Scottish folk singer Eddi Reader, who I met at the TED Conference many years ago, invited her Twitter followers to engage with her in late a couple of weeks ago on the subject of Scottish independence. “I wanna hear what the objections are… from all English, Scots, Welsh and Irish”, and a lively debate followed.
I enjoyed our ‘union’ I loved the solidarity… before the last election I was visiting a few friends and doing promo for a tour.
I noticed people being angry at Labour, I noticed that those who I admired as left-wing were so hateful of Gordon Brown.
There was disappointment. English friends and people who marched and demonstrated in Thatcher’s reign using words like ‘the Scottish mafia’…
I tried to buy a left wing paper in Rye, my friends’ seaside town. All they had for sale in the shop at 10am was the Telegraph, Daily Mail and the Sun.
I did a workshop with my friend and one trainee songwriter complained/joked about Scotland taking over his parliament. A few voices agreed.
A 30-40 year old rolly smoking woman cleaner from Hastings who wore rasta dreads and nose earrings said to me, “No one will vote for Labour now… immigrants everywhere. I ain’t racist but Labour’s made a mess”.
I tried to suggest that for Labour to win in England they needed to water down their leftish leaning attitudes to be more palatable to the English electorate.
I saw therefore no one was happy… the right wing press went mad dog on them, (Rupert Murdoch and cronies). The left felt their party had cheated on them in many policies… yet I knew they were better for us and better for our ‘union’, to stay with as this was as left-thinking party as the English electorate would cope with. “Nahh… they f’cked up… it’s over”. She rolled up her fag with a little grass and we stopped talking.
A famous English radio personality at the BBC in London was chatting to me…. she was left-leaning and I was shocked to hear in answer to my ‘why’ a barrage of hatred of Gordon Brown. I couldn’t understand…
On the Jonathan Ross show that night his opening script consisted of bile towards the “dour aggressive book-throwing Scot Gordon Brown”. I asked many to justify the hatred they felt. It went from racist to hysterical to anger to excitement about voting ‘them’ out! I was reminded that Alex Ferguson would never take the England manager job on because he calls it ‘the Poisoned Chalice’.
‘Britain’s Got Talent’ began with NO auditions in Scotland… NONE! When this was pointed out that they missed the rest of ‘their country’ they repaired that fact and came up to Glasgow. Have a look at this Brian Limond video blog about the disinterest and statements made by the patronising Cowell/Holden/Morgan.
Below, a shot of Eddie so you can get a sense of her fabulous Scottish energy.
No decent English human being can fail to see how this ‘union’ is flawed from the English side. There is a distinct difference between walking… side by side… arm in arm. Or being as ignored as the lint in the back pocket of English psyche. I saw it, heard it, watched it… experienced it.
Then the election came… ‘Our elections’…. Billy Bragg, who is my go-to guy on any issue that confuses me… I think, “What would Billy do here??” often! He was on Newsnight or some such program, Billy said he voted Lib Dem.
My heart sank… I knew the propaganda machine won… It was no surprise when I saw Clegg jump the fence to embrace Toryism. I watched Gordon Brown – a vocational politician – uninterested in his “image over policies” – walk away. I knew at that moment that our ‘union’ neighbours had pushed not only Labour-lite values out, but Scottish values. It happens subtly… No matter how hopeful I am for a ‘togetherness’ the truth is Scots are not SEEN as equal partners in this ‘union’. Honest English minds would admit that.
Someone tweeted and said this succinct point:
@mary_galbraith @klockedthis @eddireader no-one has crystal ball, indy gives us uncertainty with power, UK gives uncertainty without power
— snowthistle (@snowthistle) February 25, 2013
So, why did I reblog this? a) Eddie is amazing, if you ever meet her, you’ll see what I mean? b) OK, so I’m part Scottish and my ex-husband was 100% wherever on this globe he may be adventuring, c) something made sense to just because….
Photo credit: Eddie Reader via Blantyretelegraph.com and Scottish flag photo: dailywhat.org.uk.