Making a vow

There was a vow on the front page of the Record yesterday. Britain isn’t just great, it’s superduper and comes with fruit preserves. Davie, Ed and Nick have promised Scotland jam, and marmalade, and curd if the uppity Caledonians get back into their tartan decorated shortbread tin. There will be massed choirs singing our praises when Scottish visitors get off the train at Euston where they will be bedecked with garlands of flowers and winning lottery tickets. Everyone is going to get devo-max, even Berwick. The BBC weather map is going to be redrawn so that north is at the bottom, and newspaper reporters will remember that Stirling doesn’t have an e in it. It’s going to be just lovely back in the shortbread tin, although you still can’t get the TV remote control. It’s a vow, a solemn pledge, a shiny pledge buffed with jam flavoured candy floss.

Vow is an interesting word. Like almost most words starting with v, vow is not natively inherited in the English language. Vow came into English in the Middle Ages, borrowed from the French vœu. Well I say borrowed, it’s not like we plan to give it back anytime. It’s not a borrowed word in French. French is a daughter language of Latin, and the Latin word from which vœu descends is votum – the same word which English borrowed directly as vote. So Davie and Ed and Nick are really telling us that if Scotland votes No, then Davie Ed and Nick will vote on our future for us. They’ll decide, not us. So they were telling the truth, just not the truth that they wanted us to hear.

The Delware Indians on Manhattan at least got some shiny beads, some blankets and mirrors, in return for the surrender of their sovereignty. Scotland gets a shiny vow made by shiny politicians promising nothings of substance.

That’s what you get if you vote No. No shiny beads, only a mirror in which to reflect on misery. You vow your vote to Davie, Ed, and Nick. You give a blank cheque to Westminster the home of the wizards of weasel words. You grant consent to thoughtlessness, you concede to powerlessness, you surrender responsibility and place yourself at the mercy of those who tell us Scotland is too helpless and hopeless to manage its own affairs.

Too wee too poor too stupid. Those words have never passed the lips of a No campaigner, they’ve never been uttered by a Unionist politician except to deny that a Unionist politician has ever uttered them. But that’s what all their arguments boil down to. Many in Scotland believe them – those who ask “Where is the money going to come from?” They can’t believe that the money is already here and has been here all along. It just gets siphoned away by a distant Parliament before anyone gets to see it. Our wealth is drained away with our confidence.

We’re told we’re too poor by the very same people who have created this Scotland that’s supposedly too too poor. If you vote No you place yourself at the mercy of those who created a Scotland which is too helpless and hopeless to manage its own affairs and who are intent on keeping it that way.

Vote No, think about the X-Factor, think about Royal Babies, think about cereal. Remember your place in the shortbread tin. Don’t dream that things can be better. Dreams are for romantics, hopes are for idealists. Vow No, and revel in apathetic cynicism.

Now they beg you that if you don’t know you must vote no. Don’t think. Thinking is dangerous, self-belief is heresy. You can sup your regrets as you eat your cereal. Ignore your heart, ignore your longings, forget that you can reason. Pretend that your head is supposed to tell your heart how to love and live. Live with regret and remorse in return for a vow with no heart or head. Going nowhere in the head cart before the heart horse. Shhhh. Don’t think. You might imagine a better Scotland.

Here we are. Poised on the brink. Breath bated. Nerves stretched. We got this far. You, me, the wummin alang the street, the guy with his wee boy in Rutherglen, the doctor in Skye, the grumpy auld git in Dumfries, the carer in Easterhouse, the mother with the autistic son, the student, the granny, the joiner, the polisman – we’ve turned into druids and bards, we’ve turned into voices that sing and laugh our way into a future that we write ourselves. We’ve turned into the power of a people in movement. We’ve taken on the British state. We scoff at the combined weight of almost the entire UK media. We challenge the privilege of the rich. We defy the corporate interests. We pull the plug on the warmongers. We change the world. We paint a picture of a future where other paths are possible. We’re doing that. Ourselves. With nothing more than our passion and our belief. Just think what we can do with a country. We are Scotland.

Our dreams will not be chained. Our aspirations will fly. Our hearts will tell our heads what we want to do and we’ll use logic and reason to get there. We can read and we can write and we have a guid Scots tongue in our heids. A tongue which will not be silenced. We look to the past and the struggles to defend and preserve what our grandparents fought to build. We dream of building. We aspire to creation.

I’m making my own vow.  My heart and head sing as one. I am doing this. I will be the master of my own destiny.

I’m voting YES.


54 comments on “Making a vow

  1. […] There was a vow on the front page of the Record yesterday. Britain isn't just great, it's superduper and comes with fruit preserves. Davie, Ed and Nick have promised Scotland jam, and marmalade, an…  […]

  2. douglas clark says:

    Can I add a category? Despite being a bitter and twisted 66 year old with all the issues life seems to bring you, I have already voted YES.

  3. ive always been yes ,,your words make me PROUD to be “YES”

  4. Tris says:

    Well their vows have already been thrown to the winds like those made in a Vegas wedding.

    Tory backbenchers are incandescent at the idea that Scotland will do well out of this and have vowed to block any moves made by the government in this direction..

    So that’s Cameron sorted.

    We await the views of the northern English Labour MPs whose constituents can almost see and hear not to mention smell free prescription, bus passes, education and old age care, but can’t actually get any.

    And finally (just like the silly bugger spot on the news bulletin where they tell you about Mrs Mcginty’s cat being stuck up a tree) there is the news that Mr Clegg has signed another one of these pledges.

    How we laughed!

  5. Jane Inglis says:

    Been waiting to see which way you would jump Paul!
    Just wanted to say thank you for giving us so much of yourself, you’ve carved a place in our hearts with your blogs and done more for our country than you can possibly know.
    Let’s do it!

  6. We’ve shared in a little part of your life Paul and we’ve seen what a vow means to you. I believe you with all my heart & soul. I’ve lived all my life hearing labour, vow and promise and pledge, I don’t trust a single word.

  7. Bamstick says:

    You are so full of passion and foresight that it makes me feel stronger.
    Especially after the strange experience I had day today in a charity shop (somewhere in the Borders). We went out to get a break from the relentless TV bias, just to chill, such a lovely afternoon with the leaves turning.
    Well, three auld dears took exception to my YES badge and insisted on telling the whole shop what they thought of AS (I will not repeat what these charming over 70’s women said, but it was not pleasant) They just would not stop.
    To avoid a scene my husband left saying “I’m going before I say anything I will regret” but I stayed on to see what they said about his departure.
    “See what I mean they’re all the same”
    As I left I told them that he was my husband and they said “Oh tell him that we forgive him!”

    At around the same time further up the road in Edinburgh, my 6 foot 3 son found himself embroiled in the St James Centre row. He was pretty upset. He had gone there with his Saltire to be part of the crowd and was pushed, pinched and manhandled so much so that he was frightened. He found himself being pushed towards the front of the crowd without his feet touching the ground. Folk were grabbing at his flag and generally shouting abuse. He is not prone to being feart!!!

    So much for tomorrows front pages saying that us YES folk are being violent.

    • deedee says:

      I work in a charity shop in Edinburgh (Stockbridge to be exact), prime Tory territory and all my old wifies are No voters, all life long Tories (Tories seem to like volunteering it must salve their conscience!). And all very opinionated. Heard one talking to the other yesterday saying her house (in the extremely upmarket Heriot Row) is covered in No posters, but at least she’s going down fighting! Ha, ha I thought, defeat is admitted!

      • Bamstick says:

        I am a regular charity shop shopper and most of those that I have come across, who volunteer, seem to be of the No persuasion. What I didn’t expect was that they would be so vocal and as you say opinionated especially to the customers. I was out looking to escape the constant Nawness on the TV and was confronted by Hell’s grannies. My husband laughed and said that we were granny mugged.

  8. Morag Frame says:

    The wee dug at his passionate best bark. The tide is turning and tomorrow belongs to us. Must share.

  9. It’s a wee bit frustrating that I’ve not been in a position to assist actively until this week or even have a vote, but my heart and soul has been willing us along to this place. It never stopped me posting suitable tunes though and while The Animals’ “We’ve Gotta Get Out Of This Place” sums up what life in the union’s been like, here’s a wee B-side of theirs that captures the Yes Zeitgeist of this week pretty neatly – enjoy! 🙂

  10. Craig says:

    I was just doing a bit of reading and trying to get a feel for how things might land. I thought that the following gave an interesting view on the sterling (pardon the pun) work that many, many people have done in the social media space to get the message out there and address some of the prevailing media bias. Paul, Rev Stu et al – thank you.

  11. Capella says:

    What a brilliant comment on the origins of the word for “vote”. To vow is to vote. David Cameron doesn’t have a vote in the referendum. That’s as it should be. I have already posted mine. How dare he suggest that the contract may have changed since my ballot paper was sent out!
    A contract is a contract. In Scots law, it doesn’t need to be signed. If you have a reasonable expectation of the bargain, then that is binding. David Cameron is maybe unaware of that.

  12. Meaban Beag says:

    Nice persuasive stuff Paul
    Sometimes I wax locqacious, sometimes I boil it down to slogans;



    Personally I am still grinning widely from watching the irreverend Glaswegian humour of (The empire strikes back ) which feeds so nicely into the general Scottish love for seeing a pompous ass deflated

  13. macart763 says:

    Let’s show them what making a solemn vow really means.

    This won’t be the vow of a politician, no glib and easily forgotten sound bite photoshopped onto the front page of a propaganda sheet for serial liars. This is the commitment to deliver made by one human being to another.

    I vow to be there to cast my vote in hope and confidence of a better Scotland tomorrow morning. I vow to never forget this journey, the new friends I have made and the lessons I’ve learned. I vow to never again allow apathy and cynicism blind me to the need around me. That is my vow and call me old fashioned, but I still believe in keeping a promise.

    Your word is the only thing in life which is yours to give freely and openly measures your worth when kept or broken. We’ve seen the worth of political promises up close and personal. Its kinda why many of us turned away from political engagement with such disgust and open contempt in the first place. Its time to show the establishment, the corporations, the elites, the politicians and the state that there is a penalty for breaking one too many vows.

  14. Paul says:

    The Irish are with you. You will have no regrets (we don’t). Visit us soon. You will not be able to buy a drink. The substitute for whisky may be whiskey, or vice versa, but there is no substitute for self-determination.

  15. JimnArlene says:

    I was always going to VOTE YES.

  16. Jon in Chicago says:

    As I commented earlier over at Munguin Tower, my wife asks me from time to time why I haven’t finished off any of the three small, not yet empty bottles I still have from Cadenhead’s, (tasty) souvenirs of our visit in 2009. I’ve told her I’m looking forward to toasting your success come Friday.

    Best of luck to all of you.

  17. hiorta says:

    This is not about ‘them’ – it’s about US, all of us, the Scots.

    It’s TIME.

  18. Steve Asaneilean says:

    If Yes comes through on Thursday it will have done so against everything that the Westminster establishment could throw at it – poltical threats; dire warnings from big business; an almost universally compliant mainstream media; the demonisation of a man, a party and close to 2 million Scots. The very fact of overcoming all that is the clearest indicator there is that, given the chance, we can forge a stunning society.

  19. Steve Bowers 74% win says:

    Time to change the world people, thank you Paul, for sharing your life, for the laughs, for the hacking attacks on the “Establishment”

    It’s big YES from both of us. XX

    P.S. I’m still pressing for 74% YES

  20. WRH2 says:

    I’ve always been a Yesser from as far back as I can remember. I became aware that different countries and peoples managed just fine on their own and as I watched the many now former colonies gain independence I wondered why not us. It seemed obvious to me all those many years ago that Scotland should be independent. Tomorrow I will finally get my opportunity to vote Yes.

  21. MoJo says:

    tears in my cereal this morning
    ……… YES!

  22. Iain Hill says:

    Too late! I voted Yes weeks ago.

  23. You are a star, Paul! We owe you a huge debt for your great contribution to this wonderful campaign.

  24. katherine hamilton says:

    Thank Christ for that. Bad day yesterday. I think all the shit got to me. We can do this and we will. Paul, you and all the others have done this. You never fail to lift my spirits. Thanks.

    • faolie says:

      Well Katherine, I had a good day yesterday. I was leafleting in Restalrig (Edinburgh) where there were loads of Yes posters in the windows. In the evening I was canvassing in Pilton (Edinburgh) where there were even more Yes posters. People in the street wanted posters, all the kids wanted badges, and one wee lad on his bike told us, “Ah dinnae ken anybody roond here that’s voting no”.

      We’re going to do this.

      • Katherine hamilton says:

        Thanks Faolie. Good day today as people like you working away quietly and so effectively give me great heart. 7am Friday we’ll be free

  25. Nana says:

    Smashing post Paul. Indeed We are Scotland & We can do this!

  26. diabloandco says:

    Just want to add my BIG thank you .
    I needed another wee pep talk this morning as I foolishly visited the Guardian and then the Herald prior to coming here – I know .I know ,I’m just a slow learner.

    I send a big hug to you and wee Ginger.

  27. Jan Cowan says:

    Thank you, Paul, for the immense time and energy you have devoted to the YES campaign. Loyalty is something these three Westminster characters wouldn’t and couldn’t recognise. Self interest absorbs their very existence. We can and will do without their like in Scotland.

    Here’s to you and yours!

  28. mogabee says:

    Cheers Paul, almost there!

  29. Cag-does-thinking says:

    Stirring stuff and as I look out I see a Yes girl smiling as she delivers the choice of two futures booklets. It’s such a contrast. We only get better together poster boards here but that’s why we have Jim Murphy as an MP. If the polls keep showing them in the lead why are they biting their fingernails so hard? Will Jim ever work again after this? Did he ever work before it? All these questions will be answered really really soon.

    The country though is humming like an electric motor full of energy. This is probably the most exciting time ever to be Scottish. And if we vote Yes tomorrow it will continue to thrive and grow. For what makes us all the same is our nationhood. And for far too long we’ve not had that. I have longed for the day when I can present my passport with pride at the counter of anywhere in the world and say “I’m Scottish”.

    Not a bagpipes and haggis cartoon Scottishness.

    A proud modern country making it’s way in the world respected for the people we are and the things we can do. Changing into a country with Scottish values which will one day leave me far behind in the past as the next generation follow the path we have laid out for them. Our path. Our Scottish path. Our ultimate gift to them to go and grow. Because we were there when it all began. It began with our courage to vote Yes.

  30. ggqtheman037 says:

    Im with you mate YES for the win time for change.

  31. Today, free from my previous professional obligations, I’m away to Annan to help out at the Yes stand. It’s unpromising country but I’ll at least have done something while I could. I wouldn’t feel I’d pulled

  32. bjsalba says:

    Erudite, and entertaining. Just the right stuff to keep us going through the shower of sh*te from the media on the home stretch.

    Thank you.

  33. faolie says:

    Great stuff Paul. And I think that John Redwood on TV last night agreed that if were Delaware Indians we wouldn’t even get baubles cos he just doesn’t need us. They can without the troublesome Picts so all this nonsense about more powers is just going to get in the way. Well, thank goodness we won’t be in the way!

    I’ve voted Yes in my heart forever. Now tomorrow I actually get to do it. Cannae wait!

  34. arthur thomson says:

    Thank you Paul. Your words give my mind the nourishment it needs at the start of a new day. I so hope that tomorrow is a day for us to celebrate. After tomorrow we need to find the way to get your thoughts across to the widest possible audience.

  35. macart763 says:

    Derek Bateman on great form with his final post before the vote.

    Spread it far folks.

  36. hektorsmum says:

    Thank you Paul you have been a tower of strength through thick and thin. May I echo in my own way that tomorrow what Faolie said about the people of Restalrig and Pilton were saying to him, the sma’ folk of Scotland will win this, as a descendant of them I agree. Look around at those who have nothing to lose but loads to gain in an Independent Scotland. Well nobody asked them, certainly not the Labour Party, only the RIC and to some extent the SNP certainly not the polsters. Tomorrow and Friday they deserve all our thanks.

  37. Alex Smith says:

    I voted YES in ’79, YES YES in ’97, and I’m damned if I’m changing now!
    YES tomorrow, new country Friday!

  38. Betty Craney says:

    Just gave away my last Wee Blue Book to an undecided( at this stage ?) . Asked him what was bothering him….the poor guy didn’t know what hit him…Half an hour later , I let him go….his head reeling with facts he didn’t know …but he was smiling and I know he’s a Yes ! Don’t you love that feeling when you see the penny dropping ?
    Thank you ,Paul ,for your posts are an inspiration to all of us…

    • faolie says:

      Betty, you’re dead right, it is a great feeling. What was it Margo said? Each of us only have to convince one person and we’re there. I think a lot of us have convinced more than one too! And still time today to convince more!

      Paul, did you hear that the turnout for the postal vote was 89%?! Jeez. Better get in the queue at the polling place tomorrow 🙂

  39. […] There was a vow on the front page of the Record yesterday. Britain isn't just great, it's superduper and comes with fruit preserves. Davie, Ed and Nick have promised Scotland jam, and marmalade, an…  […]

  40. domhnall ruadh says:

    Ceud mìle taing dhuit, a charaid iormseach. You have been such a tonic for me these past months. Have been toiling away myself too. Nearly finished the loft conversion on the shortbread tin, and the windows are all fitted. Will be renting it out as a holiday chalet for the inevitable influx of enthused touristos who will be flocking to visit the 2nd nova Scotia.

  41. Laura says:

    Inspiring stuff! Thanks, Paul, for speaking out so eloquently and entertainingly for Scottish independence. You should be proud that you’ve played such a huge part in getting the positive message out there. As for me, I’m going to be so proud putting my X in the Yes box tomorrow!

  42. nancyburge says:

    Great post, needed a boost after some snide comments yesterday from some noes.
    Today I was welcomed in the Portree Yes shop, where I bought the last two Spirit of Independence mugs, and on the way up the street was hailed by a man who offered me a sandwich because of my Yes badges!

  43. liz says:

    Thank you Paul. Win or lose – hopefully not – everything will change.
    We have a network now of folk that we didn’t know a year or so ago with the same aspirations and that can’t disappear.

    Well fingers crossed everyone and see you on the other side.

  44. All the best from Sydney, Australia. I’ve enjoyed being part of the ride, albeit from afar, and although I don’t know a single person here, I’ve come to regard you all as friends. We’ve poured our hearts out to each other, laughed at each other, consoled and comforted each other when it looked like it was a bit of a lost cause. We’ve also very recently cried together.

    Right now we’re poised on the brink of something truly momentous and I’d give my eye teeth to be back in Scotland. However, Fate has dictated otherwise and I have much to be thankful for. Yes, it’s a frustrating situation for me to find myself in, but at the same time it’s also wildly exciting.Intoxicating even.I can’t sleep. I can barely eat. At times I feel sick to the pit of my stomach. But I wouldn’t have missed this for the world.

    I’m a hardened psychiatric nurse, now happily retired, but used to working with what used to be described as the “criminally insane”, former inmates of the State Hospital at Carstairs. I guess I must be turning all maudlin and sentimental in my old age, but these are heady times and I’m glad to have been a small, insignificant part of it all.

    To Paul, I am truly indebted. You have inspired me with your writing, made me choke on my toast and vegemite with your acerbic wit and humbled me with your humanity and compassion. Sorry for this long outpouring. This writing bug is obviously highly contagious!

    I’m going to go finish by going all Québecois on you all.

    Le jour viendra ….. Le jour est arrivé …Le jour est mainenant …..Le jour est å nous

  45. Mammy says:

    As Andy would say I want to break free.Come on Scotland make it Yes

  46. Alabaman says:

    This grumpy auld git is also voting YES.
    This grumpy auld git has been waiting for sixty years to do so.
    So this grumpy auld git is not going to be put off by anyone, especially an other grumpy auld git by the name of Gordon Brown!!, ( sic a brown pig in a poke).

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