplace”. He must have been wearing his lucky suit too because over the weekend Alicsammin waved the sparkly debate wand and granted his wish, with the proviso the debate was held after the Commonwealth Games have finished and there’s half a chance people might watch it. You’d think Alistair would have been happy, since “in an STV studio in August” does indeed fall within the definition of “anytime, anyplace”.
But it transpires that Alistair meant “anytime, anyplace” except August, because he’s off looking for a tailor to repair the arse of his troosers. Oh and any day with a Y in its name is right out too. It’s a religious thing, like not eating meat on Fridays or not being eaten alive by a First Minister any time at all.
However he’s still willing to debate anyplace, although just not anywhere on planet Earth unless it’s deep within the security bunker of a BBC studio where he’s protected by 6 foot plates of Jim Naughtie. To be fair, this still leaves over 99% of the rest of the solar system, so it’s not like Alistair is being unnecessarily restrictive. I should really stick in a Uranus joke here, but that would just be adding to the cruelty.
Ah but – in breaking newspincycle – it’s actually Alicsammin who’s the big feartie because he won’t debate Alistair in July when Scotland goes on holiday. And it’s all the fault of that nasty STV which is in cahoots with Alicsammin, and probably allows him to broadcast his mind control waves over their transmitters. Someone of Alistair’s stature can’t possibly appear on a minor regional TV channel. He hasn’t run away to hide at all, oh no. He’s just an ageing silent movie star who thinks it’s the pictures that have got too small. The suits of Better Together are lying face down in the swimming pool with knives in their backs. I’m ready for my close up Mr Naughtie.
But rather than descend further into the madness which is the No Clue campaign, I’ll just rehash a Martini advert jingle. It’s in keeping with the lounge lizard suit vibe.
Anytime anyplace anywhere
BT’s speaker is an empty chair
Not the grey one
the scared one
So bring on the empty chair. The case for the Union is brought to you by a vacant space. Tells us all we need to know, doesn’t it.
Perhaps I need to wear that suit more often. After all, Yes is the elegant equation in this debate. Dress for Yes Success.