This song by the Proclaimers sums up mine and many other people’s moods today.
I’ve had a few hours kip after the result of the referendum and now I can say I feel not exactly refreshed but less angry than I was when I saw smirking politicians like John Reid and David Cameron proclaim this as a ‘great victory for the Union’ yet anyone who even followed this campaign with neutral eyes over the last two weeks will know the No campaign promised things they cannot deliver.
This does not mean I disrespect the decision of those voting No. I do, but I think they were wrong, and much, much worse than that, they’ve been lied to. They’ve been made to think that voting No was to gain ‘more powers’ or that it was a vote for Labour rather than an answer to the question ‘Should Scotland be an independent country?’. Looking back at the campaign it’s clear the No campaign was failing to gather support and at the point when the opinion poll which showed Yes in the lead came out, there was an almighty panic which saw Gordon Brown being wheeled out and it’s this intervention which seems to have sheered up the No vote.Yes Brown is a liar but you never saw his lies about these ‘powers’ or the NHS exposed in the media, because frankly, every single part of the media spoke against Independence apart from the Sunday Herald.
There were other good voices who were either fine examples of neutral reporting like Paul Mason and Alex Thompson at Channel 4 News, while Suzanne Moore and George Monbiot at the Guardian made up for that paper’s shameful and despicable support of the establishment and it’s attacks upon grassroots campaigners as they warned constantly of violence if there was a No vote. Well, there is a No vote and Yes campaigners may well be angry, but there’s no violence. Not a jot. Yes campaigners show the campaign in defeat to be the civil campaign it’s been all the time.There’s been some vicious slander thrown at the Yes campaign from Unionists from the threats of violence to calling Salmond a Hitler figure leading people off a cliff.
The entire No campaign was built on fear. ”Oh don’t do that, things will be awful if you gain control of your own resources. If you’re not sure just vote No and we’ll do everything for you’‘. As a wise man once said, ‘fear is the mind killer‘ and in this case Better Together seem to have done enough to kill off rational thinking. This isn’t to say that if waking up today to an independent Scotland would have been easy; it certainly wouldn’t have been. It would be hard but the fight would have been for the people of Scotland to strive forward and build a country for themselves, their children and their children. They could have built an example that the Westminster system could have looked at and the neoliberal experiment which has caused so much suffering would have been proven to have been wrong.
This sadly hasn’t happened. Yet.
Alex Salmond has been magnanimous in defeat. Something many of his critics said he wouldn’t be, but he’s said he will ensure that the plan to give Scotland more powers is seen out to the letter. Yet he said this isn’t over yet, and he’s right. It bloody well isn’t. See, if and when Westminster fails all those people who voted No based upon the promise of more powers will realise what they’ve done, just as those people who voted Lib Dem in 2010 realised what they’d done. They’ll be an anger, and it’s down to those of us hurting right now to not gloat or be angry at those people but speak to them. Ask them if they want control of their own future again and they’ll say Yes because looking at the figures from last night there’s not much to be done in some parts of Scotland to push a No to a Yes. The current reckoning is by the likes of David Cameron that this is over for another generation, which means that this won’t happen for another 30-40 years and by that time people like me are possibly going to be dead and I’ll never have seen an independent Scotland in my lifetime like so many Scots over the years.
”But you’re a Scot living in Bristol” many of you familiar with my blogs on comics, festivals and stuff are saying now, and yes, that’s entirely right. I am. However I’d made a decision a few weeks ago that regardless of the result I’m going back to Glasgow. I’ve made a reasonable life in the UK with some dramatic ups and some equally dramatic downs but I had this confirmed to me yesterday morning when walking into work and hearing people Othering the people of Scotland as ‘scroungers‘. I cannot sit back and let myself fall back into a rut while the people of Scotland need it’s blood that ran away to return and bring our experiences back with us. I know other ex-pats down here I know would like to but many have family and it’s understandable that even if they did want to go back, they’ve got a life elsewhere now but this hasn’t stopped them to do what they can outside of Scotland. Many will, but I would plead with ex-pats who fought for independence online with such vigor and strength to come back.
When I’ll get back I have no idea. I do need to get back soon but finances dictate when this happens, but I’ve looked at how friends back home have campaigned hard for independence and I feel that they’ve helped revive something in myself. I look at what the creative community in Scotland have done with friends like Alan Grant, Gary Erskine and Jon Campbell who have campaigned hard for independence not just within their communities, but online with their fans in Scotland where the Yes campaign won the battlefield. Or friends like like Ash, Bridget and Iain who pushed hard and who must be hurting badly today. I look at groups like Wings Over Scotland, Bella Caledonia, The Common Weal, Radical Independence and Women for Independence, or inspiring individuals like the Independence Climber Lindsay Jarrett who helped expose Gordon Brown’s lies about the NHS.
I look at all these groups and people and think it cannot simply be over and things go back to talking heads on the telly standing around outside The Houses of Parliament. But the thing is Cameron said it was over for a generation?
No, it isn’t. I refuse to let it die and promises melt into the mist. Too many groups with too many people have fought to get us here with 45% of the Scottish people supporting independence and a large proportion of those 55% who voted No thinking they’re going to get more powers, or even an effective Labour government led by that waste of space Ed Milliband next May. As far as I am concerned I now consign Labour into the same circle of Hell as I do Tories, but this doesn’t mean Labour voters are lost. They just be informed that the party they vote for are not of the people or for the people. I’m hoping the various grassroots movements combine to form be it a party of the left that’s truly inclusive and that gives the working class a voice. One of the few positives to take from this is how engaged people are now in politics, and when Westminster fucks it all up (as I speak there’s a news item explaining that there is no idea what the ‘more powers’ promised to Scotland outside what they would get in 2016 would be) then that wave to discontent can be channeled into hopefully one more push for independence.
You might say though that Cameron is right? This is over for a generation so that someone like my friend’s 12 year old daughter will go though all this again when she’s in her 40’s. No, I’m not having that. As many have said online (including the splendid Wings over Scotland) we have to hold Westminster now to account Every single full-stop has to be enacted and they get one thing wrong, this means that the No vote which won was built on the lies so many of us know it was. It vindicates the Yes campaign and seeing as Tory backbenchers are promising a revolt over powers being granted to Scotland, then this isn’t over. Not yet. Even if things do manage to muddle though for a few years there’s a flashpoint in 2017 when Cameron has promised an EU Referendum. the fallout from that could see another Scottish referendum. Whatever happens I know today people are hurting but we cannot let things slip for an instant.
So until I work out what I do and how I get my arse back to Glasgow. I will campaign and support the Greens. This is a massive compromise but when the choice is Tory, Labour, Lib Dem, UKIP or whatever bigot passing as a democrat is standing, I simply have no choice. I know people like speak well of the Green MP Caroline Lucas, and I will be ensuring they win in Bristol in May. In the meantime I’ve emailed Stephen Williams,( my current MP who will be hopefully unemployed in May) asking him to confirm EXACTLY what powers are to be devolved to Scotland as well as Wales, Northern Ireland and England. I do not expect a reply. I call upon comrades here in England to join in and help ensure England isn’t failed by this lot either. Take your country and your people in your hands and don’t let the bigots like UKIP take your country from you.
The future is in our hands still. Time to regroup, recharge and start again. I cannot imagine the SNP dropping this though I do expect Salmond to stand down or at least secede to Sturgeon, but either way the Yes campaign needs to ensure the SNP doesn’t give in. I know many will never vote SNP, but they’re the government of Scotland and they’re the best chance to force another referendum through not in a generation, but when things fail and they WILL fail.
This isn’t over. Not by a long shot.