Hey everyone I don’t know how you spent your weekend but for me Saturday was all about relaxing but Sunday was slightly more political and I must say I had a very enjoyable afternoon in the Arches on a day when wrote letters to the Future had tactical tea cakes and a day of exploding myths. Yes it really was all the fun of the festival for Scotland’s common weal.
Organised by the excellent powerhouse that is Robin McAlpine this was not only a great place to discuss the kind of Scotland we want to create post independence, there was also an excellent showcase of our nation’s creative talent on the National Collective stage featuring poets such as Jenny Lindsay, Sam Small and Theresa Munoz. I have to say that on this occasion I was really inspired by Theresa Munoz sharing her journey to Yes.
In as and articulate a speech as you will hear from any professional politician, Theresa Munoz set out the Scotland that she wants to live in and play her part in creating. Theresa spoke with fire and passion about the need for Scotland to control its own immigration policy as Westminster’s way does meet Scotland’s needs. She spoke of a Scotland which would have justice and fairness as its core values. A Scotland which would play no part in illegal wars and would have not got involved Iraq. Believe me this very talented woman is committed to creating a better Scotland and believes it can and will be done. This was a journey I was privileged to share and it made me proud to know Theresa Munoz as both a poet and friend.
Other highlights included comedienne Ashley Storrie who gave those in attendance her own unique take on East End family life and the perils of internet dating, and meeting so many people from the number of diverse group who are proud to campaign under our banner.
However it is has to be said that for me at least the cultural highlight of the day was the appearance of one Zara Gladman otherwise known as Lady Alba. Watching Lady Alba rip right into the unionists is I have to say very enjoyable especially when she can make Alastair Darling appear on the same stage as not only David Cameron but their shared political mother Margaret Thatcher.
I have to say however I wasn’t just attending for the culture. As a blogger it was my duty to mix and mingle and being a bit of a chatterbox this is something with which I have never had a problem. As I made my way round the stalls it was good to see friends from the groups I’m involved in such as Radical Independence, Women for Independence and National Collective, it was also good to meet up with members of groups from The Jimmy Reid Foundation and English Scots for Yes whose spokesperson Inverclyde SNP councillor Math Campbell told me that better together hate them more than any other group in the campaign. Personally I am not in the least bit surprised by this news. Well it blows their little lie about the referendum being all about mad anti-English racists who hate our neighbours in to 60 million brits.
It was also good to meet some of the Young Scots who are campaigning under the banner of Generation Yes including internet star of the independence movement Saffron Dickson. This fiery passionate articulate young woman is driven in her desire to create a better nation and during a very pleasant conversation I found out that she has occasionally read tartantights. Obviously our Saffron is a woman of culture and class
and a guest post awaits her should she ever want to write one.
As I continued to network aka gab for Scotland and possibly Europe it was a real treat to meet supporters of the independence cafe and Dearest Scotland. The idea of dearest Scotland everyone is encouraged to write a letter to the Scotland of the future and say what they would like that Scotland to be like. I find this an intriguing idea and will certainly write my letter to the Scotland yet to come. In fact if I’m honest, I may have to write more than one. Well this is me, and I can go on a bit.
During our chat a spokeswoman for the group said that dearest Scotland is a project open to anyone be they yes, no or don’t know in their current voting intentions. With this in mind she had told me that they had been hoping to be invited to some better together but somehow and I don’t know why, they never seem to invited. Something tells me there may be a couple of reasons for this these are (1) Better Together don’t hold any meetings (2) No-one within the unionist camp is allowed to hold opinions which are not carefully vetted by the thought control police at project fear.
As for the independence cafe I find this an inspiring idea as it will get people to examine their beliefs and say where they are on the independence issue. What the team have done is to give a list of statements from both the Yes Scotland and Better Together campaigns are get people to place a Tunnock’s Tea Cake on the statement they most agree with.
During this session I was staffing the board and a more mature male voter came over to enquire what was happening. I gave him a brief explanation of what he had to do and he placed his tea cake on the box which says the North Of England would suffer if Scotland became independent.
On seeing this I gently but politely challenged his statement. This initially got a very defensive reaction however as an experienced campaigner who has worked as an equality trainer I know how to handle these tricky situations. The man who I would put in his early 60’s said that was his opinion and he had always believed it to the case, so he was concerned about the impact of independence on his family down there.
Still using my feminine charms I asked him if he would be interested in hearing an alternative view of the situation. To which he said maybe but it’s not your job to change my opinion or is it? I replied that indeed it was not my opinion to change his opinion but rather to provide him with information and facts which lead to him to change his own mind once he been given access to them.
Having the man right where I wanted him namely engaged
in debate, I undertook my task with due diligence and provided him with the reassurance he sought about his perfectly legitimate concerns. I did this by using both subjects in my joint honours degree, yes there are times when combining Geography and Politics can come in seriously useful and this was most definitely one such occasion.
I started by stating that the new HS2 high speed rail link between London and the north would only reach as far north as Leeds on one side of the pennines and Manchester on the other, so if his family lived any further north than that they would not gain any of the economic or social benefits from this link.
I then went on to inform him that since Scotland was geographically closer to the North of England than the North of England is to London that rather have the negative impact he feared, this could have a very positive effect on that particular area. This is especially true when you consider that the North of England would be ideally positioned to benefit from the strong cultural and social ties and may gain economic benefits from Edinburgh being not only a national capital but along with Glasgow the commercial and financial heart of a newly independent nation. This could also open doors for northern English businesses to invest in Scotland as there are better transport links between Scotland and the North of England than there are between the North and London. Having taken all of this on board however there was one issue which still concerned him and I knew what was coming next.
This was his last reservation and that was that if Scotland was lost to the union the people of the North of England may be isolated as a socialist stronghold within the remaining United Kingdom. My answer to this statement came in two parts. Firstly I explained in as polite as a way as I could that it was not Scotland’s duty to remain within a union so that other areas or geographic regions got the Government they wanted. This was I said there duty to go out to each and every part of the remaining and make the case for the change they sought.
This was I said where an independent Scotland would be the most powerful the good folk of the north could have. You see it is my belief and the belief of many voters I speak to that a post independent Scotland will take a turn to the left under a Labour Party which bears no resemblance to the bunch of right wing charlatans who lead them at the moment. Having made this switch and regained power which will never be theirs in a devolved Scotland Labour will I believe move back to being the party of principles rather than the party of the profiteers they are at the moment. I believe they will embark on a far more left wing agenda than Westminster would allow and having done so and the people of the North Of England not only watched but benefit from its success they far from being disenfranchised as some would like to claim,would actually be in the ideal position to lead the rest of the UK in a movement for social, cultural, economic and political change. The gentleman claimed I was being very optimistic and I said maybe I was but I genuinely believed in my optimism as it had served me well in the past when people even no especially, those sympathetic to the cause of independence said we would never be allowed to vote on it and now that is exactly what we will be doing It was this final statement which saw him move his tea cake from the pro unionist refrain of the North Of England would suffer if we became independent to the pro Yes Scotland will remain in the European Union after independence.
After a long and sometimes protracted chat I think I could safely say I was satisfied that another myth had been shattered and another concern dealt with. However that gentleman shows how hard we have to work for every vote and how deeply ingrained some voters fears really are. This should come as no real surprise to anyone after all the unionists have had a free reign to do as they please for over 300 years so erasing that sense of could we do it, or even should we do it is not easy but with every little victory another demon dies and on the day that we bury the last of them we can start to build a better land where people have pride in themselves and their achievements without in any way becoming parochial or insular where Scotland is a responsible global citizen, a good neighbour to those in the remaining United Kingdom and a good friend to the wider family of nations.
Love And Best Wishes