Saturday, 11 October 2014

A letter from America : there's aye hope

I wrote this blog about 24 hours after the results of the Scottish Independence referendum had been announced. I couldn't post the blog then, my feelings were too extreme.  To say I was "gutted" about the result doesn't express the half of it. I've severely edited what I originally wrote because it may have upset some people, but here is what is left of it. The extreme passions my words imply have assuaged but I will not lose touch with my underlying desire and belief. 

A friend who for a while has been living out in Chicago, Illinois, recently sent me an email saying that she was surprised to find how many citizens of the Land of the Free thought that Scotland was already an independent country. If only it were so. It was because Scots people were not free on the land that they worked and which should have been theirs that so many of them were forced to leave for  North America in the first place.

The railtrack from Miami to Canada : New Orleans to Chicago

And now that Scotland has had its referendum and the majority have voted for Scotland, a) to remain in the union, b) to support nuclear warfare, c) to take part in the bombing, killing and terrorising of innocent families in the middle east, knowing full well that there is no likelihood that they will ever be in a position to send aeroplanes and troops to bomb and slay us, d) to allow its national health service to be privatised so that poor people can't afford it, e) to accept that the working conditions ordinary trade unionists have struggled over 100 years for are now turned in a period of less than five years into zero hour contracts and fake jobs, where do we go from here ?

I may have been reeled dizzy by the result of the referendum, but in the occasional instant of stillness  I am left to wonder what the result might have been if the referendum had been a fair contest. For instance how would things have turned out if the BBC had fulfilled its responsibility to be neutral. I try - even if I fail  on some occasions -  not to make extreme judgments on anyone or anything in this blog but on this occasion moderate expression won't surface. I have trusted and relied upon the BBC a great deal for what it provides on the television screen, on the radio and on its website. I have particularly enjoyed its sports coverage on Radio 5 live but its reporting throughout the Scottish referendum campaign has left me distraught. During this time the BBC acted as Westminster's propaganda machine. As if the YES campaign had need of any other obstacles placed in its way, what with the continuous blasts of shelling from the howitzers of the entire British and Scottish mass media outlets (with the exception of the Sunday Herald) directed upon it. OK, to an extent we can accept that  privately owned mass media outlets, are free to peddle prejudice as if it were news,  but the BBC....  Oh! dearie me.  I do hope the BBC reflects upon its unfortunate and lamentable reporting of this the most important event in Scottish history for over 300 years and that it will now work hard to take the long steep climb back to what used to be its exceptional standards.

BBC public service broadcaster or Westminster propaganda machine ?

I'm too emotionally knackered to write at length about Gordon Brown strutting around like a goose shouting out that the Labour Party would never privatise the National Health Service when it was he and his predecessor Tony Blair who ushered in the the privatisation of the NHS. He has told us that we should believe the promises the three stooges from Westminster gave when they made their farcical appearance in Scotland a couple of days before the vote and vowed to give Scotland winning lottery tickets in perpetuity if it voted "No".  What's sad is that a part of the Scottish communal psyche was taken in by them !

Nevertheless it has been pleasing to hear that people from all over the world are congratulating the Scots for carrying out the referendum so peacefully. There have been a few skirmishes around the fringes but certainly when I was in Scotland over August I did not experience any worrying incidents even though the discreet yet visible badge I was proudly wearing had a clearly printed YES on it.

Since the result of the vote was announced many of my English friends and acquaintances have sympathised with me knowing that I had supported the defeated side. A number have said that they are pleased that Scotland has voted to remain within the union but, at the same time, they believe that the referendum is stirring up England. People in the regions of England are beginning to say, "We want more control of our communities".

Once I'd  got up from my bed on the morning of September 19th, I was elated to find that the people of the City of Dundee, the city where I was born, where. over centuries, courage, love,  imagination, hard work and creativity in the face of all kinds of adversity have always been the order of the day,  had voted more emphatically for independence than any other place in Scotland !

The vote in Dundee, as well as in those other regions which voted YES reminds me that there's aye hope.  Let's put right our sense of timing, let's not wait too long, let's not get things wrong : Lochaber again, Sutherland again, Skye again, Lewis once again, Bathgate once more, Irvine once more, Linwood once more and Methil just once more.

The Auld Steeple, a symbol of Dundee's courage and steadfastness

With acknowledgement and respect to The Proclaimers, A Letter from America, 1987. 

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