I was up the football in Glasgow yesterday and despite of – or perhaps because of – the Balvenie I had in Girvan on the way north, I was enjoying the match and everything around it in all of its raucous bampottery, in the pishing rain and thinking – bloody hell, Scotland really is a different beast. Even when it comes to something as gloriously trivial as watching a game of football. It’s like something the late AA Gill said. The way we sing, the way we speak, the way we marry, the way we bury our dead. We’re not better, just different. Proudly, fiercely different.
I’m basically scunnered. I’m fed up writing, both actually and figuratively, blank cheques – to borrow from Martin Luther King. I’m fifty-two this month. It’ll soon be ten years on from the indyref. And if I’m reading it right, there may or may not be a defacto indyref / general election in 2026, ten – count them – years after a Brexit we rejected. Once again our expectations are being drearily managed. Haud me back.
The brief is that the strategy may be risky. Which it is, because the franchise wouldn’t include the seventeen and eighteen year olds who hold the key to victory. But, I mean, risky? Like the union is a haven of calm and stability? What in life is risk free? If you took that view you’d never have got the job you wanted, never have asked out the person you fancied, even though you thought they might not be interested. Risk is guaranteed. It’s baked in, as the Americans say. Risk? Bring it on. What’s the worst that could happen? Is anyone seriously suggesting that this is as good as it’s going to get? Really?
I keep thinking of a guy I met who spoke at a march in Golspie. Essentially, he believed Scotland has done what every colonised country in history has done – made an accommodation with its oppressors. I used to think – och, nonsense.
But I bought his book and here’s the thing. He might be right. It might be that those who govern us within the narrow limits of the Scotland Act are devolutionists, not independentistas. And when Westminster threatens to block Holyrood’s legislation, as it did this week, where is the outrage? Must we always boast, then cower? What’s that Maya Angelou line? When people show you what they are, believe them the first time.
If we’re to achieve the normality of independence we need to do it on our own. Because it’s later than you think.
Keep the faith, good people. And I’ll meet you further on up the road.