Saltaire Sunday A Day For Hope In Freedom Square

Hey everyone. There are many ways I could have chosen to spend a sunday afternoon. I could have decided to read a book or watch a bit of comfort telly, I could even have decided to go for a nice long walk after church and take in the Baillieston air. This however is me, and I don’t take the easy option. You see I believe in the truth of that well known saying the revolution will not be televised. So bearing this in mind I decided to attend the Hope Over Fear rally in what supporters of independence have renamed Freedom Square.
As I attend church on Sunday mornings the gathering was well under way by the time I arrived. It was the first Glasgow gathering of the independence family since the disappointment of the referendum result. This however was in no way allowed to dampen the spirits of the gathering who were in the mood to party in the peace of an autumn afternoon.

With empowering speeches to get us in the mood, this was a crowd who were in no mood for giving up on our dream of an independent Scotland and our vision of a better fairer land for all who call it home. This was a crowd who refuse to bow the knee and go back to the being the obedient little Brits our colonial masters would like.

From trade unionists to elected representatives from comedians to musicians the key message was to focus on the challenges and fights which lie ahead of us and from the platform Tommy Sheridan made an emotional call for unity within the family.

Talking of family, it was brilliant though not entirely unexpected to see my wee chosen sister Catherine Baird at the rally along with her husband Ian a respected trade union official and campaigner for a fairer more equal Scotland. Catherine’s wee sister Maureen was also in attendance and the quiet one of the family ended up chatting to me for almost as long as her sister.

It was great to see Convenor of the Federation of Writers Scotland Etta Dunn in attendance with her two daughters and their children.
The girls had blazed the trail long before their mum and were amongst the first people to speak to me on my arrival along with the woman who should have been elected SNP councillor for Rutherglen Margaret Ferrier.

I also spent time in the company of one of my favourite poets and a man who could teach the current Labour Party leadership not only how to spell socialism but explain the meaning behind it I am of course referring to Colin Poole. Next up was the best family ever to come out of Inverclyde and the first family of the democratic left, namely Anne McLaughlin and the crew. This crew included the only man on earth who could not only perform the Burns classic in Jamaican Pataois but in doing so bring it vividly to life Anne’s fiance Graham Campbell.

I also saw musician and Words and Music regular Bob Leslie well it is hard to miss someone who is over 6 foot tall. The fact that Bob never saw me can I think be put down to the fact that he has very egalitarian principles and doesn’t like looking down on people. Well, the fact I am only 5 foot 1 means I am fairly easy to miss. My biggest disappointment of a fantastic day was not being able to get a much needed catch up with Mandy Lochrie but there will be other rally’s and marches where I am sure we will be able to put that right.

If that was the only blip of the day then the bonus came when I met Lesley Anne Burton who was there with her husband Steve and three very well behaved. dogs. Once we got chatting there was no stopping us as we covered a range of topics from Westminster rule by remote control to the importance of good make up and dressing in an appropriate way to suit specific occasions. We also chatted on the importance of diversity, equality and fairness and why though I’m hoops girl and will forever be a Celt she believes Partick Thistle to be the real face of Glasgow football.

One of the most pleasant things about these marches is as I hope I have demonstrated in this post the social side of such events. Yes the political message is important and is the main purpose of the day however by networking at these carnival days we build alliances across party divides which will enable us to campaign together for a better Scotland and a better world.

One of the things we need to eradicate to create that better Scotland is poverty. This was highlighted brilliantly by the woman who compared the last hour of the show Glasgow born comedian Janey Godley. Janey made use of her East End roots to crack what must surely be the line of the day saying ‘Ah come fae Shettleston a place where an oxo cube is viewed as a starter’. Now due to Janey’s brilliant comic timing this may have got a fair few chuckles but by cracking what was surely the line of the day she also raised a very important point which is that the area she grew up in and the parliamentary constituency in which I live has a lower life expectancy than parts of the developing world. Indeed in the words of another Eastender Elaine C Smith when she destroyed the combined intellectual might of Kezia Dugdale, Ruth Davidson, Douglas Alexander on a televised referendum debate if this is us better together if this is the best of both worlds then god help us.

Now I hate to say this but I’m going to anyway, Elaine’s words ring even more accurate now than they did before a referendum in which democracy was stolen from Scotland by Westminster’s favourite and most lethal combination aka the greedy, the gullible, and the gutless. Make no mistake it was these groups who saved the sinking ship UK and it is they who will be punished for there actions. I will qualify this comment by saying their punishment will not come from the Scottish Government which will want to build bridges with those who were too scared to take what they were told by the billionaires of Westminster and their paid hacks in the press and state controlled media was the risk of separation from this great country they live in but believe me there day of reckoning will come from a Westminster government who having used them as cash cows for there own political and personal ends will throw them to the wolves without a second thought.

This is especially true with regards to the willing idiots who trashed Glasgow city centre on the very night they should have been celebrating their victory. Maybe the reason for their anger was that deep down they know they never won a victory but gained only temporary reprieve for dream they know to be dying in front of their eyes.

Unlike the events when the unionists disgraced their country by which and let me be very clear about this I mean the UK not Scotland, there was no trouble at a gathering which had a far greater attendance than certain broadcasting corporations would like to claim as were none of that ilk in my city’s main square to kick it off. What there was and remains a real desire to fight this fight until it is won once and for all and our country takes its place as a force for good in the global family of nations. As many speakers rightly said the Labour Party made there bed when the sided with the Tories in Westminster now we have to make sure they are forced to lie in it. The time has come to run this shambles out of Scotland at next year’s general election and complete there demise by routing them at the Scottish Elections in 2016

To achieve this however takes not only fire and faith it also requires pragmatism. With this in mind I feel I have to express a note of caution to some of my fellow yes campaigners and it is this just as we know the revolution will not be televised we also know that to win the country we deserve we need not just to gather with the family to give the unionists a sunday roasting we also need to go to the darkest and most uncomfortable places and search the bunkers of the minds of those who voted no especially those genuine Labour voters who still believe that they can achieve socialism as part of the UK. We have to go there and go there as often as we need to until in that darkness we find a torch or a light that switches them to yes. We need to talk to them and convince them that the country they want is the country we want. To fail by letting the subject drop or because it might be a very tough challenge and seem like too much like hard work would and I make no apologies for saying this be a shameful dereliction of duty for which both we and our country would pay the heaviest possible price. I believe our country and our people deserve far better than that and I believe we can and will win the future not only for ourselves but also for many generations to come. Let us resolve to make sure that Saltaire Sunday was as it says in the beautifully poignant anthem Hope Over Fear only the start. The start of the road to the better Scotland where bairns come before bombs and principals not prejudice will be the light which guides our land.

Love And Best Wishes
Gayle X

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