Independence of mind

It’s a year on from the big vote, and everything has changed and nothing has changed. Scotland has changed forever, Westminster hasn’t changed at all. Scotland buzzed with energy, with hope, and found a new self-confidence and inner strength. It wasn’t enough to win the vote, but it was enough to win independence of spirit and mind. Scotland is already independent in its imagination and in its dreams. This is not the same country that it was a few short years ago. Once the box of hope was opened, things could never go back to the way they were before.

The knowledge that that profound change is irreversible is why the Unionists remain angry and bitter, afraid and uncertain as they inch gingerly along, never knowing when the Union will plunge to its doom. They know that their old certainties are gone, they’re afraid of what might replace them, so they scream that everything is uncertain. But the only uncertainty is within them.

The Union won the vote at the cost of surrendering its foundations and setting sail on a tide of negativity and fear. Now it’s beached itself on public disgust and it’s only a matter of time before the shifted sands swallow it. Yet Westminster sails on, blythely disregarding the referendum vote, believing it was fought on Westminster’s winner takes it all rules. It wasn’t. This was a Scottish vote, fought on Scottish terms. The rules have changed forever now, and the Union sits on quicksand, trying to pretend it’s solid and unyielding. But it’s a charade, and the charade was exposed last year. The hollowness and weakness of the Union was on public display last year. We saw the emperor naked.

The result ought to have been a massive shock to a complacent parliament, a warning that it needed to change in order to prevent Scotland slipping out of its grasp once and for all. All over Scotland Yes voters made their own personal vows, that they would work unceasingly until the corrupt and unscrupulous Union was brought down. A state only retains its authority when its citizens believe in its power. Last year a half of Scotland stopped believing. Westminster ignored that message, and went back to pauchle as usual immediately afterwards. The Smith Commission became a game of deceit as the Unionist parties competed with one another to see how little they could get away with. Scotland looked on, sullenly.

We took revenge in May when we destroyed the Unionist parties in Scotland, leaving them with one MP each like the stuffed heads of an endangered species to decorate the wall. And still Westminster didn’t listen to the sound of the motor for change. That motor was driven by disgust at the corrupt antics of Westminster MPs, their unaccountability, the way in which they serve themselves first and foremost, and even when we vote them out of office they still gain rewards. Yet the very day before the anniversary of the biggest kick in the nads that the Westminster Parlaiment has received in a generation, Westminster demonstrated yet again how out of touch it was, and how it didn’t give a damn.

Malcolm Rifkind and Jack Straw have been cleared of any wrong doing by their pals in Parliament. The nation was devastated that two beloved politicians who’ve never been involved in any illegal war mongering at all, oh no, might have been involved in feathering their own nests on the back of the contacts they’ve made as Parliamentarians. But now they’ve been investigated and we discover it was all the fault of Channel 4 for trapping them in an ungentlemanly sting. It wasn’t that the rules were corrupt in the first place. The corrupt rules are just fine and it wasn’t within the remit of the Standards Committee to examine the standards of its rules.

After a proper investigation by men who wear ties, don’t have beards, and who sing all the words to the national anthem, we learn that being a grubby politician on the make isn’t against the rules after all. The integrity of grubby politicians on the make is restored as is our faith in British democracy. Huzza! That would be our faith that it is corrupt, venal, self-serving, and irredeemable.

Westminster has been skating on the thin ice of public opinion for quite some time. There’s the illegal wars, the child sex abuse cover ups, the cash for access, the utter failure to control the excesses of the banks, the rush to permausterity, the demonisation of the poor, the refusal to take responsibility for refugees, the peerages doled out to party donors and failed politicians, the expenses scandals, the dismissal of every single amendment to Scottish legislation put forward by Scottish MPs. And that litany of depression doesn’t even begin to detail the betrayals and disappointment. Yet Westminster doesn’t just fall through the thin ice, it smashes it with the explosives it’s selling to even more corrupt and anti-democratic regimes and it plunges in head first. And then it looks at us with a smug self-satisfied look and announces primly that it’s all within the rules.

The Union promised change, faster change, safer change, yet it’s not delivering. They won the referendum last year on the back of a big lie. The Westminster parliament won’t change. It can’t change. It doesn’t want to change. The Union enjoys the support of the dwindling numbers who are quite happy with things as they are, as more and more those who want change come to realise that change will only come about when Scotland takes power into its own hands and forces change. We know now that we don’t need the Westminster Parliament, we still have some work to do to convince a substantial majority that we don’t want it either. But we will do that work.

That’s the lesson that Scotland learned during the referendum campaign last year – if we want something done we need to do it ourselves. That’s what it means to be independent in the mind, and we’ve crossed that bridge already. The day that we do it ourselves is coming.

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37 comments on “Independence of mind

  1. diabloandco says:

    You have voiced my utter disgust with Westminster perfectly but you missed another disgusting target – the sole Tory MP in Scotland has been sweetie wifing/wifeing off about referendum 2.
    However he may deserve special WGD treatment all to himself.

  2. Beautifully and very artfully expressed Paul!! Oh to have your eloquence!!

  3. […] Source: Independence of mind […]

  4. mealer says:

    I have come to terms with the fact that independence won’t come as quickly as I was hoping a year ago.The unionists are only beginning to come to terms with the fact that the union is melting away before their eyes.Will it end before Christmas? Will it struggle on for a few more years? No one knows.And how will it end? Will Westminster abandon Scottish Unionists once it’s obvious their cause is lost? Will Cameron/Osborne “fight with every fibre of my being to save the union” when it’s obvious they’ll lose badly? I doubt it.They’ll find a way of winding up the union without losing too much face,before it threatens their cosy London establishment.They’ll call it “a new chapter in the story of our family of nations” or maybe “a modern arrangement for the governance of these islands”.Everyone else will call it independence.

    • hektorsmum says:

      I think Mealer that you have summed up what is likely to happen, that Cameron will do so to leave with a clean slate. They are steadily losing ground, they do not understand what is going in here, mostly they do not care, they want to keep the money as long as is possible but see it slipping away, mostly in their ignorance they are losing.

  5. Coinneach says:

    Independence begins between your ears

  6. says:

    Reblogged this on Bampots Utd.

  7. Patience is a Virtue says:

    It’s comin yet for a’ that.

  8. Mikeyboy says:

    Paul you have this wonderful ability to articulate powerfully and concisely everything that is wrong with the union in a way that brings a smile to my face and strengthens the resolve to my heart. Long may you continue.

  9. macart763 says:

    Beautifully written and a powerful message.

    Those new peers made a choice. A grand way of answering that choice is for the very people they made to fear, made uncertain and made doubtful, are the very people to set things right.

    They can be sure they are not alone and they can be sure we’ll be standing beside them.

  10. Jan Cowan says:

    Rifkind and Straw – I’ll never forget their faces glistening (presumably sweat) on the TV screen as in a “B” movie. Surely enough to make anyone a YES voter. But now we’re told they’re good enough for WM. Well, well. That says it all. We MUST make sure our own parliament is corruption free…..always.
    Thank you, Paul, for yet another beautiful piece of writing.

  11. xsticks says:

    “the only uncertainty is within them”

    Hehe and don’t they just know it (not).

    Indeed the Pandora’s box of self-determination has been opened. Only Hope remains inside.

  12. Papadox says:

    Excellent Paul love the passion and sincerity.


    Mundell is a disgusting bitter wee spineless excuse of a creature who has the haunted look of a condemned prisoner and knowing what the end result will be and is terrified of it.

    Unlike his two good amigos Rifkin & Straw sincere honest and truthful scoundrels true Establishment figures who the Establishment will defend the rest of their existence on this planet.

    Tory or Labour they are the two cheeks of the same arse and the establishment will protect them to protect the establishment.

    Mundell a haunted wee cretin Cameron’s gofur! Scotlands embarrassment or one of the many.

    Is there a common denominator between
    Rifkin, Straw, Brittan & Janner?

    • Daisy Walker says:

      Malcolm Rifkind, a qualified QC – should be well aware of the legal principle – it’s not enough justice is done, it must be seen to be done’, was extremely reluctant to step down as chair of the select committee for security within WM.
      Given that his Cousin – Leon Brittan and the Security Services were both implicated in the WM Child Sex Abuse Scandal, this seems odd.

      Not sure about a connection with the others.

  13. douglasclark says:


    Two things:

    Perhaps most importantly, I want to buy your books, but the process doesn’t work for me. I need help!

    Less so, but apropos the above, it is because you write so eloquently and with such genuine feeling that I want to buy them.

    Best wishes.

  14. Reed Lichtie says:

    Paul, thank you for words. They make my heart swell with pride for my country but they make me so sad also. Please keep on writing these wonderful words. We need you to keep hope going and to put in words what we can only think. Thank you.

  15. culbia says:

    Reblogged this on Declarations of a Girl and commented:
    on the anniversary of the Scottish Independence Referendum…

  16. WRH2 says:

    Near the middle of the campaign I felt that Westminster might regret Scotland not becoming independent. I thought with the way people were embracing the idea that if it didn’t happen, they could be facing a belligerent Scotland on their northern border. However, as you say WGD, it’s confident and independence of mind, and that’s really even more dangerous.

  17. Fillofficer says:

    Stirring stuff as usual ginge. If only we could get thru to the self-doubters. Saw a wee auld wummin on TV the other night, interviewed on the high street, saying that next ref would be a lot different (for YES). Made my heart leap. Hope she’s right & hope it’s real soon.

  18. dennis mclaughlin says:

    As long as we have the forces of darkness ranged against us we will not be free.
    The British civil service,secret services and the British Army,allied to a hostile BBC and press barons what chance do we have?…
    I believe our postal ballot,the 400 thousand English NO voters are a mountain too high for a fair referendum.
    I have a YES badge on my car’s screen but it is fading fast…

  19. Janet says:

    Indeed, as a poster said, independence begins between the ears!

    Strange then that Scottish public bodies beam the State Broadcaster into hospital lobbies and waiting rooms, while the hostile Metro is readily distributed!

    The SNP may have political power but it does not enjoy administrative power, which rests with those of the Labour-ish persuasion! I wonder how with the monstering of Corbyn if those said same Labour people are as comfortable with media bias as they were last year?

  20. What the wrangling about one-year-on needs (and always has done), is a once for all indelibly-marked- on our consciousness sweeping away all that mealy-mouthed spin, SUPER INFO-GRAPHIC showing Scotlands powers diagrammatically PRE-VOW, THE VOW AND POST-VOW all done in a reasoned and proportionate way avoiding accusations of political bias. Seeing is believing. I’m sure you could get the National to take this idea on, Paul.

  21. Agree wholeheartedly with the points made but wee stylistic quibble with 3rd paragraph… Westminster has “beached itself on public disgust ” then the following sentence “Yet Westminster sails on, blythely disregarding the referendum vote”.

  22. hektorsmum says:

    Agree with every last word.

  23. tintochiel says:

    @dennis mclaughlin. I think there were about 400000 English voters, 70% of whom voted No, so it’s not such a big hurdle.

    Next time postal vote rules should restrict the PV to those physically unable to go to a polling station.

    Paul: I keep saying “Your best yet” and then you write another one.

    I awoke early on the 19th to my wife and daughters weeping in front of the TV. I’m not going through that pain again: next time we’ll win because we’re starting from a much higher base.

  24. macart763 says:

    I think today of all days, I’d like to thank the author of this site for simply being here. Over the past year especially, Mr Kavanagh and his dug have made us laugh like drains at the hypocrisy and pomposity of the politicians and the media. They’ve made us weep as they took us on a very personal journey and their yaps have inspired and supported us through the darkest and brightest of days in our own journey. I don’t think they’ve invented the words yet to express the level of gratitude due for the hard work, effort and emotion involved, so I’ll just stick with a simple thank you.

    I wasn’t going to say a thing today. I was going to let the whole day pass and just have a quiet think to myself on what might have been by this point and maybe read a bit. A bit of black dog and a bit of melancholy set in last night and its been tough to shake the feeling coming on all week.

    Then you remember.

    You remember BTs appalling campaign of fear, intimidation and othering. You remember the state’s interventions (the ones they weren’t supposed to have), the role of civil servants and the treasury, the lobbying of overseas aid and big business. The savage and racist media bombardment which continues to this very day. You remember the day after and Cameron’s EVEL speech, the veto given to the Scotland office, the Smith Commission debacle, the Scotland Bill debates where twenty amendments were voted down by the government and establishment party benches. You remember what they signed our names up to and most of all, the helpless frustration.

    The politicos and the media say ‘let it go’, ‘let bygones be bygones’, ‘you’ve had your referendum, now let’s get back to the way things were’. ‘Isn’t all this terrible division unnecessary and upsetting?’

    They haven’t seen upset yet, but they’re about to and I’ll tell you why.

    People don’t like being lied to. They don’t like being alienated, disenfranchised, robbed and denigrated. Mostly though, they don’t like to be made afraid or ashamed and watch those who made them so rewarded for their actions, to profit from the misery they set loose.

    Tick tock Westminster.

    • kailyard rules says:

      A big wave of the Saltire to that.

    • Ealasaid says:

      A great post Macart on another wonderful piece by Wee Ginger. But on this anniversary can I particularly highlight your first paragraph. I too was distraught after the vote and eventually started to look around the web to see if anyone else was about.

      First up was Wee Ginger, so soon after his own personal loss, with a terrific piece that really picked me up and made me ready myself for round two. It was about the tide going out but always coming back in again. I never thanked him at the time but I would like to do so now and fully echo the sentiments of Macart’s first paragraph.

      I notice Wee Ginger echoed that post back then in his article in the National today. The tide is rising again, lets hope it is another tsunami. Thank you again Wee Ginger.

  25. Thepnr says:

    I believe that this is your best article yet WGD, so much thanks. Great post too Macart, I think it about sums up most readers feelings. Certainly mine. Cheers to the both of you.

  26. Iain More says:

    Great read in the National today. You know if I hadn’t been a 24/7 carer myself I would have probably said sod it and left Scotland in disgust at last years Naw vote. The disgust I felt at that vote sort of pales into insignificance at the disgust and contempt I feel for Westmidden though.

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