Proud Of My Country Proud Of My People

Hey everyone Last Monday i went to Stereo for the final National Collective Session before our independence referendum. It was a brilliant evening full of quality performers and made me proud to be a part of this wonderful movement to create a better Scotland. From the Yestival tour which took our uplifting vision round the nation from the Northern Isles to the Borders to the Edinburgh Fringe, There isn’t a part of Scotland which this cultured crew of creatives hasn’t reached and this was Glasgow’s final taste of it before the day arrived.

With performances from the poet Kathleen Jamie who kicked off the night with a set of inspiring poems about her hopes for a post independent Scotland, Comedian Janey Godley, and musicians of the calibre of the brilliant Lori Watson and Rule of Three and Shambles Miller whose fantastic musical satire got the crowd cheering from the rafters

I think this event can be best summed up by these uplifting words from the song This land is your land. the words are ‘Proud of My Country, Proud of My People ‘and I who was raised in Celtic cultural tradition have been made even prouder of my country every time i have attended one of these events. I say this not in the sense of a false patriotism based around flags and banners but in what i see as the contribution an independent Scotland can offer humanity which a country like the United Kingdom based as it is on wealth and riches for the privileged few will never even contemplate.

This was and make no mistake about it a magnificent evening which showcased Scottish Culture at it’s best and it kills the lie perpetuated by the two George’s Robertson and Galloway, surely the world’s most sickening double act since Bush and his junior partner and ass licking servant Tory B-liar committed crimes against humanity. Now it may be true that they have no culture in fact I’d put my mortgage on it, but to be deceitful against your own country is a dirty black hearted disgrace. The things these political puppets will do for a place on the gravy train to Westminster is and i will make no bones about this so disgusting is actually beyond the comprehension of any normal human being. Thank god we have events like this where time and time again we can prove them wrong.

You know, it is interesting, to see the mindset of these people and realise that without them realising it they have been important weapons in the struggle for a yes vote. Indeed in many ways they and others of their ilk, have actually been our best recruiting sergeants. This was highlighted in an impassioned journey to yes by the Paisley born novelist Christopher Brookmyre.

Speaking from the heart and with a very clear sense of purpose he said that when the discussion on independence started he would probably have supported some sort of Devo Max option in preference to independence, The fact that this choice was denied to him by David Cameron refusing to put it on the ballot paper due to the fact he, and i quote ‘ did not want to give Alex Salmond his consolation prize’ drove Christopher Brookmyre into the waiting arms of a yes campaign which was only to eager to embrace his support. As he continued his plea for a yes vote Mr Brookmyre went on to say that David Cameron’s refusal to include Devo Max on the paper shows how out of Westminster Politicians really are when it comes to the people of Scotland and it also shows how they view politics. when the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom denies a potentially important constitutional option due to the fact he sees it as a consolation prize to another politician. By doing this Mr Cameron is gambling with the future of the country and it is a gamble I think he’ll lose as there are a lot of people who like Christopher Brookmyre may have settled that choice and are now going to be voting yes for independence because it wasn’t on offer.

As he concluded what was a brilliant speech Mr Brookmyre said that there was no doubt that this vote had engaged people like no other he had known, and said that if 10 years ago you had told your friends that you would be going to a pub on a Monday night to talk about politics they would have said aye who with the barman and the cleaner Well see after you’ve finished you better make sure that the barman has a good book to read for the rest of the night’ However these were changed times and the fact that you could get 300 people in a basement bar on Monday night proved how this debate had captured the public interest. This he said is not only a chance to break from Westminster, it is a chance to do things differently, and chance we should take to build a better Scotland for the future.

The next speaker on an excellent night was Graham from Lateral North who told us the exciting opportunities an a post Independent Scotland and how this could have a very beneficial impact on the population geography of the North of Scotland which is an area rich with resource potential and ripe for a population boom as people leave the traditional population hub of the central belt to take advantage of the new industries which could grow and develop in a New Scotland.

After the break we had comedienne Janey Godley who after sitting on the fence for most of the campaign decided to declare for yes. The trigger point came after watching the referendum broadcast with the women who has become known as the patronising BT Lady.
As a woman in what is a very male dominated profession Janey has had to deal with outdated sexist attitudes and trust me she tackles them head on so perhaps I am not surprised that the gift that keeps on giving had delivered yet another yes vote for the banner.

In a brilliant and passionate set Janey said that she was really disappointed that the comedy referendum special featuring Kevin Bridges and Frankie Boyle contained not one single gobby Scottish female comedienne on the show even going as far as to hint that she was available at the time. Janey talked openly about growing up in a poor area of Glasgow and how that has led to her being unfairly stereotyped to fit in to certain boxes. This comic powerhouse also said that she called Tony Blair the c word when she met him at an important function. Now I’ll let you in to a little secret I have known Janey for a number of years and I didn’t think she could go up any more in my estimation, but after putting Blair in his place she has just done exactly that.

After Janey we had the gifted young musician Dol Eoin MacKinnon who being a proud Western islander sang a song in his first language Gaelic before singing Scotland’s voice which I believe should be on the short list for a future national anthem should we take the decision to vote yes.

We finished our celebration with Lori Watson and Rule of Three who gave us such a great set it brought tears to my eyes. I have to say Lori’s set was my personal highlight of a night which live long in the memory. You see I have known Lori many years and have been to see her as often as time and finances permit. As she said at the bar later in the evening ‘you must know our whole set by now’ and you something I think I probably do.

As the evening drew to a close I enjoyed great chat with my good friend and comrade Alan ‘Citizen’ Smart about the last days of the campaign and the kind of society we want to create post independence, in fact I enjoyed the chat so much I almost missed my last bus home. Luckily I managed to get there just in time and as I departed the bus in the darkness of the Baillieston skies the driver saw my badges and revealed he would also be voting yes. This to me was a fitting end to a night which showcased all that was good about Scotland and made me prouder of my country and my people than I have ever been Well when have people like Jenny Lindsay, Victoria Kerr, Lori Watson, Declan Welch, Alan Bissett, and the breathtakingly brilliant Zara Gladman I think you’ll agree we have a lot to be proud of.

Love And Best Wishes
Gayle X


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