Go home Yes supporters. Let’s stick our heads under the duvet and give up. It’s all over, we’ve lost, we’ve been trounced and humiliated and everybody hates us … Meanwhile in other news from the same dystopian universe, immigrants give you cancer, benefits claimants are dishonest cheating wastrels to a man and woman, Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage are the voices of common sense, and Scotland only wants independence because we hate the English. Welcome to Ukmedialand.
A recent opinion poll has been published that seemingly shows a fractional increase in the gap between Yes and No, and it’s proof positive that the only person in Scotland who is going to vote Yes is the guy with the blue painted face and the jimmy wig whose photie is always used to illustrate articles on independence. But we must not take that too seriously, the photo that is, the poll is deadly serious – no, honest. We’re just being prissy and humourless to complain. In the words of Alistair Darling – Don’t you know what a joke is? We do Alistair. And it’s you and your entire campaign. The punchline comes on the 18th of September.
The UK parties are lining up to set their face against any grown up cooperation with the rUK’s northern neighbour. Ed Miliband has pledged Labour will commit suicide in Scotland in the event of a Yes vote, by insisting that the party’s manifesto will contain a promise to veto any currency union with an independent Scotland. If there is a Yes vote, Labour’s MPs will face the Scottish electorate with a promise to screw over their own voters. Mind you, that’s not really new is it? Labour MP Jimmy Hood has already stood up in the Commons to assure his not so honourable friends that even if it was conclusively proven that Scotland would be better off with independence, he’d still vote No. The needs of the People’s Party come before the needs of the People.
But we can now see that the No campaign boils down to a single simple argument. Vote No, because Westminster is vindictive and short-termist. They promise to screw us over if we dare to challenge them, even if that means doing damage to themselves. That’s the definition of malignity. And the lies continue – telling Scotland it “can’t have” the pound, when they know that the argument is about the precise mechanism Scotland uses to retain the pound. An irrelevance whipped up in hatred into a souffle of contempt. Vote No, because we’re better together with lying bastards who drip with disdain. Vote No, because you are nothing.
But the Westminster system is one in which a party can say whatever it likes before an election, and do whatever it likes afterwards. Labour has promised for over 100 years to abolish the House of Lords. In 1997 they promised a Scottish Parliament with tax raising powers and gave us a Parliament whose tax raising powers were so limited and hedged about with caveats that they are unusable. That’s a kept promise from Westminster. The promise there will be no currency union is the same. There will be a currency union, they’ll just call it something else. It’s the great Westminster fudge, the only reliable thing about them.
UK party manifesto promises are not promises, just ask Nick Clegg, David Cameron or Tony Blair, and polls are not predictions. Polls are – in theory – snapshots of public opinion at a given moment in time. But they’re not glossy high definition panoramic photies of a Scottish landscape, they’re blurry and pixellated images of a tiny cross-section of a landscape as seen by Mr Magoo without his glasses on, standing on a hill and looking down from far away. They are not as definitive or as informative as their publishers would have us believe.
The landscape is a Scottish sealoch as the high spring tides approach. On the beach at the head of the loch stands a sandcastle, a paper union flag stuck at a slant into a crumbling tower. The moon is waxing, and soon the spring tide will reach its high water. The beach is strewn with the detritus of 307 years of radioactive militarism, of broken promises, shattered hopes and the footprints of the emigrants who made their way to the ships taking them away from a land whose wealth was sheared off, shot up, sooked up, packed away, and sent off to the lairds and lords in bundled fleeces, the glassy eyes of a stag’s head mounted on a baronial wall, and barrels of oil to power the global city far from the land of broken dreams. Scotland the brave, Scotland the beautiful. Scotland the empty and dispossessed.
Mr Magoo sees the grey overcast skies bleach the colour from the grass, the shapes are vague and indistinct. The dark water indistinguishable from the black rocks. He doesn’t see the movement in the water, the waters that carried away the emigrants, the waters that are now coming home. He can’t make out the women on the shore talking to one another about what might have been, and what can still be. They’re talking about dignity, about self-respect, about taking charge of their own lives.
The women are quietly turning cannae into can and have a lesson for their children. A lesson about the day they thought would never come, and how to make it come by building it for yourself. Trust yourself with your own future, they’ll tell them. Listen to your own inner voice, not to others who tell you you can’t. You are a child of Scotland and you can be anything you want. All you need is your own strength and the love of those who care about you. Trust yourself, trust your loved ones, don’t wait for the powerful to grant your wishes, seize the power of your own strength and talents and resources. Define yourself or be defined. They’ll teach the children of Scotland how to change the world, one conversation at a time.
Mr Magoo can’t hear or see the conversations, high on the hill where the two hundred windbags whistle don’t leaves in his ears. He doesn’t see the current he sees currency, putting a price on a soul.
The tides of independence lap at the shore, washing away the hurt and the pain, scouring away the shame, cleansing the land. They rise, they fall, they ebb and flow. And with every passing day they reach ever higher as the Moon looks down and smiles.
The waters reach the sandcastle, washing away the foundations. The castle of can’t is crumbling. The spring tide is coming. The waters are talking, listen to the current not the currency.
Some people have reported difficulties accessing the site over the past couple of days. I understand that WordPress, who host this blog, have been doing some work on their servers. I was having some problems accessing the back end of the site the other day, but everything seems to be working just fine now. If you are still experiencing problems they ought to resolve themselves shortly. As far as I can tell there is no evidence of any nefarious activity, so nae need for any tinfoil hats.