The Scottish public will wake up to the SNP eventually, is the soothing mantra that the Unionist commentariat tell themselves so they can get to sleep at night. Soon, soon, it’s just around the corner. Won’t be long now. Won’t be long. Hush now Daily Mailster and don’t cry. It won’t be long until Scotland returns to the fold like the good sheep we want them to be. They’re mad cultists, those Scots, say the establishment Westminions as they pray for salvation by a Messiah who delivered Scotland into EVEL. They lie tossing and turning, praying for redemption.
But they have no gods and their precious few heroes sold their souls for an ermine robe and a seat on the board. Stop listening to the spin say the spiders casting webs of lies. Wake up to the SNP, wake up to the SNP, count the Labour sheep and dream. Do as you’re told. Do what we say. Listen to your betters far far away in a place that’s not parochial and inward looking like you are. Now watch this display of royal pagentry. Coo at the photie of Willnkate’s baby. This is the UK, you’re privileged to be a part of the best non-nationalist nationalism the world has ever seen. Watch the Dave and Boris show, Punch and Judy puppets fill the press while the crocodile of capitalism devours your future. Michelle Moan has a peerage, she’s one of yours, why are you not grateful.
And this, this miserablist vision of narrow prospects and greedy avarice, is the best it’s ever going to get. This is the UK. It’s never going to change. It ate your grandparents and it will eat your children. Be obedient. Be humble. Defer to the lords and ladies. That’s how the UK works, that’s how it’s always worked. That’s what makes Britain grate your nerves.
We woke up from the nightmare. We were asleep years ago, when we were soothed by the fairy stories and somnolised by the lullabies of Labour, as a nation went sleepwalking off a cliff into the chasm of despair. Just one more General Election, just one more Labour majority, and our numbers would come up in the lottery of life. Tony Blair swore it was true. It was a restless sleep, a fevered dream, enchanted by the magic of lies. The only numbers we see are the numbers of the dead in illegal wars, the numbers of the increasing debt, the numbers sanctioned, the numbers going hungry as they trudged to the food banks, that’s winning the lottery of Westminster life means.
We woke up in the summer of 2014 and we’re not asleep any more. We’re alive and awake to the confidence tricksters, the false promisers, the perverters of hope and destroyers of the future who abandoned Scotland in the cold dead vacuum of vowter space. Our eyes are open, our minds alert, our feet stand firm under an open Scottish sky, and the landscape lies before us for the taking. We didn’t go away that depressing September day, it wasn’t a defeat it was a pause for breath, a taking of stock, a call to redouble our efforts, the alarm bell that woke a nation. The 19th of September 2014 was the day that half of Scotland said – Naw, I don’t think so. Your card is marked. Yer tea is oot.
The people who call for Scotland to wake up to the SNP are the same ones who want us to return to our slumber. The want us to surrender to passivity, to accept powerlessness and revel in impotence. They have no answers, no solutions, just the constant cry that the SNP is bad. They call on us to cringe more, complain about Gaelic signs and Scottish news programmes, be the co-dependent in their addiction to power as a route to preference and privilege and enrichment for the few. The only strategy they have is the vain hope that by convincing people that the SNP is as shite as they are that we’ll return to their self-serving embrace.
They miss the point. We all know that the SNP has its shortcomings. We are not blind. We are not asleep. But we want transformation and change, an escape from the politics of poverty of hope and beggaring of aspiration. The SNP can deliver that. Why vote for Labour or the Tories’ promise to reshuffle Westminster’s stacked deck when you can vote for a whole new game with a new pack of cards. When the gemme is a bogey you don’t vote for those who want to keep playing by the same unfair rules. Why vote for mitigation and paying twice to make up the shortfall for Westminster’s Tory cuts when we can vote for a fair game.
Devolution was supposed to be a means for Scotland to forge its own path within the UK, not a sticking plaster on the stumps left of the legs that Westminster has cut from beneath us. The only choice they want you to have to is vote Tory to cut your own throat, or vote for Labour to hold you down while the Tories cut your throat. That’s British democracy. Progressive can only mean progress along the path that Westminster decides, the British Parliamentary Road to Socialism that ended in the despair of Blair. But Scotland is hacking its way through the uncharted growth of self-determination, and with every step we take we see a vision of a better country come more sharply into focus. So clear we can touch it, beautiful and shimmering in the light of imagination. All things are possible when you forge your own path, free from the blinkers of those who ride on our backs and whip us. We are climbing the mountain to a better life, and we’re doing it ourselves.
There’s another tsunami coming in May. Another wave of wakefulness to wash away the lies, another ocean of awareness to drown the deceit. We’re awake. We are alive. We’re terrifying the Westminions and keeping them awake at night.
And we’re not going back to sleep.
BARKING UP THE RIGHT TREE Barking Up the Right Tree has now been published and is an anthology of my articles for The National newspaper. You can submit an advance order for the book on the Vagabond Voices website at http://vagabondvoices.co.uk/?page_id=1993
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