The hangover from a 300 year binge

Oh god. Ma heid. Ma second class representation in the Westminster Parliament. Is there such as thing as syrup of figs for a blocked devolution settlement? Being Scottish in the UK feels like waking up with a 300 year hangover. The groggy recollection that you did some really bad things with India and Africa, the slowly dawning realisation that you’ve got bugger all to show for it, and the growing awareness that you have, in fact, been taken for a complete mug. The things you’ve done and the place you’re in now are not who you really are. There’s an immense mismatch between how you see yourself and how your drinking companion sees you, the one who’s been poncing off you for years and filling your head with crap. And you believed it. It’s cringe-making.

Scotland sees itself as a country. Because that’s what we are. Instinctively we compare ourselves with other small countries like Denmark or Finland. Scottish people do this even without thinking about it. It is ingrained deep within us that we are a country and a nation. And the consequence of being a country and a nation is that it makes us a unit of sovereignty. Even many people who voted No last year share this view. It’s for Scotland and her people to decide whether we remain within the UK or not. We’re a unit of sovereignty and have sovereign right to decide our own future.

The Westminster Parliament doesn’t see us like we see ourselves. That’s why Westminster’s refusal to take on board the wishes of the vast majority of Scotland’s elected representatives feels like a slap in the face. We already knew we were facing rejection, but rejection still hurts even when you were expecting it. Westminster’s braying Tories and ignorant Labourites don’t look upon Scotland see a sovereign nation. They look to the north and they see us as a problematic region which formerly returned a block of Labour MPs as reliably as an alkie turns to a Buckie bottle.

Scotland had a minor supporting role in the Westminster chorus, but now we’re singing a different tune. Scotland has sobered up, we’re looking at the empty glass and we’re just not parliamentary fun any more. We can no longer be relied upon, no longer be trusted to play our part in the game. We’re Westminster’s alcoholic pal who has given up the drink and discovered politics instead, and that means we’re boring and tedious and need to be side lined and silenced. Scotland has discovered that the stories of a union of equals, a partnership, they were only ever that. Stories to tell over an opened bottle to a hauf cut drunk who could be relied upon not to remember.

Tim Farron has grasped this. He wants to silence the sobered up Scotland. Tim wants to become leader of what’s left of the Lib Dems, which is a bit like wanting to lead the 7th Cavalry after the Battle of the Little Big Horn only with Alistair Carmichael’s refusal to resign as a last stand. Tim’s got a well thought out Scottish policy. It’s : “SNP bad, SNP very bad, SNP practically Nazis but I’m not actually going to say the N word because then my poverty of ideas becomes painfully apparent even to the Scottish media.”

On Saturday Tim gave an interview to the Herald in which he said that nationalism can be progressive when it’s getting crapped on from a great height, but when it’s ascendant it’s always borderline fascist – or just plain outright let’s go and invade Poland. Tim wants to ensure that Scottish nationalism remains a progressive force by continuing to crap on it from a great height. So he’s doing us all a favour really. He’s joined in his favour doing by Labour and the Tories, none of whom have the slightest idea of what to do about this newly conscious Scotland except repeat the mantra of SNP bad and hope that in despair we will return to the bottle.

It’s not going to happen. We woke up. We briefly glimpsed a vision of what could be. We learned what hope felt like. We discovered that things don’t have to be the way that our masters in the corridors of power in London want them to be. We discovered the radical notion that a country could be run for the benefit of its citizens and not for the benefit of banks and big business. It’s a sweeter taste than wine.

The Tim Farrons and the Davie Camerons and the faceless drone devoid of personality who will inherit the Labour mantle are the mental giants into whose hands Scotland’s No voters surrendered the country on 18th September last year. These are the people whose meanness of spirit and narrowness of vision constrict our future like a vice. They offer us nothing but a return to the Buckie and buksheesh of Westminster, their brain death and corruption.

Now I know it’s not fashionable to criticise No voters, on account of the fact that we need to persuade them to vote Yes if Scotland is ever to get away from the likes of Tim and live in a universe which involves joined up thinking and grown up politics. However I can’t help but tell the No voters I know that all this rubbish, these insults, this disdain and contempt, it is all because you were suckered, because you were taken in, because you lost your nerve, because you were tricked into drinking a deep draught from the Buckie bottle. That’s why we suffer the cuts and wounds of a Tory government. That’s why anyone has to take Michael Gove seriously instead of entering him in Britain’s Got Talent as a goldfish lookalike. I’m sorry about this, but that’s the bottom line. No voters made a call in September based upon lies and deceit, and now we all have to suffer the consequences. But we can all feel better about ourselves by blaming the Daily Record for not caring about the difference between Labour lies and news.

It’s not too late to redeem things. There is still hope of change. We can still dream of a better life and a better country. It’s coming, there’s still time to say yes to hope.

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35 comments on “The hangover from a 300 year binge

  1. The Vole says:

    Reblogged this on The Orkney Vole.

  2. Melvin Penman says:

    Fantastic Paul,I am sure that the realization will come to the soft no voters. “You are being lied to ,don’t feel stupid and embarrassed.Get angry and claim your county back.”

    By this time next year we will already know the date of the referendum, the final chapter..of the road to self determination.

  3. The referendum will not be the final chapter. Nor will independence. Sovereignty is meaningless if foreigners run your central bank – look at Greece. The final chapter is the willingness to set up your own currency with its own central bank, as soon as it’s in your interest to do so. And I wish Salmond had said as much last September

    • Graham says:

      What about the sovereignty of Finland, Netherlands, Belgium, France, Luxemburg?

      It was in Scotland’s interests to use the pound in the short to middle term.

      Why would Alex Salmond want to make a long term commitment?

      He said the right thing.

      No voters didn’t listen to any logic.

      And as Wee Dug says, we all have to suffer the consequences.

      • Brian Fleming says:

        I don’t think so Graham. As Stalin is reported to have said: “How people vote doesn’t count. what counts is who counts the votes.” i believe we wes robbed.

        • hektorsmum says:

          Me too, I look at all the support there is and wonder where we were robbed and how we stop it happening again.

      • James Davidson says:

        In the case of the currency issue Salmond was damned when he argued the case for keeping the pound and would have been damned if he argued for a sovereign Scottish currency.
        In the first instance Salmond was advised by Nobel Prize winning economists, which on the face of it appears to be a strong argument. However, remember that these people were cut from the same cloth as any other conservative thinking economist in Europe and we really needed to be thinking outside the box in economic terms last September.
        In the second instance a new currency , freely tradable, leaves itself wide open to the agendas of currency speculators. A Scottish currency would have been vulnerable to the short sellers at a time when we would have been dangerously short of foreign reserves with which to support it.
        Not an easy call to make without preparing the ground first which is why we need to start preparing for the second referendum by resolving the currency issue very soon.

        • Don’t assume that Nobel winning economists are cut from Conservative cloth. Two such – Krugman and Stiglitz – are now among the sternest critics of austerity economics. Stiglitz is a stinging critic of what the IMF is doing to Greece. And he’s a former IMF president!

          • James Davidson says:

            Hi Paul,
            I admire the work of both Krugman and Stiglitz and I am familiar with their outspoken anti-austerity stance(by the way have you read any of Mark Blyth’s work?He is a Dundonian working out of Brown University in the USA).
            I meant the small c current European economic thinking which has become popular with the establishment during the past few years and which has led Europe into the socio-economic mire that is now blighting Greece and is coming our way soon unless we have the courage of the Greek people and tell Gideon and co. to shove it.

            • gavin says:

              Read also the work of Amartya Sen, Nobel Prize winner, indeed multiple prize winning economist.
              Most recent article in the New Statesman, about a month ago attacking austerity over the 20th century and more recently.

    • The Scottish Play says:

      …..If you can look into the seeds of time and say which grain will grow and which will not ..

      Chì mi …..

      Dòchas Seach Eagal ……..


      ..Scotland from its slumbers now emerges,
      Its Constitution not yet writ,
      To hordes of Golden Unicorns,
      Th’erstwhile Great Kingdom now diverges.

  4. benmadigan says:

    stunning piece paul – i really, really liked the “alcoholic” metaphor, particularly since everybody who “rebels” – whether irish or scottish – has traditionally always has a major drink problem in all the negative caricatures in british propaganda!! see 19th century Punch cartoons for some appalling examples. Nobody ever asked why the people were driven to drink!!!

    anyway I also wanted to show this little video in view of the greek referendium tomorrow and scottish love of football – Enjoy everyone – may it be an omen for the referendum result

  5. says:

    Reblogged this on Bampots Utd.

  6. Saor Alba says:

    Excellent stuff Paul. You have a gift for extended metaphors and have crystallised the thoughts of many yessers with your superb linguistic skills.

    You can fool some of the people some of the time. Unfortunately, you can also fool some of them all the time.

  7. macart763 says:

    Couldn’t agree more Paul. Whatever people’s reasoning for voting no they now have to face the reality of the situation. They chose to back a system which first bullied and then lied to them. A system which is now bent on making them and their fellow Scots second class citizens in their own country. A system which is set to completely exclude them from the democratic process by locking out our parliamentary representation.

    They can help us put this right however. Second chances in life are rare and precious things, we could all use one at one time or another if truth be told. A road not taken, but deeply regretted. I think everyone can relate to that, but every now and again, if you’re very fortunate, one can present itself just when its needed most.

    • Steve Asaneilean says:

      The one thing I would add is that we could see it was all “smoke and mirrors” so why couldn’t those who voted No?

      My feeling is that most of them did know but chose to vote No anyway because, for whatever reasons, it suited them to do so.

      That’s fine – that was their right. But you can’t have rights to chose without having at least some responsibility for the consequences of those choices.

      • macart763 says:

        Agreed Steve, you have to hold your hands up when you make a bad one. Then if you have it in you, work to make it right.

        However when it comes to reasons for voting no? I couldn’t count the theories and themes out there. Its generally agreed that the BT campaign was appalling and obvious in its strategy. It haemorrhaged 20pts of a 30pt lead in the space of a year and a half, yet still got over the finishing line. That EVEL was going to be the end product and kept hidden even from those who voted no was perhaps the worst offence perpetrated on their own voters.

        There will regardless be those who will continue to vote no because they believe in the state’s definition of union right or wrong, but those who were low information voters, those who were made to feel afraid, those who thought devo max was possible, those who were ambivalent, even those who voted no to protect some illusion of their own economic welfare, are all there to be convinced and help out.

        This time round though we won’t be looking at making up 30pts and representation in both houses is pro Scottish electorate. If the establishment thought they had a hard fight for 2014, round two should have them shaking in their boots.

      • Iain says:

        I am sorry to say this but I think this is because a lot of no voting scots don’t give a toss and still don’t. I think our only hope is that enough of them can be turned. Will it work? Who knows, as such I think the snp should go for Ffa next year as a preclude as the UK govt won’t offer it. It shall be painful but the ground needs to be prepared.

        • macart763M says:

          Have you seen the Paxman/Salmond interview on election day Iain? Pretty much what Alex said. Paxman pressed Eck on FFA and deals with the Conservatives and Eck called it right. Google it and you should get it easily enough on Youtube. Oh, Paxman and his panel had a good laugh, but Alex set him right on both FFA and Cameron.

          The FFA amendment which was just voted down and kept spectacularly quiet in the press was the result. I can only think of one title which led with it as a front page and that would be the National. No, I reckon financial pain travelling up the food chain will focus some views in the coming twelve month. It starts with Gideon’s budget this week and ends with the implementation of EVEL. Cameron stabbed his own referendum partners in the back using their own concocted narrative against the Scottish electorate to do so. Those who voted no for whatever reason shouldn’t be surprised that betraying them on any level won’t trouble Mr Cameron’s sleep in the slightest.

  8. gavin says:

    Great writing, Paul. Genuinely impressive!
    We are like the apprentice, sent for the last time to the stores for “sky hooks”. We are throwing off the fug of youthfull dreaminess, and seeing the world as it really is, not the pretendy world the colonial media paints for us.
    We have a good few years of painful social retrenchment, as the Tory Ascendency down south cuts back the State, with Labour acquiescence ( dressed up as faux anger) to the size it wants—back to the 30’s, wasnt it? I’m glad I’m a pensioner now, though no one is going to be safe.
    The good thing?
    When the referendum comes, in 5 or 10 years time, people like Farron and Cameron( or Boris or May, if Cameron quits ) will be at the forefront of the NO campaign , with a wee Labour poodle in trail.
    The most senior Scot will be Fluffy Mundell, with Ruthie, LaBonBon and Wee Wullie flanking him—–if we cant beat that lot, we wont deserve to be free.

  9. squirrel48 says:

    You are not alone in being shafted by the English, London esp. I dream of a ‘Celtic fringe’ including my home, Cornwall,where we are shat upon to the point of being as poor a region as exists in northern Europe !!

  10. Maggie Craig says:

    A masterly summing up as usual, Paul.

    Talking of some of our cousins south of the border not getting it: yesterday I listened to a bit of Weekend Woman’s Hour (I think it is in the singular!) whose listeners have voted for Nicola Sturgeon as most influential woman in Britain or some such title.

    She was interviewed over the phone, all very cordial. Still cordial, presenter Jane Garvey then asked NS to say “Come on, England” to wish the England women’s football team well. Slightly exasperated NS did so, telling them that her granny was English, ie that’s just not what this is all about. Always thought Jane Garvey was a sensible woman but she still didn’t get it. She was cock-a-hoop that she’d ‘got’ Nicola to say “Come on, England.” Sad.

  11. Maureen says:

    Brilliant as usual Paul. Born and raised in Africa for many years, I saw first hand how this union treated the indigenous people of that great continent;second class citizens only fit to serve the master, the same way WM treats Scotland. Sorry but I’m finding it very hard to forgive the no voters for destroying my dream of an independent Scotland – some people have no vision.

  12. Liz S. says:

    What kind of sick world are we living in, when people who write semi-literate nonsense about boy wizards or bondage make squillions, while a truly gifted writer like the Wee Ginger Dug needs help to keep the cupboards filled (donation just made). He/they – not sure how big a contribution the hairier part of the duo makes – just keeps getting better and better. This latest post is quite simply superb.

  13. arthur thomson says:

    A great analysis as always Paul and thank you, Your drink metaphor is spot on. So far as I can see, alcohol is a problem in all subjugated countries. But thanks to the work of you and others I believe that increasing numbers of Scots are becoming enlightened as to the facts of the Scottish condition and inspired to lift their heads and bite back.

    A short while ago I read a post on Bella by John Warren titled “Beyond argument: taking back the Agenda.” I recommend everyone to read it.

  14. Saor Alba says:

    Sunday evening!
    News is just appearing that the Greeks are rejecting EU demands for further austerity. They are supporting their own Government with hope not fear. Not for them prostrating and kneeling. A clear mandate from the Greek people of more than 60% it would seem.

    By the way Paul, why do I have to type in my email address and name every time I post a comment?

  15. David McDowell says:

    “being a country and a nation makes us a unit of sovereignty.”

    So what are we waiting for? Let’s exercise our sovereignty and declare independence!

  16. Gavin Mitchell says: Says it all… and then we woke up🙂 Oh god. Ma heid indeed!

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