The hourglass turns again

Two years ago Westminster danced and cheered as the Union hourglass was turned over and they thought the sands had run out on an independence movement. They’d bought themselves a reprieve at the cost of a Vow, and words are cheap. Gordie Broon’s hot air comes at the price of an ego massage. Clap those hands stuck in the expenses till, rattle your crown jewels, wave your fleg. The Union was safe and all it took was another set of promises that meant nothing, another set of commitments with no intention to follow through. It had always worked before. This time they had to up the ante, to threaten more and promise more, but they got the result they wanted. Just.

It was a wee bit of a scare, but Scotland had given permission for the Unionist parties to get back to business as usual. So they danced and they cheered and they expected Scotland’s indy movement to crawl under a rock and hide from view as it withered and died. A Union flag fluttering on its grave. Respecting the will of the Scottish people became the mantra of parties who had no intention to respect the will of the Scottish people. Respecting the will of the Scottish people became the rallying cry of parties who refuse to accept there’s a Scottish nation to respect. The won their referendum by a bawhair and then thought they had licence to kick Scotland in the baws.

All that the Unionist establishment won two years ago was another pile of sand in the hourglass of the Union. They could have spent that time wisely. They could have shored up their support by delivering on their promises. They could have secured Scotland’s place as a leading member of a family of nations. They could have firmed up the sand and built the foundations of a lasting Union by delivering the home rule they had promised, by keeping Scotland safe within Europe. Instead they sneered and thought they’d been given a blank cheque. They told us that Scotland’s summer of self-realisation was really all about England, and they gave us English votes for English laws and English votes for Scottish laws too. They took their hourglass and hammered a great big hole in the bottom of it as the sand poured out and buried them. They’re the agents of their own destruction and the smell of their fear hangs over the land. They’re not dancing now. We are.

In 2014 there was an explosion of energy, enthusiasm and self-belief in a country that for generations had buried its hopes and dreams in a box marked memories of a history long past. Scotland changed forever in the summer of independence when the prospect of a different and better country shimmered on the horizon, so close you could almost touch it. We dreamt it into being with the force of our own will. A generation whose communities had been battered and beaten down by the gales of Thatcherism and the cynicism of Blair discovered that they could hope and dream. We learned that aspiration to a better life was possible for us too. We learned that if we wanted it we needed to do it for ourselves. It was a summer of life and a summer of learning. We learned our own power and the potential of the Scottish people. We changed this country. We changed ourselves.

But the Unionist parties didn’t change, and that has been their undoing. We stand on the brink of another independence referendum, the prospect of a better Scotland once more shimmers on the horizon. And it’s all down to the selfish self-interest of a Unionist establishment that couldn’t think further than its own short term interest. The took our hopes and our aspirations, and they twisted them to suit their own party interests.

Two years on and it’s the independence movement which is dancing. Two years on and it’s the movement to change Scotland into a self-assured self-determined nation that’s in the ascendancy. The leaders of Unionism aren’t dancing now, they’re howling with anger and frustration as they look upon the ruins of a post-referendum settlement that they broke themselves. They’ve been reduced to the lonely voice of Fluffy Mundell telling Scotland to embrace the opportunities of being torn out of Europe in a future that we have explicitly rejected. All that the UK offers is a future of disillusion, of deception, and disappointment, where Scotland’s wishes and needs are drowned in a vat of Tory bilge.

Two years ago we were promised a Scotland whose voice would be heard, which would be respected and self-respecting, which would govern itself and make its own decisions in partnership with close allies. That’s what the Unionists promised us. That’s not what they have delivered. It took just twenty four months for them to dissolve in the corrosive acid of their own deceit.

So here we are. An independence movement that’s refreshed and tempered in the heat of campaigning, hardened in its resolve and stiffened in its determination. We go into a new campaign with the support of half the population and the experience and skills to organise ourselves in the biggest grassroots movement that Scotland has ever seen. We have a digital media that’s active and vital, a thousand voices and a thousand songs. And we face a Unionist establishment that’s broken and discredited, tied by their lies and compromised by unkept promises.

Tomorrow on Glasgow Green, people from all over Scotland will come together in a peaceful and joyful gathering to show our support for a new Scotland, a better Scotland, a Scotland where the voices of Scotland are heard and the opinions of its people matter. We want a country where our political masters can be kept to their word because they will be accountable to the people of Scotland and no one else. We want a country where more than lip service is paid to social justice and equality. We want a country whose resources and skills are used to work in the interests of Scotland. And we’re going to build that country for ourselves.

The hourglass has turned again. The sands are running out on the Union.

Audio version of this blog article, courtesy of Sarah Mackie @lumi_1984

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39 comments on “The hourglass turns again

  1. Alex Clark says:

    Rousing words. Here’s some more, next time we will win and no one can doubt it.

  2. […] Wee Ginger Dug The hourglass turns again […]

  3. brianmchugheng says:

    I’ll be there Paul… it would be weird of me not to, since it’s being held in my back garden. ☺

  4. Jan Cowan says:

    Beautifully poetic piece. And we most certainly WILL gain independence this time.

  5. Tinto Chiel says:

    Paul, your words reminded me of my feelings on the afternoon of 18/9/14, when we were told by Yes HQ to stop getting out the vote and “prepare for a historic night”. They obviously thought we had it in the bag. I spent the rest of the day outside a polling station with that stardust feeling, a cross between a kid’s Christmas Eve and being in love. We were going to win…..

    I can’t go through that disappointment again. We’re starting from at least 48% this time, compared to 28%, as AS said, so let’s get the bods out tomorrow.

    Who knows, we might even get on the telly.

    • Tinto, be prepared for a Monday Morning SNP BAD splurge from the Dead Tree Scrolls. The Gathering will be described as ‘several thousand’, or ‘Police Scotland estimated the crowd to be around 4,000.’ ;their favourite figure.There will be a scornful smirking tide of guff across the Unionist media tomorrow; of that I have no doubt.
      Will there be a SNP Sex Scandal, expenses fiddle, or internal turf SNP war?
      I’ve got my SNP BAD bingo card handy. Nicola Sturgeon will be ‘accused of’, she will be ‘under attack’, Ruth Davidson will stare grimly into the middle distance as she clutches papers outlining the meltdown of Police, Fire, Education and Health Services, ahem, in England, and Tom Harris, Henry MacLeish, Andy MacIver, Jim Murphy, and David Torrance will shower us with their self promoting words of PR Consultancy wisdom, and Better Together Greatest Hits. The Pound, shipbuilding on the Clyde, millions of jobs lost in Faslane, thrown out of Europe, there is no oil left, your retirement pension will not be paid, Salmond’s a W*nker, the Russians are coming, England will stop peddling Kendal Mint Cake Up Here, and Gordon Brown will mount another tip- toe invasion of Clydebank Town Hall again, and clunk his fist, waggle his jowl, and look very cross indeed for the gathered Dead Tree Scrollers, and BBC PQ cameras (operated by technicians brought up from the Motherland of course).
      Paul, truly inspiring rhetoric.
      I’d imagine MI6 will be out in force at The Gathering, and not a few of WATP Two Jobs Professor Tomkins’ and The Queen’s Eleven Murdo Fraser’s fellow travellers with their flags bunting and Nazi salutes, surrounded by a pack of compliant MSM snappers and Siobhan WhatsherName describing carnage, ‘it’s all kicked off here’ poison.
      Those days are gone now, and in the past they must remain. But we can still rise now, and be a nation again.
      Self Determination is inevitable now. It’s only a question of when, not if.
      It is high time the so called Scottish Labour Party acknowledged this and began working for the good of the citizens of Scotland.
      I shall not hold my breath though, but, mind.
      My, my, my, what a beautiful day !

      • Marconatrix says:

        All that nae doute an mair. But will anyone believe them anymore?

        • Marco, if Nicola sturgeon scored 180 in a Charity Darts Match, the Dead Tree Scrolls would run a headline:-
          You know they would.

        • Just read the key sentence in Tom Gordon’s intro to NS ‘transcends’ speech.
          There he goes again. £15 billion GERS deficit and the collapse of the oil price, lah de lah de da.
          Is this really a pro-Independence ‘paper?
          Do they never tire of printing the same old lies, and too poor shit?
          Grow a pair, Gordon, and try journalism for a change.
          Even if the GERS lies guesstimates and omissions were true, which they ain’t, and oil revenue has bottomed, it was being Better Together that brought us to this sorry pass.
          The Dead Tree Scrolls’ protracted death rattle is a sad treacherous end to a once noble institution.
          Give us peace, will you?

  6. Brian Fleming says:

    You never fail to deliver Paul. Thanks for this, as for so many other wonderful pieces you’ve penned over the years since you used to comment on Glasgow Herald articles when you were living in Spain. It’s been a joy in my own exile from Scotland to follow your writings all these years, and I intend to follow you all the way through to Independence. When my own finances are on a firmer footing, I’ll be sending a donation. And who knows, mebbe I’ll bump into you and the dug sometime on the campaign trail if, as I hope. i can make it over to Scotland once the referendum campaign proper is under way. “If I was a rich man etc…”
    Anyway, please keep it coming…….

  7. Davy says:

    I dinna ken fit yer drinking, but if I wisna working I wid be buying you a double ten times oor for them fine words.

    For all of you that will be on the march take lots of photos and post them, so unlucky buggers like myself who have to work, can get an idea of whats happening.

    March the morn, march and make us a country.

  8. Neil Anderson says:

    See you tomorrow Paul. Onward Scotland.

  9. David Agnew says:

    I am willing to bet cash pounds that the celebration of Union will be around 5 or 8 people in George Sq. Standing by the cenotaph, holding a single union flag between them and looking like they are at a funeral.

  10. Macart says:

    That’s a keeper Paul.

    To be clear. The ONLY reason there is an indyref2 on the horizon is because of the abject failure of Westminster and its establishment political parties to deliver on pledges and assurances THEY made.

    They had the continuation of the political union completely in their own hands and chose, quite deliberately, to flush it down the toilet in an orgy of arrogance, ignorance and self harm. The UK we see today is not the UK promised to Scotland’s electorate. Safe to say inclusiveness, pooling and sharing, partnership, a guaranteed membership of the EU and broad shoulders during these times of economic hardship are nowhere to be found. As for our devolution journey, where nothing was off the table? It appears our journey has come to a sudden and very final stop.

    Their choices, their actions, not ours and and they were poor.

    We do have it in our power to put all of this to rights and that (thankfully) relies on our choices and our actions, hopefully in the not too distant future.

  11. Hugh Bryce says:


    Bruce and The Wallace
    They laid do’on there lives,
    Fighting for Scotlands
    Sons daughters and wives.
    Fighting for freedom
    They gave there aw,
    And The White Rose O’Scotland
    Will no fade awa.

    For three hundred odd years
    We’ve been under the yolk,
    Till’ Salmond fae Lythgae
    Stood up and he spoke.
    He spoke aboot freedom
    For yin and for aw
    For The White Rose O’Scotland
    Will no fade awa.

    He stood and he raised
    Independence again,
    Spreading the word
    Throughout City and Glen.
    Fae the isles tae the borders
    He told them aw,
    That The White Rose O’Scotland
    Will no fade awa.

    Independence grows closer
    With each passing day,
    With Nicola Sturgeon
    Noo leading the way
    ,Tae bring freedom and hope
    Tae yin and tae aw,
    She’s The White Rose O’Scotland
    And she’s no gan awa.
    Hugh Bryce

  12. Hazel Smith says:

    Paul, you are such a great inspiration to us all with your wonderful writing.

  13. ScotsCanuck says:

    Paul ……. AYE !!

  14. A few short hours to go. Make sure we have everything:
    Saltire – check
    Money for stuff – check
    Singy/shouty voice – check
    Upbeat attitude – check

    Good. A wee roll and free-range egg and tattie scone, then it’s aff tae Glesga.

  15. Walter Hamilton says:

    Absolutely gorgeous day so was out and about in St. Andrews, at the church in South Street there were a group from the Conservative and Unionist Party with their banners proclaiming “No to a second Referendum” we have really got them running scared.

  16. Macart says:

    Wishing everyone a great day out in Glasgow.

    Wish I could be there.🙂

  17. Marconatrix says:

    I´ll be with you all in spirit. Hope you have a grand day out and if the spirit is strong then it will build to an unstoppable force that nothing can contain. The Unionists have no more ammo, no more stink-bombs to throw. Their spin is spun. They´re reduced to bluff and bluster. Their strategy was always a one-trick pony, and now that show is all played out. So one more push boys and girls. Not a charge, not a rush even. Just a dignified walk to freedom. Feel the power of it. The power of inclusion. Be proud and claim what was always yours.

  18. Sheryl Hepworth says:

    I think , like Paul, that it is coming and in the not to distant future!! Just wish we could start using the phrase I heard last night at the Depute Leader hustings in Tain, it should be Indy Ref NEW!!! We have new people, new reasons, new leaders and new wants and needs. So it isn’t a re-run of IndtRef1 it’s a new vibrant IndyRef!! Let’s all start calling it IndyRef NEW!!!

  19. Movy says:

    I just had to send a post. This exactly sums up how I feel. I was a pretty hard Yes at the time of the referendum; I became totally committed the day after when the ex-PM ushered in EVEL etc. The Unionists could have retrieved the situation, but they are too wee, too poor and too stupid in thinking power to understand how destructive their actions have been since the referendum and how they’ve brought about a situation where there is no way many of us will ever get back in the bag. Despite everything, support for independence continues to rise. I wish I could be there today, but I am there in spirit though not in body.

    • Robert Harrison says:

      Wish I was to bedridden by the flu on the damn day just my luck time we was free the English south of the border are maybe to stupid to see it but we who live in scotland see it the uk is finished one way or another as the evidence is all there to find and spread around

  20. CB says:

    This excellent blog post sums up exactly how I feel two years on. The morning the result was announced, I vote up with a jump at about 5.30am and rushed to get my mobile phone to check what it was. After I scrolled through Twitter I sat for about 20 minutes unable to move with pure shock. I read that someone started playing a lament on the pipes in George Square in Glasgow, it was totally fitting and I had tears in my eyes. I live in Edinburgh and I went to work as normal. It voted no but I saw from the white and strained looking faces that there were still plenty colleagues who felt as I did. By mid afternoon I asked to leave early as I was too upset. During the referendum campaign there was an outpouring of creativity and goodwill like never before. I had messages from all over the world from friends wishing Scotland well the night before. I couldn’t understand it – I counted 10 Yes houses on the walk to the polling station and 6 No.The Vow was hastily cobbled together and was totally suss but it fooled sufficiently.

    Fast forward to the morning after Brexit this year. I got to work and the mood was markedly different. The chat was “This is stupid, we need independence now” and I comforted a Polish colleague who said “I’ve made my life here, I love Scotland, I’ve bought a house. What do I do now? Will I get kicked out?” I told her that we love our adopted Scots too. I think we need to hang in there, keep on and we will get there. I wasn’t at the Green today as I have mental health issues and the crowds would’ve been too much but I’ll be on twitter tweeting for an independent Scotland as usual. Thanks Paul for your posts and give the dug an ear rub from me.

  21. Influential party insiders have urged Kezia Dugdale to step down when, as expected, Corbyn is re-elected as leader of the Labour Party.
    “We haven’t a hope in hell if Kezia toughs it out, and Ruth Davidson is given the job of heading the Indyref 2 Better Together push. With a left wing Marxist leading the Labour Party, the party will split in two, and as Neil Kinnock says, won’t be electable in his lifetime.’
    Influential party insiders have condemned Willie Rennie for attending the Fund Raising five star bash attended by the Scottish Elite, where prizes at auction included millionaire treats like killing innocent animals for fun on the robber barons’ country estates, and Swiss chalet skiing breaks with the posh and filthy rich. A Goblin’ Tease Maid in every room is to be be provided by the organisers as an extra. Tickets were £250 per head. One party activist, who did not wish to be named said, ‘Willie Rennie blew the Party’s running costs monthly budget on rubbing shoulders with the bloated filthy rich of the Scottish Branch of the London Establishment.’
    Influential party leaders called for Ruth Davidson to stop griinning like a silly prep schoolgirl, and to stop applying English Public Spending cuts to Scotland. One Tory grandee reminded her that the proles have computers now, and those pesky oiks at WGD , WoS, Bella, Grousebeater and Bateman, keep insisting on keeping the Great Unwashed informed about the real State of Play in Scotland.’
    An insider at Westminster hints that she will be on the next honours list, just to be on the safe side.’
    An insider on one of our Dead Tree Scrolls reveals that the Unionist hacks user ‘influential party leaders’ when they want to get their unsubstantiated Unionist Hate Scotland bile and lies into print.
    We are not delaying our campaign because an ‘insider’ on the Colonial Herald lies in headlines.

  22. BBC Breakfast TV Scotland’s televised 3 minutes of News Where We Are:
    Edinburgh Airport admits having lost 200 responses to the proposed flight path changes from members of the public. Doubtless they’ll turn up in Mumbai airport in 6 moths time.
    Damian Green DWP minister will attend Holyrood Committee Meeting to discuss Devolved SS powers in October. Willie Rennie got a wee ‘will say’ plug, ahead of his appearance at the Lib Dem Tea Party. The Tories and SNP are lumped together as bad. Only Willie and that victim of Cybernat bullying Carmichael are ‘progressive’ it seems.
    Oh yes, and canal experts are meeting up in Inverness for some sort of get together.
    And that’s it; the BBC’s version of Scottish news.
    What a fecking insult to our nation.
    Then 3 1/4 of English News, and US news, and Team GB news, and English football and cricket news, and live from Sheffield news, and……..

  23. Tinto Chiel says:

    Well said, CB. Two years ago today I had just retired and had to watch as my shell-shocked wife and daughters had to go to work. Left on my own, I played Caledonia twice, had a right good greet and then I realised that we had achieved something remarkable given the forces ranged against us. Obviously many people in Scotland felt the same and I don’t think there’s any going back when you’ve seen the light.

    Simple measures next time like getting a grip of the postal vote and ensuring a reasonable residency rule to prevent holiday-homers/student abuse would of themselves make a Yes victory odds-on.

    This time EU citizens would surely vote Yes in large numbers and many English academics in our universities who fear losing EU funding will be more amenable. You could see that effect already in the Embra Remain vote.

    And next time people will know the consequences of Brexit. I notice BBC radio is running with planted stories of how life outwith the EU will be great. You can see what they’re up to already.

    Let’s hope next time the Bitter Together drugs won’t work.

    Jack Collatin: keep ’em coming. Love your rage.

    • CB, Tinto, couldn’t agree more. My rage will dissipate when we go on the campaign trail proper, honest. We must convince more of our fellow Scots citizens, of all backgrounds, that Self Determination is the best way forward now.

      You may recall that Trevor Bayliss invented the wind up radio for use in Africa so that folk in poor and remote villages could get information and advice on the spreading AIDS epidemic.

      Watching the risible 3 minutes of News Where We Are, and the Weather Where We Are using that perverted lopsided map of Scotland, a wee token slot inserted into 3 1/4 hours of English hegemony may prompt some to urge us to listen to BBC Radio News Where You Are on the wireless. Why do we need a Scottish Six when Radio Jordanhill covers international noos?

      It seems that the BBC consider us to be on the same Communications and Broadcast level of poor African villagers.

      It is a disgrace an affront to our country, and an insult to the People of Scotland that this constant English guff is fed into our homes, and we are paying for it.

      I caught Marr’s Part II of his ‘Battle for Britain’ mockumentary.

      Yet more ‘sore winners’ shit from the Establishment.
      Professor and Historian and DNA man Alistair Moffat on a bench in the leafy borders (friend of Gordon Brown, DNA clan chart peddler) voted Remain but would vote No in any Referendum re-run. You cannot get more Establishment and privileged than this man.

      A young chap with Easterhouse as a backdrop slagged off the SNP in broad Glasgow, accusing them of being the new ‘Establishment’, but he was a YES voter.

      Darling, Brown , Davidson, Dugdale, featured. And Wilson yet again!
      Marr sailed among rusting old platforms in an elephants’ graveyard for oil rigs, that ‘cos they’ve stopped drilling, with someone from the ‘respected’ IFS reminding us that there’s no oil revenue now and what with GERS, we would crash and burn, with Bell the turncoat reminding us that we are too poor.
      A farce of a one sided Unionist Propaganda piece of ‘sore winner’ gunge.
      Brewer on Sunday, with Mundell, Rennie, a wee bit from Swinney on the Education reforms, and Mags Fecking Useless Curran and David Torrance, consultant on Uncle Tom Marr’s programme got a sweet wee appearance fee chatting with Brewer, summarising what Mundell and Rennie were saying.
      They are a laughable bunch now.
      Mundell got to quiver and squirm uninterrupted about Brexit, and confirmed that Boris The Sly Fox, Davis, and May will decide the terms of the Brivorce.
      I must go down to the riverside and gather reeds to repair the roof of my kraal.
      I’m not getting mad, guys, I’m getting even, cross my heart.

      • Kelpie says:


        Marr was keen to push the ‘rustung hulks’ line and back it up with a strong visual, but the guys he was interviewing appeared to paint quite a different picture. Those rigs haven’t been scrapped, they’ve been parked in a safe harbour until the oil price rises enough to make them ecoomic to run again. ANd I got the distinct impression it wasn’t the first time rigs have been berthed there to wait for redeployment either.

        Those rigs were no more ‘rusting away in an elephant’s graveyard’ than is my car, parked up at home today because it’s more economical to take the train to work.

  24. wm says:

    I believe the brexit vote means that England now has its independance,as no matter what Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland say the English vote wins, this means whatever England wants it gets,and whatever the rest of us want we only get if England wants to give us it.

  25. Tinto Chiel says:

    I missed the Marr programme, Jack, because I don’t have a licence and don’t watch BBC obviously but it seems nothing has changed. Moffat is a disappointment since he should know better but his history books have the built-in Establishment bias which the unwary think is impartial.

    Unfortunately, I can’t see Stuart McHardy ever being interviewed in such a programme: you’d have to hide the crockery if he got started. Like James D Young was, he’s pretty much frozen out of any coverage of Scottish history, for obvious reasons.

    I think our rage/biting the carpet will diminish once the phoney war is over and we’re out campaigning again.

    In the meantime all we can do is keepy-uppy on here and sites like Wings.

    • Tinto, the BT team now have two Marr too poor Documentaries in the can, to be reprised when Indyref2 gets underway. Unlike MacWhirter’s The Road to the Referendum, a second showing of which was successfully blocked by McDougall and the Project Fear Mob, the Beeb will gladly run this piece of Scotland the Basket Case again.
      I wonder what Tom Devine, NS and AS think of the programme, and how their contributions were used?
      In the meantime, like the Cooler King, I’m lobbing my baseball back and forth against the cell wall.

  26. Tinto Chiel says:

    Jack: home run a’coming.

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