Shapes of Things to Come The road to Bled by Shooglenifty

The last few days I have read and heard some fairly harrowing reactions to the referendum result. People have been mulling over the make up of their country and many are questioning their own identity . This guy expresses his feelings better than I ever will.

I’ve been struggling to get my thoughts in order since Friday morning. A wee break up north gave me some thinking time and has, I hope, let me put some perspective on things. I thought that writing some stuff down might also help. That link to bellacaledonia probably most captures my overall mood though.

First of all, let me say how angry I am. Not at those who voted No, more at myself. All my life I’ve believed that Scotland was a nation, a country in some sort of “reluctant” union with England. Folk talk of “national” anthems, of the “national” press. We have sports teams, leagues and competitions because we are a separate country. We have a separate legislature, education system and now a form of devolved government. We have a strong culture of song, story and poetry made richer by a frequent focus on Scottish nationhood. I guess I had allowed myself a semantic misunderstanding, that folk who talked of a separate Scottish nation actually meant it the same way that I did.

In the run up to the referendum, I had also fallen into a social media trap. I’m sure we’ve all done it to an extent. We “like” or “follow” the commentators, groups and feeds that back up our view of the world. Thus, with 18th September approaching, it was all too easy to read all the messages of confirmation and to believe that we really were capable of re-establishing nationhood. TBH, for me that probably didn’t even have to result in too much change. A choice by the people of Scotland to assert their sovereignty could well have resulted in almost exactly the sort of union we currently have. The difference is that we would at least know it was of our choosing and that we could exit it without permission from some higher authority. This is, after all, the sort of union that already exists across the EU.

I do believe that the media played a major part in the result. I saw too much stuff first hand that was somehow downplayed or simply lied about to believe it was all unintentional. Of course, newspapers and independent sources don’t have to maintain balance but I really had expected better of the BBC. I guess I will never trust any of their reporting again.

I never really believed that 50%+1 was sufficient either. Even 55/45 the other way seems too close as a result. Looking at independence movements in other countries, I’d have hoped for something more like 80/20. And now we are left with “the 45”. I’m still getting all the pro-indy comments, how we can do it again in 2020, or devise some other method for upsetting Westminster.

Currently, this looks to me like the actions of a spoilt child that hasn’t got what it asked for and is now just shouting louder in the vain hope that the decision can be overturned. Whether what we now have is the “settled” will of the people, I cannot say but I’m certainly not in favour of re-running these past two years every decade or so.

At the moment, I’m going through my facebook and twitter feeds and removing what I can and I’m going to try to open my mind a bit more to what other folk are saying, to listen to their spin on what Scotland is.

Until then, the best I can describe my feelings is to say that I feel like a person displaced. Like the country I thought I belonged to has been obliterated and no amount of lashing out at others will change that.”

“The country I thought I belonged to has been obliterated” There you have it, Friday morning condensed into ten words. However Friday morning passed and while that might have been how I felt at the time that passed too. Scotland is not the place I thought it was but it is still the place I love,with all its many contradictions still my home, and its people, for a they might have voted no, are still  my ain folk.

This comment on the same forum from a guy who voted no also opened my eyes.


“Scotroutes post eloquently puts national sentiment and identity to the fore. Everyone has a different view on nationhood, one no more valid than another. We can question what vote is best for Scotland, but everyone that put a cross on the ballot paper did so in the best interest of THEIR Scotland! You cannot ask for much more.

Since the result I have been going through a range of emotions. Initial relief, then guilt, sometimes happy this period is over as I feel drained, and sad at other times that the anticipation has gone. I know how I would have felt if the vote had gone the other way, and I have family and friends that are completely gutted right now.

I must also apologize for any offence I caused to members throughout the debate. I took many posts and links to heart and was often unpleasant in response. Although many have contributed in support of UK, I felt like it’s sole supporter here with a vote, although that is no excuse. I tried not to read the papers and saw more Yes social media. I never felt Better Together grasped the way I feel, with only Gordon Brown coming close on the eve of the referendum.

I felt able to make some closure after making a peaceful protest by turning my back to Alex Salmond when he visited my home town recently. I know the gesture was symbolic but I felt compelled to make it. Following this my picture was put on social media, where some comments from Yes supporters were positive and supportive.

That day I got a sense of, and an admiration of the community and unity of purpose that is Yes Scotland, and felt occasional jealousy that no similar group could convey this in support of the UK.

I initially believed there would be no winners from the referendum whatever the result. Scotroutes comments make me think this belief may not be true.”

Theres no sense of celebration or triumph in that just relief, honesty and some admiration for the Yes campaigners. I have had some verbally bruising encounters with Ath and it took guts for him to apologise,for that he has my respect.

I suppose what I have to say now will disappoint him though. Now we must unite and try to make a better Scotland ,independence is not on the agenda but in time, I don’t know when, it will be.

So how do we keep the energy and drive, the “community and unity of purpose” that Athgray spoke about. Whatever we do we must look at our campaign critically, learn from those mistakes or we’ll repeat them.We have to be prepared to listen to at least some of those who opposed us their aims may not be that different from ours. I think we also have to be able to work on local and national levels. The political parties that backed Yes are all growing at an astonishing rate,they are well suited to work at a national level but less so for working at a local level as they are centralised organisations. I liked the ground up rather than top down community nature of yes and that is holding me back from (re)joining the SNP. The last few days has seen new websites,Facebook pages ,spin off organisations popping up all over the place. Keeping track of it is like trying to herd cats.

It is the nature of grass roots ,community based campaigns the very space that allows each group to develop its own distinctive identity,gives groups the freedom to act with independence (nice word that let’s say it again, ready … INDEPENDENCE) The problem is that very space and freedom , flying by the seat of your pants style can lead to uncoordinated campaigns,and all these different  groups doing different things can look like a split in the campaign, you know how the media love a split.

So signing off I still dont know which organisation to join. I would like a local group under a national umbrella. That sounds like Yes Lochaber/ Yes Scotland to me.



1 Comment

  1. Common Weal is now available online for £0.01. The vision therein is Utopia for some, yet achievable for others (and practiced in varying degrees in various countries). Scotland for me was down trodden and in many ways innate. Ref1 changed my view. The vibrancy exhibited throughout the Campaign was amazing. Indy2 may not be on the table, but Indy is not yet off the table either.


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