A country divided
The really good thing about travelling around the Shires of England is getting a feel for the people and leaving the “Scotland is shit” media behind. I love England, it’s people, it’s scenery and it’s rich history. I love how, for the most part,they have this great belief in the country’s ability to overcome any odds. There is no way, for example, if England had entered a Union with France 300 years and had the parliament moved to Paris, they would, 300 years later be still agonising over whether they were good enough to be independent. Long before now the English people would have TAKEN their country back. I like that. This last wee while is different though.I sensed division this time, division I had never really sensed before. And 3 way too. There are those who want a really hard BREXIT,who seem to dispise the EU, those desperate to stay in the EU and those, like most Scots, I suppose, just shrugging their shoulders and burying their heads, dismayed by politics in general. We all hear about Scotland being divided, my goodness, Kezia is never done goingon about it. But lets be clear, there are divisions in all countries between left and right, religion, yes and no….. But we manage these divisions and particularly in Scotland we are managing these divisions better than ever I think. We mustn’t take our eye off the ball of course.
Speaking to people down South I’ve never heard such polar views. Some had a real deep distaste for the EU, usually around the issue of Immigration and others just felt helpless. Some of those I spoke to, voted for Jeremy Corbyn on the basis that he “was different” but already had become dismayed by the fact that 1. he lost and they got a Tory Government anyway (we know the feeling!) and 2. were now of the opinion that Corbyn’s Labour party are after much the same “hard” Brexit that the Tories are. What was also startling was the positive attitude to some of our Politicians, Nicola Sturgeon, Mhairi Black and Angus Robertson being particularly highly regarded. Funnily enough, friends in England seem to have seen through Ruth Davidson much quicker than us Scots, one guy referred to her as a “Posh Ned!” which I thought was funny. Too much Still Game for him I think! What I think has become clear is that people in England are much more aware of the other countries in the UK (possibly brought in to focus by the Tory-DUP deal) and are paying more attention to our politics. Becoming frustrated by the performance of their NHS for example compared to Scotland. Anyway that’s just a snapshot of recent travels in England. I don’t know where Brexit will take the UK, it’s a mess and I think we all know it. Can we make the best of it? I am not sure but many people around these islands feel exactly the same.
The problem with Labour
It’s been interesting over the last few weeks to read two of my favourite Pro-Indy writers Cat Boyd and Alan Bissitt wrestle with voting Labour in the recent General Election. As I have said here before, I don’t really care how anyone else votes, indeed it’s none of my business but you have to own that vote. Be aware of what you are voting for, who you are voting for and if elected what you will get from your candidate and if the party forms the Government what you will get from them. For me in the General Election the choice was easy. My SNP MP has been superb for our area. Worked harder than his predessor and deserved, in my view, to remain in place and he did albeit with a reduced majority. Our Labour candidate was a mess and despite my being encouraged by the prospect of Jeremy as PM, it was just as important to me that the person representing us at Westminster was competent. The Labour candidate certainly was not that. The Lib Dem was the previous MP and was largely anonymous and the Tory was, well a Tory!
My problems with Labour as a leftie remain. It is the insulting way they dismissed the YES campaign and continue to dismiss and denigrate those who favour self determintion. I like Jeremy Corbyn and think he is a decent man, but the party he leads would still keep nuclear weapons on the Clyde. The Labour mayor of London made bizarre claims about theYES movement being racist. They seem to favour a hard brexit, albeit committed to more concilliatory talks with the EU, and interestingly several of their pledges made during the campaign seem to melt away the closer they get to Government. Indeed we hear senior members of the Party suggesting that the “radical” manifesto they proposed was based on the fact that they didn’t think they would be elected and admitting that it couldn’t have been implemented. We also have Jeremy sacking ministers for rebelling, when he himself has been a serial rebel in the party for years. Very much do as I say not as I do. It’s all so disappointing. My issue, with the party, here in Scotland is also that the level of candidate just isn’t very good and when I listen to people like Jackie Baillie, Anas Sarwar and James Kelly I don’t hear people who represent what the Labour Party was to me in my younger years or my parents generation or indeed the Labour Party of Jeremy Corbyn. For me Alan Bisset hit the nail on the head, recently, when he said he thought about it, voting for a Labour party with a socialist agenda again, but just couldn’t. Too much damage has been done. I can’t vote for a party that includes those who openly dispise and denigrate the peaceful democratic YES movement it is such a joy to be a part of. I hope to be able to vote Labour in an Independent Scotland until then it’s SNP/Green/SSP for me. I want a radical,socialist Scotland. And while we are in the UK I want a radical, socialist UK. Sorry Cat, but even under Jeremy Corbyn Labour is not even close to that. I am not saying the SNP are radical either by the way, but in the UK we need MP’s whose first and only concern is Scotland and are not lobby fodder for Labour or the Tories. I can’t forget my own family’s 80’s experience of local industry being wrecked by the Tories while the Labour MP’s and Labour councils stood idly by and did nothing for the people they represented.
Calling Agent Gilruth
I never think the personal lives of Politicians is anyones business and I certainly don’t think it constitutes news but I had a giggle this week when I read about the relationship between SNP MSP Jenny Gilruth and Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale. Both are very capable Politicians and strong characters so I can imagine the discussions over dinner some nights! Of course, we all know Kezia would love to come over from the “dark side” and back independence for her country and I am sure through time Jenny will be able to persuade her of the merits of that. Kezia Dugdale as the Labour FM in a Independent Scotland? I would take that. On a more serious note, good luck to them both.
Not content with saying the Scotland is currently shit, I see our pals in the Unionist media and Tory Party were back to telling us what we couldn’t do as a future Independent country at the weekend. The National ran a front page at the weekend on the ambitious idea floated by Common Weal that an Independent Scotland could have a thriving space programme. Despite the fact it was another of those cartoony front pages from the National that I hate. It was an enjoyable piece, ideal for lighter weekend reading and was indicitive of what the Pro-Indy movement is all about: dreaming big, thinking out of the box, being creative, doing thing differently and trusting ourselves to make those aspirations a reality. Of course all the big guns piled on, Deerin, Tomkins (yes he of the WATP, Queens 11 tweets), Murial Gray. Most of the Cringers in one place. How dare Scotland think big? How dare Scotland think forward? Quite mad for Scotland to even contemplate such an idea. Of course, many thousands in Scotland are already employed in the space industry and efforts are afoot to bring the UK spaceport to either Prestwick or Campbeltown. We build more satellites in Glasgow than any other European City. None of that suits the “Scotland is Shit” brigade who currently populate our media and political spaces. It’s a shame really because wee countries with big ideas and big dreams seem to do OK. Never mind. While they moan from the sidelines we will continue to dream big, reach out and drive forward because that’s what proper country’s do.