Thoughts from a long journey south

Alec RossBy Alec Ross

Imagine walking into your workplace everyday knowing that 92.62% of your colleagues didn’t like you.

Imagine every time you stood up to ask a question in a meeting you were booed and heckled and told to “go home”.

Imagine if no-one actually heard your question because of the noise.

Imagine you’d thought about the challenges, diligently brought sensible suggestions that were ignored, and imagine that the spirit of compromise you brought was met with contempt and derision.

Imagine being told by the chairman that your voice didn’t matter, and that the vote you had on the business’s constitutional arrangements five and a bit years ago had to stand forever because someone who no longer works for the company once used a phrase – “once in a generation” – in a completely different context – which meant that the question could never be asked again. Ever.

Even if 80% of the colleagues of your department wanted it.

Even if larger departments were enacting bigger changes on a much lower support base.

And imagine if all the time the powers and responsibilities you always believed were yours by right were being taken without your consent? And if your department couldn’t set a budget because the big house was so incompetent they couldn’t set theirs?

And imagine the big house – some of whose members actually live in your neighbourhood – tried to blame you because your conscientious stance had delayed  catastrophic outcome the people you represent never wanted?

Your self-respect would mean you’d leave the company and never go back.

You’d think  about calling the lawyer, but, ach, life’s too short, and why give them the satisfaction?

You’d set up your own company. You’d grow up. You’d move on.

Ok, I’ve laboured the point enough.

It isn’t working, folks. Get us out of here, quick.

This continuing participation in a demeaning charade has to end. It’s deeply embarrassing.

Driving south, listening to PMQs felt like a new low. Groundhog Day without Bill Murray’s deadpan humour. Every day we return feels like we’re complicit in this omnibouroch. Every time we ask for what is already ours it weakens us and emboldens a majority government that hardly needs us to give it a confidence boost.

In the end, the primary responsibility of any leader is the well-being of her people. Brexit presents an existential threat to Scotland and therefore the First Minister must with immediate effect remove us from this bouroch at the earliest possible opportunity by whatever means available.

Not by the end of the decade.

But now.

In the end, it’s always better to plough your own furrow. And the best and most honest thing is to be yourself.

This is about self-respect.

I’m heading for Glasgow on Saturday. I’ve heard there might be a gathering of sorts. I’ll meet you further on up  the road. [All Under One Banner Independence March in Glasgow on Saturday 11th of January]

Alec AUOBEdinburgh No4 2019