The Girl with the Edinburgh Tattoo

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Archive for the month “September, 2014”

A wake-up call for us all

So that’s it, eh? All over. Half of Scotland relieved and half with broken dreams. Well, slightly more than half and slightly less than half respectively. It’s strange though – even though I believe the vote went the right way for Scotland and the UK – I don’t feel particularly like celebrating. Why?

Firstly, it was scary. It was edge-of-seat stuff at some stages – if maybe not as near the edge as the media was making out, such was their need to avoid the accusation of appearing one-sided or partisan. Or perhaps they were trying to make it seem more neck-and-neck in order to ratchet up the tension. Either way – they’re still being accused of bias. Sometimes you just can’t win, eh?

Secondly, it’s incredibly sad. Seeing tearful yes supporters today doesn’t make me feel good. One of the reasons I was ‘no thanks’ is because I have a deep distrust of nationalism – whatever country, colour, shape or form – it’s divisive, nasty and the oldest trick in the book to exploit people who feel themselves dispossessed. And when the ‘who’s the more patriotic?’ thing started – that was a low point. Plus the whole celebrity-endorsement-industry when applied to something this important is ridiculously redundant and is something that has to die a natural death.

Reasons to be proud though – the turnout was a record-busting 84.5% and people who had never voted before did so. And – even with a minority of muppets misbehaving – the whole thing was carried out fairly and largely corruption-free.

The next few weeks are going to be crunch-time. All parties have to work together and Westminster has to deliver. The biggest message however is that Scottish Labour has to get real and engage with their core voters again. They can’t – and mustn’t – be allowed to bumble along and only visit the housing estates and areas of deprivation when they’re looking for votes. When it comes to promises they can’t forget because the people won’t.

Just Another Dream?

BrigadoonIn my half-awake state this morning I heard Justin Webb report on increased food prices, decreased supply and general hardship due to newly erected border controls. By Christ! I can’t have slept that long, can I? But I was quickly assured it was Africa – and its ebola restricting measures – he was talking about and not Scotland. As I allowed myself a bit of a lie-in (I have until 22.00 to vote after all) so many surreal images and events started to creep into my head. Did I really witness the following – Alan Cumming expounding political theory; Vivienne Westwood wearing an unfashionably large ‘yes’ badge; David Cameron looking like a dead man walking; Brian Cox (actor) spending so long over here you have to wonder if he’ll ever get back into the US; revitalised careers from Ricky Ross to Franz Ferdinand, George Galloway to Tommy Sheridan? All these things and more have appeared in my referendum-waking-dream-bubble. 

Knowing the only way to banish these images was to get up out of bed and get on with it – I did just that. But what about tomorrow, eh? Whatever is decided, all of us who live here are going to have to get on with it day after day after day…

I live near a polling station and the guy across the road has bedecked his home with an orgiastic flurry of ‘yes’s while his neighbour has a simple ‘no, thanks’. Does Mr Yes think he can influence voters Derren-Brown-like or will his enthusiasm look like hectoring? We Scots don’t like being told what to do, remember!

Who knows what influences people? The Ad-men used to think they had it all sewn up but these days they are finding themselves increasingly emasculated with soshul meedja taking their place. But is that way of coercing any better than what the Mad Men in sharp suits used to do? In so many ways it’s worse with no form of regulation and the huge potential for bullying on a grand scale.

Grassroots campaigns can be great – they’re passionate, they’re exhilarating, they’re furrapeepol! If maybe not for all the people, right? So in the cold light of day when the prating slebs have headed home to Hollywood and people and communities over here have to carry on living and working together – maybe the great party won’t seem worth the almighty hangover.

Another news report I heard in my half-sleep this morning was about the increasing radicalisation of the disillusioned and dispossessed via social media. It may have been radical Islam they were talking about but I can’t be sure…

Never Mind the Ballots – a parable

Madame BovaryA while ago, in an attempt to give a friend a few words of big-sisterly-like pre-wedding advice, I came up with the following – ‘a few years down the line you might look around and think you can do better but it’ll just end up being the same, so better to stick with it’. I hope it wasn’t as clumsy as that and as cheesy cliches go, that’s pretty much up there but I thought I’d dig it out again at this historic time for our country. Okay, okay the divorce analogy has been done to death of late, achieving a cliché status of its own but like all clichés – they exist because they’re true and apt.

What am I suggesting? Stay in a loveless marriage when you can break free and do what you want? Well… it doesn’t work like that – you still have to hook up with someone/be governed by someone (that’s the deal in parables/real life). And even if it’s totally wonderful at first living in a shack, reading poetry to each other and dancing barefoot in the woods – you will get sick of the new Mr Dreamboat when all his annoying little habits begin to seamlessly join together, he starts to question how much you spend on getting your hair done and you never have the money to go out anywhere. Finally you will look at him one day and realise he has a creepily familiar look. OMG – you married your cousin!!  You’ll hark back to the days when you were in demand – wooed and courted by politicians, footballers, pop stars and Hollywood actors. You’d get in touch to ask them to help you but they’re busy trying for a cameo in the latest Tarentino and besides they’ve got a new pet charity project on the go now. (You were sooo 2014… )

Ah, but you’ll have proved something to yourself, surely? Maybe so, but it’s cost you a bit and you’ll still have some bozo telling you what you can and can’t do. Never mind, you can say you did it all for your grand-kids and see how grateful those little bastards are.

Okay – end of parable – allow me to be sick – sick of assumptions – assumptions about being working class, ‘arty’, patriotic, having a social conscience, having more in common with a care worker in Liverpool than the laird of the manor down the road, or vice versa… if you’re that, you must be this…

What am I trying to say? Think for yourself and about yourself. Don’t become a mindless muppet for someone who shouts louder than the other guy and drags  you along on some bandwagon. Be proud of who you are and don’t be bullied into fitting some stereotype. It’s your life – you can make your own decision – but you have to free your mind first.

Scottish Referendum

Brilliant! Says more in a few lines about being Scottish than in all the nationalistic nonsense churned out by Hugh McDiarmid and the like.

Selling Scotland by the Pound/Euro/Groat…

Salmond 2Let’s forget about the currency debate for a while – well those riding on a wave of nationalistic nirvana don’t seem to think that’s very important after all… Let’s imagine what a country desperately ‘open for business’ would bring. How can we make a few bob when the economy goes down the drain? Here’s the solution – sell off chunks of our country with no thought to the residents. And don’t worry about the government because ‘King’ Alex Salmond will drop his drawers and let an American billionaire do what he’s already been doing metaphorically to the land and the residents up in Aberdeen.

If you want to know the full story go and see Anthony Baxter’s A Dangerous Game which is a brilliant and chilling follow-up to You’ve Been Trumped. Then ask yourself why King Alex wouldn’t be interviewed for the film.


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