The red white and blueprint

Chances are if you’re reading this in Scotland you didn’t learn too much Scottish history in your teens and you’re likely self-taught. And you’ll have read, as I did, that had the genocide which comprises the aftermath of Culloden and the Clearances not occurred these lands of ours would be well populated. Like Ireland would and should have been. The Irish, and we, wouldn’t have museums and museum ships dedicated to keeping alive the memories, lives, hardships and destinations of those doomed to a dreadful fate imposed by those governing us from a foreign land. Those Celtic nations which we comprise would be far more populous, powerful, confident, brave and accomplished than we find ourselves to be. That we remain restless and determined to carve our own paths speaks volumes about our collective determination in the face of tyranny which is simultaneously subtle and overwhelming.

I’m not a time traveller, but I don’t have to be such to picture the horrors visited upon our forebears. Like me, you can imagine the anguish of a house being burnt to the ground, empty or not, animals bolting,families left penniless, afraid and cast onto the roads. Survival required the scratching of barren earth, desperate gathering of rosehips, brambles and some oatmeal scraped from a pouch. Porridge mouths indeed. Names scratched onto windowpanes and walls for posterity – I weep. 

And were our fate today to remain in the hands of those who rule from a Westminster devoid of shame, understanding, democracy and decency, we’d hunger once more. Though we’ve been told of the joys of budgeting for a life surviving on porridge again, this modern starvation though would be a different type of deprivation – we would have hunger in our bellies, and also become starved of the oxygen of socialisation with the rest of the world, Europe would be relegated to a foreign and alien place. Instead of deportation to hard labour on the other side of the globe, our youth who could otherwise have embarked upon happy adventures to learn and to experience different days, climes and customs would be marooned on this red, white and blue outpost indefinitely without time off for good behaviour. 

We’re dictated to by a Home Secretary who smirks at hardship and want, who believes that Ireland should be starved into submission once more and who favours the return of capital punishment. We’ve a Foreign Secretary who knows not his arse from his Channel Tunnel, nor his spy from his diplomatic envoy. There’s a Trade Minister who thinks that Yorkshire Tea is grown where enobled cricketers batter their wives and a Prime Minister who arranges donations of public funds to Yankee pole dancers on account of their doodle-dandy tech. And were our health not devolved, at least for the time being, into safe Scottish hands, we’d be looking at selling out to American providers and vultures, where the ability to pay will trump the hour of need. 

All the whiles we’re encouraging our children to bake and sell cakes to raise funds for cancer charities; that’s a laudable aim, were it not for the obscene levels of wages paid to the top executives there, but at the same time our rulers arrange multi billion pound deals selling arms to international warmongers; innocent children in foreign lands are being bombed and shot as we stand idly by. We’re sharing on social media photos of Palestinian youths who pass their days playing amputee football, their legs having been shot off by Israelis who, of all upon this earth, should know better. And the Kurds are screwed yet again, 100 years after the Brits shafted them. 

So I don’t hold out too much hope for the grant of a s30 and another independence referendum; that’s not likely to happen without yet another David and Goliath/ Joanna and Boris tussle reaching to the Supreme Court; Britain never let a nation regain its independence willingly yet – you think it’s going to happen easily now? 

And if the world ended tomorrow but we got just one last chance to rewrite history – what part would you play? What would we change? Which elements would we keep? I’ll tell you mine – I’d be chapping every door in my town, recalling the sacrifices my forebears made to give me and mine life. I’d be screaming for independence for this country at every opportunity. I’d probably kidnap Gordon Brown and stuff his mouth with porridge if I thought it would save even one pensioner from being lied to and duped about the woes of self-determination; I’d pluck out Alistair Darling’s eyebrows and force him to write an essay about the benefits of the Spondoolix against the pound; I’d require Jim Murphy to stand on an Irn Bru crate in Freedom Square and extol the virtues of the austerity for which his party voted; I’d give Ruth Davidson the chance to sit upon a tank in Buckhaven and tell us all why she supported the rape clause. And I’d have Theresa May and Iain Duncan Smith and their cohorts explain why drugs legislation, and life saving treatment rooms can’t be within the scope of the powers of the Scottish parliament. 

Most of all though I would hope that those who live in Scotland, born Scots, adopted Scots, newly arrived from Poland, Syria, Somalia, Timbuktu, would have the courage to say – I am Scottish and I am determined to live in an independent country where we are free to govern ourselves as we wish, where the mistakes we make are our errors and where when we get it right we look after all of us, ourselves, and we look outwards too to a world where we take our place, with autonomy, and we respect, cherish, value and promote humanity.