You know when everything is dirty, you’ve nothing to wear, so you throw a washing on, eagerly awaiting that moment when everything comes out warm, clean and fresh? And then the moment when you open the washer door, stick your hand in, yank out your entire wardrobe in earnest, only to realise that the machine hasn’t done its job? It’s faulty? It’s been on for nearly two hours and your stuff still smells like last nights chloroform? Is that just me? Well anyway that’s how I’ve been feeling recently about this whole indyref thing. Dirty washing in spite of 40 degrees. Allow me to explain.
I was born in England, (only because “we couldn’t get you up there fast enough”), to a Scottish mother and a father who was a “Scotsman wi’ his heid kicked in”. Growing up I felt I was Scottish, because I was constantly told so and bullied accordingly by most of my peers. My name is Stuart Jameson. They were relentless in never letting me forget that: “you fuckin’ Scottish twat.” Moving to and living in Glasgow from 19 onwards and suddenly I was a “fuckin’ English prick”. To keep it short, I struggled with my national identity.
Not so since traveling, as every other nation I meet just accepts that I say “Scotland” when asked where I’m from. I’m proud of my roots. Scotland is (was, but always will be) my home, and that’s how I define it. Simple as that. One of my favourite songs to sing is Caledonia, which usually results in a glassy eye depending on how many whiskeys I’ve had. Unless of course I meet someone from Scotland, who point-blank refuses to believe my heritage. A lengthy explanation ensues, which results in still being denied any kind of acceptance due to my accent; even though I’ve lived in Scotland longer, probably know the whole country and its traditions better, don’t wear the kilt with flip-flops, and have an entire bloodline back to the year dot. Mum was a Murray! Get it roon’ ye! Yet when meeting a Scot abroad, I just say “I’m British”.
Ah. Now there’s the rub.
On the 18th of September, Scotland votes as to whether or not she wants to become “independent”. For those not in the know, this would basically mean a break up of Great Britain as we know it. Scotland, for the first time in its history, would govern itself, without answering to the powers that be in Westminster. It sounds exciting doesn’t it? So for the past few years, you’ve had the Scottish National Party (SNP) and its supporters, championing this devolution. Hacking up a Union that has stood for 600 years. Have they gone mad?!
When I first heard about all this, I thought it to be nothing more than a den of drunk nationalists, who’ve had Braveheart on repeat in their local, getting delusions of grandeur, waving flags and chanting “fuck the English.” To a certain degree, I’d imagine there are people like that out there, but xenophobia or anti-English sentiment isn’t responsible for this movement. I was all for the United Kingdom. More financial stability. No currency complications. We’re all in Europe. The Union Jack is retro cool on handbags, cushions and pencil cases. Maintain (here’s those words again) the status quo. (Incidentally I always hum a few bars of ‘rockin’ all over the world‘ when I read that). I digress. We’re Better Together! Stronger together! Rule Britannia! United we stand! And other such nonsensical rhetoric. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it right? Well it is broke. And it’s been broke for a long time. Why is it not “better together” NOW? I started to open my eyes and change my tune.
The NO campaign has been one long media controlled bungle after bungle, with unionists, traditionalists, people-who-like-the-colours-on the-flag, rich celebrities, distant voices in countries you’ve never heard of, and pocket-lined politicians coming out to beg Scotland to stay in the Union. Just so they can keep their own interests and light fingers in many (Scotch) pies and dipped into the coffers they’ve been tapping for centuries. Scotland is “run” by a bunch of toffee-nosed, gap-yah wankers who all went to the same school, and have not a care in the world for the poor getting poorer. Save the fact they revel in it, because their bank balance is ever rising significantly into the black.
“Don’t take our oil!” Westminster cries. Which apparently Scotland either has a lot of, or is running out rapidly depending on which scaremongering tactics you believe. I want to go and have a look myself. Take a wee submersible down to the sea floor and have a gander about. In reality I couldn’t care less. It’s getting shot of the Tories, Trident, and taking back control I’d be more interested in. Countries less well off than Scotland are standing up fine without even a drop of the black gold. It’s just a bonus.
It’s not going to be easy. Change never is. But it’s change nonetheless, and it’s much-needed. Maybe this will give the rest of the island(s) the kick up the arse it so desperately needs. It might be a struggle in the first few years. Belts need to be tightened. There’ll be teething problems. Poundland will float on the market. Super noodles stored for the apocalypse. You’ll have the odd hack attempting an early “I told you so” headline. But the resources are there. So are the people. To quote The Corries:
“Scotland will flourish by the sweat of our labour
The strength of our will and the force of our minds”
Anything is better than the way things are now. The whole country is being led to the dogs and is a laughing-stock on the world stage. Much like getting stinking clothes back from the wash, each time there’s a vote, Scotland doesn’t get what it wants. Well it’s time to freshen it up. Let’s do the laundry. In my head I imagine a NO vote as donning an old sweaty, grey flannel shirt with holes in. A YES vote is like the front picture on a bottle of Lenor.
The Unicorn on the British coat of arms represents Scotland. It is the national animal, stemming from Celtic mythology, where it represented life, love, purity, joy, power and innocence. And awesomeness. In constant battle with the Lion to be the king of beasts. On the emblem, and on many like it, the animal is chained. It is chained because it was thought a free Unicorn was a very dangerous animal. Dangerous indeed. Where are your bolt cutters?
Look, I’m not a nationalist. I’m not that patriotic. It is the virtue of the vicious according to Oscar Wilde. I’m not that politically minded at all. I’m not clever enough and generally I don’t really get it. For the most part I think they’re all the same; wolves at lambing. Liars, cheats, and thieves. I can’t vote and unless there is significant change (a referendum on the weather) I’ll probably never live in Scotland again. But I’ve followed with interest both the campaigns for independence and to stay part of the Union, and the only way you’re going to get clean clothes out of the washing machine, is to vote YES.
This is going to change the world. Let’s free Yorkshire next; and I’ll just tell people I’m from the former United Kingdom. FUK it.