These are different days. Firstly, backing Brexit isn’t brave. The behaviour of TM and those who actually decide things reminds me of the people who took us to the Great War and to Iraq. It’s easier to keep going than to change course. It’s the will of the people, we’re told, by people who are acting in the most profoundly undemocratic manner imaginable. And it works both ways, of course – I’ve written several times about Woodrow Wilson reversing his anti-war position on the basis that there had been a material change in circumstances. It’s a process, not an event. The brave and moral thing is to look at the evidence and say: “this cannot be done”. May, Johnston, JRM et al? Not brave. Not brave at all.Cowards. Fearties. An utter disgrace.
The second thing is really a question. I’d always understood that the article 50 legislation was always implicit in that Brexit could be reversed unilaterally, but it seems the ECJ had to make that explicit, which is a good thing as it makes it indefensible for remaining to not be an option in any second vote, even if that means extending article 50 which is also now totally justified.
Thirdly, I wrote about how the time for Scotland to help England save itself from itself had passed. Given the extraordinarily brilliant work of people like Alyn Smith, Andy Wightman and Joanna Cherry, I have been given pause. They’ve been beacons of collegiate thinking, consensus and compromise and have provided a moral compass to a world led by an elite that is losing its ethical core and values. I am so proud of you, regardless of the colour of your rosette. I want Scotland to be independent because therein lies our future prosperity, and part of me wanted the worst as it might have brought that day closer.
But maybe I was wrong. Maybe this is a better way. Goodness me, I wish only the best for everybody on these isles. Whatever else happens, today shows that Scotland wasn’t just thinking about Scotland. Scotland walked the walk. There is such a thing as society and maybe the conceit that we are all Jock Thamson’s bairns isn’t just the Kailyard but actually has some substance. Your best friends are the ones who look after you in the dark times and aren’t feart to call you out when you take a wrong turn. As we all do. To step aside, said Burns, is human.
I was mildly – actually, more than mildly – critical of my government’s continuing consensus approach towards a place that I had long since ceased to recognise. I may have been wrong. There may be a reason why I am running a farm supply company rather than Scotland. Whether there’s a Brexit – and today means there might not be – Scotland holds its head high and how we conducted ourself when the flood came hadn’t gone unnoticed. When we’re a normal independent country we’ll have a bank account full of the kind of goodwill that the Theresa Mays of this world would die for right now.
In the end you try to do what’s right. Some of Scotland’s finest people – and I was privileged to speak alongside Alyn Smith and others in 2014 – have played a blinder today. My wish is that those who remain unconvinced look at the stats of those who haven’t and ask: who shall speak for Scotland? And, if the answer is “not us”, then frankly I have nothing else to say to you.
“Facts”, said Burns, “Are chiels that winna’ ding”. Translation? The truth is your friend and will not let you down.
Today is a moment of truth. Whatever happens, we did the right thing. We told the truth. There are days that restore your faith, that provide light in the darkness. That make you think: yeah, we’ll be ok.
This is the day and this is the life.