Hey everyone. Over a week has passed since the Commonwealth Games left our city and as Glasgow slowly begins to get back to normal after a brilliant couple of weeks I am left to reflect on the many fellow Scots and visitors I met during the last few weeks and their attitudes to Scotland and the issue of the referendum and independence and on a more personal level to me as a transsexual woman and yes voter. I was particularly interested in those who have a vote and how they intend to cast that vote on polling day
However, and this is unlike me I let others start the conversation. I guess this is easier when your jacket is covered in more yes badges than would be acceptable for a pearly queen but I have to say and unionists won’t like this that the vast majority of those I spoke to are voting Yes. Not only that but the majority who have spoke to me are young, intelligent and female. This is according to unionists the very demographic that yes are supposed to be having most trouble connecting with.
These young women are bright articulate and either professional or in full time education. Most list their reasons for supporting a yes vote as the chance to save the NHS, the chance to get rid of trident, and the belief that independence will lead to a better standard of living.
Other reasons included preserving the quality of Scottish education system, a belief that an independent Scotland will be a fairer more equal society than the UK, the perception that the UK is backward, insular, xenophobic, and lives in the past. There is also the view that Scotland would have a better foreign policy and would take no part in illegal wars and would be able fight poverty rather than spend money on weapons, and would promote more opportunities for women and girls. As you can see that is a pretty extensive list and there are no mentions of Braveheart, Oil, or Alex Salmond.
Indeed when I was challenged recently that independence was all about braveheart by a very pleasant, articulate, if ill informed young woman who claimed that the reason younger people were voting yes was because they had watched too much braveheart, I told her politely but in uncertain terms that the only time I have ever heard mention of braveheart it has been unionists who have mentioned it. After all as I told her the unionists love braveheart it sums up their attitude to Scotland. It’s alright to try something just as long as your not too successful. I mean that would never do, unionists love their glorious failure. This is something they don’t share with today’s women we and transsexual or not I am one of them only celebrate success
You see this generation of women are a lot smarter than the unionists would have you believe. Some of us have even persuaded our sisters, mothers, and grandmothers to vote yes. Indeed I know of more than a few woman who have warned their mothers albeit jokingly that should they vote they will never speak to them again.
Whilst this may be a wee bit on the strident side I have to admit it is a tactic I will not be adverse to using. You see sometimes you really have to tell it like it is. Yes it may be scary but there are occasions when some folk need to be scared to make them wake up and if that’s what it takes to do it then that’s what has to be done.
For example it was only a few months ago when I told a young woman in the most brutal terms possible that a no vote could result in the massacre of the entire population of Glasgow and most of the central belt of Scotland. Not surprisingly and quite rightly the woman asked how this could possibly happen. This allowed me to use my favourite weapon in my independence armoury namely Trident and every time I use this I persuade another voter to begin their journey to yes and this was no exception. You see unlike our opponents I know that when I’m going to make a claim and particularly a controversial one I need to back it up with evidence. This was kindly supplied by Allan Grogan, Jude Letham and the team at Labour for Independence who had shared a photograph from their resource bank which asked the why the Ministry of Defence thought Trident was too dangerous for Portsmouth but good enough for Glasgow. Once she had seen the poster which I had saved on my phone. After showing her the evidence I have to say converting her to yes from what she told me was a probable no vote was something that our unionist friends are only allowed once a year. Yes it really was a walk in the park.
The journey complete we went in our different directions and I wondered if I would ever see her again. I am delighted to report I have indeed seen this young woman in the city centre a few times and on each occasion she has been proudly sporting her yes badge on her jacket. I have to say that’s what I call a success story.
Of course winning hearts and minds for this or any cause
is not easy and there will be setbacks along the way but sometimes it really is about sticking in there. There is however another point I wish to raise and that is the issue of badges. Whilst this at first may seem to be rather trivial you would be shocked how many people notice them and make comments on them. I have to admit in my case the comments have been mainly positive with the exception of a few drunks who usually shout out such intellectually stimulating statements as Rule Britannia and No Surrender. I am however baffled as to how these people think they could possibly rule Britannia or what it is they are not surrendering to. Personally I think it’s progress. You know someone once said to me the many unionist are stuck in a timewarp and can’t seem to get past the 1960’s. My reply was that some of them are still struggling to reach the 1960’s let alone get out of it. Maybe one day, it might happen but you know what I wouldn’t put the mortgage on it.
You will not be surprised that most of this negative feedback has come from men. Not only that it has tended to come from unreconstructed men if you know what I’m saying. Women on the other hand tend on balance to be a bit more civilised in debate and tend to listen to your opinions and letting you know whether they agree with you or not.
I have to say I’ve a lot of engagement with women during the course of this campaign and on the whole it has been positive and one badge more than any other has attracted the attention of women voters and that is the one I am most proud to wear women for independence. When women see this they ask me about the group and I inform them that not only do we support independence for Scotland, we also support independence for woman within Scotland and we campaign for a better fairer more female friendly Scotland with real equality enshrined in to the new constitution for our country as it is of critical importance that Scotland’s women have their voices heard and respected to a far greater degree than they are at the moment.
I also inform those who enquire about the group than we are non party any woman including transwoman can join providing you support independence and want to improve woman’s lives.
This is an important ice breaker and gets a conversation started which can lead on to other issues be they political, economic, cultural or social and I may be able to point them in the direction of other groups in which they may also be interested.
I think it is very important to stress that the yes campaign is a broad based grass roots movement with diverse threads woven in to our tartan and is not just about Alex Salmond and the SNP as our opponents would have you believe. This negates the question are you in Salmond’s team? and the comments about the what they think of him or the SNP. Now as it as so happens I am an SNP member and proud of it and given a window of opportunity I will talk up the achievements of my party in government and make favourable comments on the First Minister’s behalf when compared to his unionist opponents. That however is for election time and is not appropriate during this referendum campaign. In fact I go out of my way to praise members of other parties and of none who are proud to stand for Scotland in this fight for our future. I think women voters appreciate this more than men as it shows the value of teamwork and co-operation and of people working together in common cause.
Therefore when I am campaigning I will gladly wear any of a number of badges from my ordinary plain yes badge to my gaelic yes badge, reflecting as it does my dual Irish and Western Isles heritage, I will be proud to wear my national collective badge and tell those who may be interested about the many poems I have written in support of independence, or my English Scots for yes badge to show that the Scotland of the future will have no place for outdated Anti-English attitudes, I can show my sense of humour by wearing a badge which says I only kiss yes voters or many others in my collection but the one badge you will not see me wearing is my SNP badge. This is not because I’m not proud of it because I certainly am but if women know more than men the value of the right outfit for the right occasion and trust me we do then it stands to reason we also the value of wearing of appropriate accessories.
Talking of value or should I say values many people in press and media claim that women have more conservative values than men and therefore they are more likely to want to remain within the UK. This I have to say is sexist stereotypical nonsense and in my referendum chats l have found that on balance women particularly younger women are more willing to embrace the possibility of independence it’s just that having enquiring minds we are more likely to want to know how things actually work before deciding if that is the road we want to travel or whether it would be better going to another destination. So you could say it isn’t so much about women being more conservative as it is about being more pragmatic in the way we make our choices.
This cautious pragmatism is no bad thing but there is a fear of change amongst some older women which is way above the accepted norm and can actually make them very abusive on this issue. This is also true of those women who are part of what I would refer to as the feral underclass. These are the kind of people who moaned about the Commonwealth Games because there was nothing in it for them and who tend to read the Daily Record and Daily Mail and actually think of them as newspapers. Yes, Scotland beware the ragged trousers of the red top reactionaries. These women uneducated but would be know it all’s are the only women likely to give me grief for being transsexual. This is something I cannot help it is part of who I am but it is this group of people if one call them that who seem to think they have to mock me and believe me most of them are anything but easy on the eye.
Talking of my trans identity this has I have to say played out well for me with women voters during the referendum campaign but it hasn’t worked so well with men. This is I think is due to awkwardness caused by cultural stereotyping and pre conceived ideas. The men concerned are those who tend to not to be the brightest bulbs in the light factory and accept with unquestioning authority the opinions of those of their elders and as they see it social superiors. I have even been told by these people that I don’t know what I’m talking about whilst they quote the Daily Mail about how foreigners are disgusting, good for nothing scroungers.
This is not a smart move on their part as I start to get seriously snide informing them that I have a Geography and Politics honours degree and telling them in no uncertain terms that I forgotten more in 30 seconds than they will ever be capable of learning in 30 years or double it. Trust me I can be real bitch if I’m pushed and you don’t want to put that theory to the test especially if your using the Daily Mail for evidence.
Most foreigners or as I prefer to call them global citizens that I have spoken to are in favour of independence because they come from independent countries themselves. Indeed many of our international citizens and visitors cannot even begin to comprehend why we are even considering voting no. After all Scotland has all the ingredients you need to be a successful independent country. Ingredients such as a highly skilled and well educated workforce, a world class health service, and a wealth of as yet untapped environmental resources to name just a few examples of what we have to build our nation upon. Hardly I suggest the conditions for failure, unless you put a unionist in charge of our country in which case you could have all the resources on earth and still create a climate for disaster.
You see our visitors unlike our unionist politicians don’t see our country as being too poor because they we’re not, too wee, well as Mr Salmond correctly said recently 49 of the 71 nations who competed at the Commonwealth Games are smaller than or of similar size to Scotland as are 12 of the 28 member states of the European Union so that nails that little lie.
Nor are we too stupid unless by we the unionists actually mean themselves in which I would agree with them. Run a country! I wouldn’t let your average unionist run for a bus. Well there as tired and out of condition as there argument which to be honest is not fit for purpose.
So you see there are two future Scotland one lacking in confidence and always looking to others for approval before taking any decision no matter how menial a Scotland which obsesses almost to fanatical level on Braveheart, Oil, and Alex Salmond. A Scotland stuck in a past from which there is they say no escape. A Scotland of the inferiority complex and a permanent unionist cringe. This is not and will never be my Scotland. This is the Scotland I am drip fed every day from the unionist press and media.
The other Scotland is my Scotland. This is modern Scotland, a Scotland which does not fear change but embraces it. A Scotland that does not shirk a challenge but thinks of innovative ways of tackling it. A confident Scotland which knows we are inferior to no one but knows we are equal to everyone. This is a Scotland which not only welcomes the world but shows them the hand of friendship on leaving invites them not to bide awa but to haste ye back. This is the Scotland which is no longer content with glorious failure but celebrates success. This is a fair Scotland where women are valued and transwoman seen like every other woman. This is not the unionist Scotland but proud free Scotland we have within our grasp.
So I say let us claim this Scotland for the future generations by voting yes to independence and by doing so demonstrate that our vision for our country is not Braveheart Oil And Alex Salmond. For whilst this may have been or may still be the diet of the unionist our appetite for equal rights served in a fairer land is much more substantial and that is why I will wear these principles as my badges of identity.
Love And Best Wishes