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Wings Over Scotland

Stepping out of the confession booth

Posted on February 26, 2013 by

For a long time if felt like a dirty secret. It’s how we’ve been conditioned. It was simply something that you just didn’t speak about, because most people around you would look down on you if they knew.


Those feelings are something that many who believe in an independent Scotland have encountered at some point in our lives. Up until recently I very much felt that way, and to this day I’m still wary of mentioning my Scottish independence yearning in some circles. But times are changing.

To be fair, most of us born in or around the island of Great Britain probably have a socially-conditioned reflex to Not Talk About Politics in general. That’s something that those of us who favour independence are simply going to have to get over, in order to win the 2014 referendum. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Back to that guilty secret.

My own shameful belief in self-determination was born in the dark decade that was ruled by a certain ‘iron lady’. As a child in the 1980s I wasn’t fully conscious of the world around me, yet it had an enormous impact. I grew up in a single-parent family, in a council house, under Thatcher. That combination of circumstances left indelible marks which reveal themselves in adulthood as a deep leaning towards what, apparently, is now called “social democracy”.

I’m led to believe it’s a common leaning in Scotland. The Thatcher period – perhaps not coincidentally – also gave rise to a feeling that England is quite different from Scotland, that what England wants is often not what Scotland wants, and yet Scotland has little choice but to like it or lump it.

The first time I really became aware of our lumps was when I saw a (probably) surprised grey man in a grey suit elected to continue in Thatcher’s footsteps. The palpable divorce between what Westminster was doing and what was in Scotland’s best interests only grew. By the mid-90s, I had acquired a viewpoint that aligned roughly with that of the Green Party. With the return of the Scottish Parliament and its semi-proportional representation, for the first time in my life I was able to vote for a party that I broadly agreed with. Here was progress. I even joined up.

The Greens, even back then, were advocating independence for Scotland and it was the first time I properly considered the viability of such an idea. Previous to this, the idea of independence, as far as I was aware, belonged solely to that tired old drum-beating group of mismatched separatists, the Scottish National Party, and their endless talk of ‘our oil’. No one I knew took them seriously. They were a joke party that occasionally somehow landed a seat at Westminster.

With the return of our parliament, the SNP were no longer quite the joke they had been portrayed as. Still, as someone who grew up in a Labour-dominated area, I was suspicious of them. The Green Party, however, I could get behind and if they thought independence was good, then maybe I could give it some serious thought.

Sometimes with distance comes perspective. In 2005-2006 I spent nine months living on the south coast of England. I was listening to a lot of Radio 4 then and throughout that whole time I heard Scotland mentioned on the six o’clock news only twice – once in an item about a proposed smoking ban in England (Scotland’s having been introduced a few months earlier) and the other time in a laugh-at-the-foreigners moment at the end of a broadcast, when we got to hear about how some deer had wandered onto the A9 and the road had to be closed.

The impression I gained wasn’t so much that Scotland was being dismissed or put down, but rather that Scotland wasn’t even worth mentioning. It was an afterthought, or simply a joke.

When I moved back to Scotland, I thought again and the more I thought and the more I read, the more independence seemed the best solution for Scotland. As a kid and then a young adult, an independent Scotland was no more than an occasional daydream, brought on by fits of romanticising the past. Now, as an adult with full and clear powers of reasoning, and with a care for both how people and the planet are treated, the idea of independence became a concrete belief.

When the SNP won the 2007 election, I saw the beginning of a chance to rid ourselves of a distant and uncaring rule. By 2012, a second SNP government established the right to carry out a straightforward yes or no referendum on independence. In a fair world, most of us who want independence could relax at this point and let the politicians put forward their cases and let the question be asked.

Sadly, we do not live in a fair world. It has become clear to me that, as I follow the independence debate, both sides are not being given an equal opportunity to put forward their cases. Even that self-declared bastion of impartiality, the BBC, recently noted “…we are not in an official referendum campaign and therefore do not have to balance it out between yes and no”.

On top of this, we witness British nationalist politicians and their supporters wasting no opportunity to personally insult Scotland’s First Minister or attack its government. January saw Scottish Labour MPs claim in a debate in the House of Commons that the Scottish Parliament was “not a democratic place” and that it was a “dictatorship”. Astonishingly, the claims went unchallenged and uncensured.

This suggests that the British establishment, in its various forms, is attempting as it did in 1979 to snuff out Scotland’s aspirations. Clearly those of us who share those aspirations cannot sit back and merely hope that our viewpoint will prevail. If we want to see a social democratic Scotland, then we’re all going to have to do something to help it come about.

I’ve been trying to do my part since hearing Margo McDonald speak last September and it’s not always easy – I’m no great debater and have a better way with the written word than the spoken. So while I’m still trying to encourage three people to vote yes (two of whom I’m pretty sure I’ve persuaded), I put other skills to use too, as well as placing as much positive information in my social media feeds as seems sensible.

Fear of change is one of the biggest obstacles we face in our task. While the Yes campaign has been doing its bit to make the change to independence seem relatively unobtrusive, the No campaign has equally been doing its utmost to stoke fears about each and every aspect of independence that it can. (Not least by calling it ‘separation’, a term so loaded that even the House of Commons rejected it as too biased.)

It’s fallen to our generation to have the job of allaying those fears. We need to put aside our impulse to Not Talk About Politics and start having conversations, with our families, our friends, our colleagues and with anyone who might be open to listening (and maybe even some of those who are not). We need to find out what fears are stopping people from seeking control of their own affairs and, with a little preparation or investigation, address them.

It takes time and patience. We must make a case that is uniformly opposed by our mass media, and that can be hard for a lot of people to accept. However there is clear evidence that among those who don’t get their news from mainstream media outlets, the tide is turning. It’s time to admit that Scottish independence is no dirty secret.

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45 to “Stepping out of the confession booth”

  1. heraldnomore says:

    Keep talking Stewart and keep writing.  First Class.

  2. cadgers says:

    Thank you Stewart, I enjoyed that.

  3. turnip_ghost says:

    Thoroughly enjoyed that! I am a similar position except that I didn’t see the light until after the 2007 election when, after the election of the first SNP government, I thought I’d better read up on what they were proposing. Over the space of a year my views changed and now I realise that a YES vote is the only way.

    I’ve noticed a change in the way people are talking about politics. A fair number of my friends who would NEVER talk about politics before are now engaging with it and,  thanks to the internet and sites such as these, aren’t relying on the bias of the mainstream media. Hopefully you’ll continue to convince others! Just remember the simple maths…If every single person who believes in a yes vote convinces ONE other person…we win!

  4. scottish_skier says:

    It’s time to admit that Scottish independence is no dirty secret.

    Shy Tory factor discussed here.

    Shy independence factor reflected here:

    Since May 2011 (averages):
    Face to Face polls = 31% Y
    Telephone polls = 35% Y
    Online polls = 40% Y

    The greater degree of anonymity, the higher the Y responses. 
    This is normal when the press/state tries to tell you a particular political viewpoint is very wrong to hold.

    See the person that says ‘Independence? Och, well, I mean it sounds nice and that, but..‘ Will vote yes.

    Only the person that says ‘Definitely no. I’m positive about that. I think its a very bad idea‘ can be relied upon to vote No. That’s about 30% of the electorate.

  5. Scott Minto (Aka Sneekyboy) says:

    Loving your Graphic skills on your blog.
    I am often asked for simplified graphical representations of my articles here on WoS but alas its a skill I lack.
    If you ever want to have a go then drop the rev a line. You also have me on Twitter.

  6. Matt says:

    Great article Stewart!

  7. scaredy cat. says:

    I am mostly sharing stuff via facebook. Not sure anyone reads it or takes much notice though.

  8. Macart says:

    Bit of a wall flower myself when it comes to politics. Fact is before the SNP came to power in 2007 I gave all politics a body swerve. I see and still see all Westminster parties as careerist troughers who wouldn’t know the truth or a genuine set of ethics if it jumped up and bit them in the arse.
    I had basically given up on ever seeing Scottish politicians standing up for a Scottish electorate.
    Up until last year I still hadn’t joined any party and had no interest in doing so, then came Dave’s visit and in a heartbeat I made up my mind to become a member of the SNP. I had listened to enough media and political bullshit from ‘our betters’ it was about time to get busy. As soon as this referendum is done I fully intend to hang up my political spurs and my membership, but whilst it is ongoing I will give the SNP my paltry subscription, WoS and NNS whatever I can spare from a single wage household and in my professional capacity provide the YES campaign and any independence aligned party with whatever quality printed material comes my way. Also whilst I’m able to move my fingers and use my voice I’ll be on as many sites or talking to many people as I can trying to make a case for an independent Scotland.
    We are not too small, we are not too poor and we are sick and tired of being taken for too stupid.

  9. cath says:

    Great article. And Macart, snap! Sums up my journey word for word, right down to Cameron talking me into joining the SNP after being apolitical for years.
    Oddly, I’ve had quite a number of those “I’d really love independence but…” conversations. But I also had a bizarre one where someone sounded like a typical unionist and I couldn’t get away from him ranting about how crap Scotland is, and how we’re subsidised etc and it would be really bad for us. Eventually, as I was walking away he said, “of course, I’ll be voting Yes anyway”.

  10. Geoff Huijer says:

    Good article.
    I concur with the bit about living in England – Scotland is so insignificant down there it is barely mentioned.
    I lived in England for 15 years & thoroughly enjoyed it with the exception of my feeling of being a third or fourth class citizen. In my local WH Smith I could buy newspapers from France, USA, Spain, Asian audience papers, Black audience papers, Italy, and a plethora of other countries; no Scottish paper.
    Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Asda etc stocked Scottish beef, whisky and…er..that was about it.
    Working at Guinness at Park Royal we were given time off to watch England World Cup football games; a concession not given to any other nationality (We hadn’t qualified of course).
    I even watched an interview with David Cameron on the ITN News discussing the possibility of Gordon Brown taking over from Blair and how there were already ‘too many Scots’ in Government. My English wife eventually realised that my attitude was not just a ‘chip on the shoulder’ and that Britain effectively meant England.

  11. hector says:

    Like the article Stewart.(much better than your football analyses on twitter:).i often find when talking to people re independence  Alex Salmond is compared to being big headed/arrogant.much of this may be down media presentation.i sometimes think good leadership in Scotland is appreciated more in our footballers.

  12. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “In my local WH Smith I could buy newspapers from France, USA, Spain, Asian audience papers, Black audience papers, Italy, and a plethora of other countries; no Scottish paper.”

    Yep, that’s how it is here too. There’s one small newsagent in a city of 80,000 where you can usually get a Sunday Post and Sunday Mail, but that’s it, and usually nothing on weekdays. The rest of the world is much better represented.

  13. kininvie says:

    @cath We’re a strange people, no? We either talk ourselves up, or we talk ourselves down, and quite often we do the opposite of what we say out of thrawn hopefulness. It’s like following Scottish teams – we say we’re crap, that we’ll lose, but we still sometimes travel hundreds of miles in the hope we’re wrong. I think your ‘typical unionist’ who will nevertheless vote yes may not be that rare a creature.

  14. Macart says:

    @ Cath
    Yep, had one or two of those conversations myself. They sound almost confused, hurt and then angry by turn. Of more note are the actual conversions online or at work, they are living proof of Scottish_skiers hypothesis. The soft no or undecided are becoming less soft and far more polarised the further away from year of team GB we get. Austerity Reality Syndrome (ARSe for short) is setting in and conversations which used to go along the lines of, as you say, ‘well it would be great but….’ are now firming along the lines of ‘what have we got to lose?’

  15. Doug Daniel says:

    Yep, it took me a long time to feel comfortable admitting my nationalist inclinations in public. Even now, it’s not something I like to just announce in a group of people. Partly because you know some of them at least will think “oops, someone’s watched Braveheart a few too many times…”, but also because I know from experience that there’ll be at least one unionist who will react as if you just told them you’ve kidnapped their family and locked them in a cellar.
    But the journey we’ve taken – from the SNP getting elected in 2007 onwards – has made it more acceptable to be in favour of independence. And that’s why the length of the referendum campaign is important, because it normalises the idea for people.
    And as we all know, once someone opens their eyes to independence, they can never be shut again.

  16. Hetty says:

    I have a tory neighbour, who used to relish any discussion about politics when G Brown, ie Labour, were in power, now this tory refuses to talk politics at all, she can no longer speak with pure hatred in her voice even though her ‘savings’ are not in a much better state than they were 3 years ago! Yes and is terrified the ‘value of her house will vastly reduce’ if it’s yes vote!
    I have friends who are just not engaged at all in this incredibly crucial decision, so it’s an uphill struggle, especially with the tradional Labour voters. People really do need to get the info out there and persuade their friends and family (wasted enrgy on the tory neighbour) and others to start to inform themselves of the facts, and to stop listening just to the totally biased mass media and think for themselves. I think I have encouraged at least one wavering unsure prob would vote ‘no’ friend, to arm herself with the facts and so pass on the info/facts to others. Her work colleagues apparently just make fun of our first minister, but I bet they like having free prescriptions, bus passes and no tution fees for their kids and grandkids…
    Lots to do, how are we to get this info out further though? There’s a huge amount of hypocracy among the very comfortable off thank you very much!

  17. Morag says:

    Hmmmm, house prices.  As it happens, I live in a very nice house in a very nice village in beautiful countryside, about 18 miles out of Edinburgh.  It’s pretty popular for people in good jobs in Edinburgh who want the country life for their families.  It’s not why I’ll be voting Yes of course, but it has occurred to me that when Edinburgh is an international capital city, it might not do the value of my timber-framed harled-and-painted one-and-a-half-storey des res any harm at all.

  18. Barontorc says:

    If you are a socially mixing type of person, someone who would normally be listened to and engaged in conversation, but utter – ‘independence is good – union is bad’, you, of course then polarise the whole scenario, but that doesn’t mean they’ve stopped listening.

    The biggest blunder, of the many made by the unionist camp, was to drop the third question, leaving any support with choosing the status-quo, or independence.

    Nobody in Scotland with any nuance will opt for continuing the status-quo, hence the devo-whatever panic that’s erupting.

    Committed NO-ists will not change, which is reckoned to be less than 30% of the vote. The 70% left will go for change and as each day dawns bringing more and more monumental gaffs from this blasted Union, committed YES-ers grow ever upwards.

    I predict there will be wholesale offers and promises coming from hapless UK Labour – cosy UK Tories will sit back and watch the charade, knowing not only will these promises be disgracefully worthless and unachievable, but socialist Labour is totally finished, a reputation in tatters and a myriad of followers abandoned.

    What will be stomach-churning will be watching Westminster Labour Lackies slithering their way back up the M74 to get into another trough somewhere, anywhere, in Scotland.

    What’s the betting, YES will be 70%+ with a higher than expected turnout.

  19. cath says:

    ” Scotland is so insignificant down there it is barely mentioned”
    Which is why it’s so strange when, as soon as independence is mentioned, suddenly there’s shrieking, howling at the moon and “what do you mean you want to break Britain and rob me of my identity” rubbish. What is so threatening to people living in England about Holyrood taking decisions about what happens in Scotland? If they don’t give Scotland a second thought any other time, why over that?

  20. tartanfever says:

    Nice article Rev Stu.
    Personally I’ve never had an issue telling anyone who asked my political leanings – why should you ? As long as your thinking is reasonable, you fears are valid, and your hopes realistic then you can hardly be labelled a nutter.
    Hell, there’s plenty of unionists out there who are perfectly reasonable, who go through the same thought processes as me and come up with a different answer. Thats fair enough. 
    The bams who really shout and name call ultimately are just making fools of themselves, and most people realise that, you’re never going to persuade them to change their minds, so why bother ?
    If anyone asks me about independence I do my best to give them reasoned arguments why I support it, I also throw in a few points of which I feel uncertain – I do my level best to make it a conversation is what I’m saying. I think thats the most successful approach. 
    And what I always remember is that for every 5 unionists I speak to, 4 will not agree with me point blank but one will be up for a discussion and I can get them thinking about their choice. Thats all I have to do, persuade one non-independence voter to change their mind and thats the vote won.

  21. Dcanmore says:

    Thanks for the article Stewart. I’ve been a supporter of independence since I was 14 (1983), didn’t get to vote in 1987 as I was three months short of my 18th birthday (pissed off at that). I would say I became passionate about independence at 16 when I started having conversations with my mates about it. My constituency was never Labour dominated, in fact only since Blair’s boundary changes did we get a Labour MP. So between 1970 and 2006 we had three Conservative and two SNP MPs with Labour traditionally a distant third place.
    My feelings for independence was purely natural, I didn’t know until the GE 1987 who my parents they voted for. To my surprise they said SNP when I asked them, but they were quiet about it, and they had been quietly voting SNP since 1974. I say a ‘surprise’ because my grandparents were staunch unionists and my father was in the army for 15 years then with the MoD for another 20 years before retiring. But he always said that Scotland was self-sustainable and should be. Both my parents are gone now but they were happy to see a new Scottish Parliament resume in Edinburgh (they voted Yes Yes as I did) and my father predicted that Scotland would be independent within 20 years, that was in 1999 shortly before he passed away. In 2014 that is a prediction that willcome true!

  22. Dcanmore says:

    Thanks for the article Stewart. I’ve been a supporter of independence since I was 14 (1983), didn’t get to vote in 1987 as I was three months short of my 18th birthday (pissed off at that). I would say I became passionate about independence at 16 when I started having conversations with my mates about it. My constituency was never Labour dominated, in fact only since Blair’s boundary changes did we get a Labour MP. So between 1970 and 2006 we had three Conservative and two SNP MPs with Labour traditionally a distant third place.
    My feelings for independence was purely natural, I didn’t know until the GE 1987 who my parents they voted for. To my surprise they said SNP when I asked them, but they were quiet about it, and they had been quietly voting SNP since 1974. I say a ‘surprise’ because my grandparents were staunch unionists and my father was in the army for 15 years then with the MoD for another 20 years before retiring. But he always said that Scotland was self-sustainable and should be. Both my parents are gone now but they were happy to see a new Scottish Parliament resume in Edinburgh (they voted Yes Yes as I did) and my father predicted that Scotland would be independent within 20 years, that was in 1999 shortly before he passed away. In 2014 that is a prediction that will come true!

  23. Dcanmore says:

    @Rev Stu
    I’ve double posted, could you delete my first one @1.53pm … thanks!

  24. Luigi says:

    Excellent contribution, Stewart – and timely. Do not worry about being a a great debater or highly persuasive. The main job we all have to do at this stage is just let it be known that we support independence. People need to know, now, that many nice, ordinary folk support independence already. Avoid trying to ram it down people’s throats, but never shy away if challenged. Take a nice but firm stance. Even if you feel the “debate” did not go well, don’t fret over it – just put it down to experience – with more practice you will get better at it. Keep it simple, stick to the basics – NHS, trident, NATO, Europe, AAA credit rating etc  – it’s already weighed heavily in our favour. Because of this, the onus is actually on the no side to dispute these and they can only do so by constructing ever so elaborate and ridiculous reasons for not voting yes in 2014. For those not ready yet for debate, just politely let it be know that you support independence. Believe me, that alone can have a massive knock on effect. To know that a nice person you perhaps admire or respect has this view could well be the spark that encourages someone to investigate the issue themselves, and it doesn’t require much digging to reveal the truth. We are at the stage now that soft no voters are beginning to question the issues, and these people desperately want to know who supportsindependence and why. The seeds of doubt have been sown. Our job is not to convert, it is to sow seeds. Scotland may reap. We just have to admit to people that we support independence. I understand it is difficult – I find it particularly difficult with English friedns and colleagues, but I shouldn’t because some are actually more sympathetic to our cause than those of us “wtih no imagination”! Some people will be offended, but if we are more concerned about that, then we will not win. Time to stand up and be counted – for Scotland.

  25. Jiggsbro says:

    I have a confession of my own: I am an enemy of democracy. I’m a member of a political party whose Stalinesque leader commands an antidemocratic government in an antidemocratic parliament. This is a leader and a party so antithetical to democracy that they wish to ask the people – the people! – what they want for the future of their country.  Fortunately, the country can rely on the instruments of an open democracy – a free press and an impartial broadcaster – to tell them why they should remain part of a genuine democracy, with politicians who truly serve the interests of the corporations who are the bedrock of society, safe in the knowledge that the richest and most well-connected have been selected to make their country fairer by ensuring that the wealth goes to those who have shown that they like it. Remember, true democracy means doing what the people want. You just need to ask the right people.

  26. Swello says:

    I was interested to read Eddi Reader’s little “coming out” statement as something she said mirrored my own experience. The thing that “converted” me was actually the treatment that Gordon Brown got when he was PM. I didn’t/don’t have a lot of time for Brown as a politician, but the casual and sometimes vitriolic anti-scottish stuff that was written above the line in the English-based media (the less said about the comments BTL the better) and the idea that having a Scotsman as PM was somehow “wrong” hardened my attitude completely. It drove me to research things regarding independence myself and once you look at the evidence rationally, it’s difficult not to be convinced.

  27. Rabb says:

    My upbringing was in a staunch Labour home. The old man was a steelworker and trade union member.
    I voted Labour right up until 2011 when I realised (all be it a bit late) that the Labour party were no better than the tories in both policy & attitude.
    As a protest I voted SNP in 2011 as they were the only party of any credible size that showed a leaning to the left. I was, however, still firmly in the unionist camp.

    My eureka moment came last year after the Yes launch where i decided to get off my arse and actually research this indy lark. Boy was I shocked at the depths to which Scotland has been plundered over the years by Westminster.
    I am now 100% behind independence and have absolutely no quams about who knows it. I bring the subject up every time there is more than one person in the room 🙂

    I have even raised with English colleagues down south.
    It is actually quite liberating, you should all try it 🙂

  28. meljomur says:

    Another great piece, which I really needed today.
    I have been feeling a bit low about the whole indy debate lately. (Not helped by reading a rather ridiculous and inaccurate article about the ‘audacity of Scottish independence’ in the FT- of all places).  Somedays I just grow tired of having to argue for independence. To me, it is just so obvious. You want a better, fairer nation to live in, which reflects the views and principles of the people of Scotland, than vote YES in Autumn 2014. Why is that such a difficult concept to convince people of?
    As far as the embarrassment about being pro-independence, I slightly understand this (but only from knowing my husband’s Scottish roots).  His parents are from Lewis.  They have always had this idea that somehow it’s not proper to be too proud or confident or successful (as this behavior is being too showy). I don’t know if the younger generation from this region are still like this, but it’s an attitude that must certainly manifest itself into politics and the idea of self determination.
    I guess there are also the diehard SLAB supporters who seem to be terrified about the idea of an independent Scotland. I am more baffled by these people in many ways. I mean Labour’s support (like the Tories in the past) is slipping in Scotland. I believe this is largely due to their allegiance first to Westminster, second to Scotland.  Seems to me this would change with independence.  So why the hesitation??  Anyone?
    The status quo? What does that even mean any longer? Who honestly believes in the event of a NO vote that we will still have all the same benefits here in Scotland?  For one thing there is the Barnett formula, which can be changed at will by the government in Westminster.  If we here in Scotland begin to receive less “allowance” (regardless of the fact that most of that money comes from Scotland) then how will we continue to pay for welfare, or healthcare or education?  
    So while I do appreciate this site, these articles, and “chatting” with like minded folk, I’m tired and somewhat dispirited that so many people in this country fail to see that voting NO is pretty much a suicide pact.
    (Sorry to be Debbie Downer today, I have a cold and am feeling a bit fragile)

  29. kininvie says:

    O/T Sorry for the plug, but there’s a YesWestLothian meeting tonight, 7.30 pm, Forestbank Community Centre, Ladywell, Livingston – where I hope we will be talking through many of the issues raised on this thread. So, anyone in the area who wants to join in…please come along if you can

  30. Katy Scott says:

    I was fortunate to be brought up in a family which thought Scotland should make its own decisions so now, as a pensioner, I can look back over years when I have tried to make that point in company.  Mostly people smiled kindly, looked at their feet and obviously thought “here she goes again”.  I liked Stewart’s article very much.  It demonstrates how brilliantly many of the Scottish public have been conditioned to unquestioningly accept British rule.  The saddest political article I have ever read was Ian McWhirter’s piece in The Herald where he describes taking his son to The Stand comedy club.  Can you imagine this happening in any country other than Scotland?
    We have to fight on and stay positive.  It’s good that we are at this stage.

  31. Craig P says:

    A good article Stewart, it is great to see testimonies like yourself and Cath’s, the more we see of these from different perspectives, the more likely someone starting on the same road will see something that resonates with them and helps them further along towards a yes vote. 
    I have had conversations with people where they genuinely see the SNP as a dangerous bunch of anglophobic fascists. Their reaction when I quietly tell them I intend to vote Yes is hilarious. It normalises the concept for these people to see normal, undemonstrative people they like and trust coming out for yes in a matter of fact and fuss-free way.

  32. Craig P says:

    Just want to reiterate a point I made in an earlier thread. There is something that advertising executives will tell you is sales gold, something a company can’t buy. Word of mouth recommendation. It is even more powerful than TV. Imagine that, (and I want you to pause to take in the significance of this), you have more influence in your immediate circle than the BBC! So the more people talk about voting yes, the more other people are going to be persuaded, whatever else the media says.  

  33. Davy says:

    Maybe as I get older I become more thrawn and more unlikely to back down from any unionist attack on independence for Scotland, and maybe a lot of it is because myself and many others now have the internet and sites like these to get our information from rather than just the MSM tripe.

    Perhaps I no longer will stand for being classified as a second class citizen of my own country, where people elected in another nation can tell me and my fellow countrymen what taxes we will pay and how much we will recieve from them.

    I have the most important and best title that a man can have in this world, “Dad”, and with this title comes many responsibilites. And ensuring that my son will live in a country that is better than the one I grew up in is one of them, I want him to have a country that can look anyone straight in the eye, and shake their hand on an equal footing.

    My son and his generation have the right to expect their dads & mums and all of their generation to provide the step up to a better future for them. That future is never going to be under a selfcentred london base’d union, the McCrone report proves that.

    The way forward for Scotland is Independence, fight for it with everything you have, “DON’T HOLD BACK” the unionist’s won’t.

    The prize is independence, and the right to our future and our childrens and grandchildrens future. That is worth everything, “DON’T HOLD BACK”.
    Vote Yes, Vote for a future.
    Hail Alba Gu snooker loopy!.     

  34. cirsium says:

    Austerity Reality Syndrome (ARSe for short)
    nice one Macart!

  35. cath says:

    “Perhaps I no longer will stand for being classified as a second class citizen of my own country, where people elected in another nation can tell me and my fellow countrymen what taxes we will pay and how much we will recieve from them.”
    I think this is an important point. So many of us have now moved so far from where we were in terms of how we see ourselves and our country that there can be no going back.
    It was only last year I moved from the more comfortable devo-max/federalism position but now I have, and have learned so much that has made me angry. But also my perception has shifted so far to a point where not being independent seems weird and utterly wrong.
    I used to say if we didn’t get a Yes vote I’d stop fighting, and leave it to those who voted no to try and get more powers out of Westminster, or just live with what they’d voted for. I don’t think that would be remotely possible anymore. I’d either be leaving the country or fighting like for a huge amount more powers if we get a no now.

  36. Ron says:

    We weren’t able to have kids.
    I’m voting for your boy too.

  37. muttley79 says:

    I would not be to disheartened.  We were simply never supposed to get this far.  There were good reasons why unionists did everything they could to stop us from having an independence referendum.  They are aware that they cannot give their positive reason for the union.  This is because it is based on their own self-advancement, and having a career in London.  This is the great unspoken in the unionists viewpoint.  The MSM have also played a major role in conditioning the people of Scotland to see the union as a normal state of affairs.  With newspapers sales declining more and more people can see the bias that has been there in the reporting of Scottish politics since the real breakthrough of the SNP in the 1960s.  With the referendum on independence looming more and more people in Scotland will be thinking about the status of the nation.  The unionists do not want people here to think of Scotland’s constitutional status as it becoming more and more clear what an unequal relationship it is between Scotland and England. 

  38. kininvie says:

    Whenever I get a bit down about it all, I go and look at this for inspiration:

    OK, they’ve got sunshine and stuff….

  39. Macart says:

    @ Cirsium
    Rolls off the tongue. 😀

  40. Braco says:

    we pull this off for him and future generations, they will be at our backs when the time comes (as it surely is coming). A social compact that binds the generations, as always intended, instead of setting age against age for simple short term (intergenerational) personal profit.
    Vote YES in 2014!

  41. Jon says:

    Great article, I myself feel exactly like this. I grew up in the eighties we lived in a council house to only for thatcher to let my parents buy the house then hit them with a 15.9 % mortgage rate later that year, there mortgage tripled and we all suffered because of it. There was not enough books at school and again we all suffered because of it. There was no help into further education after school and my parents were now to skint to help us again we all suffered for it , so off we all go to earn 35 quid a week as a yopper to make sure we were not a statistic on the employment figure and what happens after two years we get paid of for the next yopper to come along and again we all suffer and to top it all off some of us scots now have a huge poll tax bill hanging over our heads cos we were only earning 35 a week and couldn’t pay the poll tax. We mean nothing to Westminster just a cash cow that keeps on rolling over time to stop rolling over and vote yes in 2014 

  42. cheryl says:

    Really great article.

    I come from a family which never really spoke about politics, and at the tail end of the 80s and very early 90s lived in  poverty.  We had a roof over our head (paid for us) but done things which would seem bizarre these days – collecting driftwood from by the river because we couldn’t pay the coal man, and cooking potatoes in the fire built with the driftwood, regularly didn’t have electricity.  One year we didn’t have a Christmas tree we were so broke and my dad drew one on the living room wall – thankfully he was a pretty talented artist, so it wasn’t a tree drawn in biro as I always suspect people imagine!

    Anyway the point is that, even thought nobody spoke about politics or the reason we were living as we were, I obviously picked up enough about what had gone before because I know that even at that age I supported independence, before I knew anything about politics really.  It was just an instinctive ‘this is wrong’ feeling about the situation.  Now I have the reasoning to back the feeling.

    My husband and I hugely support independence, as do all my side of the family (even my brother, who lives in England and I’m sure is becoming more ‘English country gentleman’ by the day.  Trying to get him to move home in time for 2014 and get registered to vote!).  I’m a bit wary however of raising the subject with my husband’s side of the family, two of whom have mentioned before that Thatcher was a role model for women.  My eyes near popped out my head at that.

    So as it stands I have no idea how my in-laws are thinking and don’t know how to broach it!

  43. scottish_skier says:

    When I was 9 my family was forced to ‘get on their bike’ and move from the Highlands to the central belt to seek work. My father was a civil engineer who had previously worked on large infrastructure projects such as the A9. However, this was 1985 and Scotland’s economy was being decimated, ergo nothing was being built any more. There was lots of money flowing from the North Sea, but this was all going to London and the SE of course.

    Anyhoo, I was not best pleased at having to give up my home, friends, close family etc and over the following years, I took a little to learning why this had been necessary. At the same time, I was increasingly aware of the damage the UK government were doing, both from the news, and from simply looking around me.

    By the time I went to university in 1994 at the age of 17 I had already decided the British flag = bad news, as personified by the woman with the handbag standing in front of it. While she had recently departed, her legacy was obvious. I was also studying geology so had stared to learn all about the wealth of Scotland’s waters and knew fine well there was not ‘just 10 years left’. As the 1997 general election approached I found myself with my first decision as to what to vote. So, I did my reading/thinking and felt I was definitely of centre-left leanings and certainly socially very liberal. This left me with the choice of the SNP and the Liberal Democrats. I ruled out the later when I discovered that they had not supported independence as an option in terms of the constitutional commission; this for me was not democratic.

    While I would not say I was massively pro-independence at the time, I felt I should be given the choice. So, I voted for Scotland’s other yellow flag waving liberal democratic party – the one that was democratic and advocated the Scottish people should have all options put to them – the SNP. Having never been told by my parents what they voted, suffice to say they were rather pleased when I finally announced this. I did consider a tactical vote for Labour, but then felt that we should always vote for what we want, not tactically. So SNP it was and Yes-Yes.

    I have voted in every election since then, and always for the SNP. Although I have previously given Margo MacDonald my second vote when I lived in the Lothian region. I would do so again if given the opportunity. Maybe the Greens might yet tempt me too.

    At the start of devolution I had high hopes (forgive me, I was still somewhat naïve) for this moving things increasingly to some sort of federal/confederal modern UK, so I was not overly desperate for independence (after all, Scotland had a parliament, the Tories were gone and economically things looked good). As time passed, it became clear to me that this was never going to happen; the UK establishment was instead actively working against this. I guess it was 2007 when the Liberals refused to into coalition with the other liberals (SNP) / support a referendum with a second question that I decided I had no respect for any UK party and thus independence was what I would support completely.

    I have never looked back.

  44. Thanks everyone for the positive response. I wasn’t able to get online to comment until now, which is why they are all in one big lump.

    You make a good point. Shyness is as much to blame as Not Talking About Politics.

    @Scott Minto
    Thanks. Simplified graphical representations is my middle name. I’ll drop you a line.

    @scaredy cat
    A lot of what I do is sharing on facebook and twitter. It’s an easy way to share information and can help to spread the message. The more we do it, the more the idea of independence becomes normalised. I’ve been making a series of graphics for this very purpose – you can find them by clicking on my name above.

    @Geoff Huijer
    The treatment of Gordon Brown by the UK press was another factor that led me to where I am today. I do not like Brown or most of his policies, even so witnessing the press constantly using his Scottishness negatively really got my back up.

    Football? I think you might be mixing me up with someone else.

    Encouraging default-unionist friends and family to look beyond the media story is one of the best ways to begin. It might be more effective to try the softly softly approach, rather than trying to actively ‘convert’ people. The latter approach, being more confrontational, could cause an entrenchment on the accepted status quo position.

    I agree that simply being able to state your support for independence is really important. The more of us that do it, the more it normalises the concept and, as you note, allows for others to begin their explorations, which means none of us should ever need to ‘convert’ waverers.

    Thanks for sharing your story. The more people we can encourage to similarly explore the benefits of independence the better.

    I was feeling similarly discouraged last week, when I made the mistake of reading below the line on a Scotsman story (the first time I’d been on their site in over a year). This piece came partly as a means of fighting that feeling by doing something positive.

    Your points about the status quo are good ones. However, I don’t think we can assume that everyone realises that it us under such threat in the event of a no vote. Which is why we need to have our conversations and make encouragements. All positive actions!

    @Craig P
    I hope that we are at the point where the more of us that stand up and declare we support independence, the more other people will be encouraged to follow us. Normalisation is exactly what we have to achieve.

    …there can be no going back.
    Exactly. Every time I read another scare story, the firmer my desire for independence becomes. Because of this, I think our number can only ever grow and the recent IpsosMORI poll seems to support that view. Still, we can’t get complacent.

    I guess there could well be almost an entire generation of Scots who grew up as we did with that ‘this is wrong’ feeling. I hope we can reach them all in time. Good luck with the in-laws, that sounds tricky!

    I remember at the time thinking devolution was a good way to test the waters.

    For those of you who want other ways than talking to encourage normalisation, I’ve been making a series of web graphics and downloadable posters, which you can find by clicking on my name above. I hope you’ll find something there to share!

  45. AnneDon says:

    Interesting comments, from all of you, talking about your movement towards independence. As a non-SNP member, I often find myself defending the Party simply because of all the virtiol thrown at them.
    I would disagree with some of you on one point, though. A ‘No’ voter at the moment is simply a future ‘Don’t Know’, in my opinion. I was leafletting at Murrayfield on Sunday morning. One old lady insisted she would vote no. When asked why, she just walked away, saying she would vote NO. 
    They can’t justify it, and if they are willing to think about it, doubts will set in.  In the long term, Thatcherism destoyed the Labour Party by moving it so far to the right.  However, that has made many socialists and social democrats think about why they vote for the parties they vote for, and nothing that happens in the House of Commons will reassure them!
    Although our leafletting at Murrayfield wasn’t entirely successful, I think that being visible with our Yes Banner ‘normalises’ the campaign. Several people took photos of us (and it was the banner – we’re no’ bonny!) And one guy who had been trying to get active approached us and is signed onto the campaign!
    One at a time, we’ll get there!

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