Hope Over Fear

I read this in iScot magazine and was so blown away with The Indy Lawyer, Eva Comrie speech at George square Glasgow on the 19th September 2021. Hitting the nail on the head, in one constellation she said all that I have been trying to put over these last years, and I’m sure she speaks for many here in Scotland. I just had to type it out and print it here. I’m sure I am not infringing on any copyright and getting myself sued by an Indy layer, then again you can not take the breeks off a highland man.

Glasgow and I first became acquainted in December 1969, as I, a wee teuchter from Crieff, heather hinging oot ma ears arrived full of home to meet Santa and see the Christmas lights.

Mind-boggling sights greeted me – long- hair hippies in afghan coats, teddy boys we DA’s and brothel creepers country and western fans, buskers, made-up women in miniskirts, backcombed hair and leopard skin jackets. A whole, different exacting world, of folk who worked yeaning to get on in life, hoping for better days.

Another momentous event took place in December 1969 – Amoco struck oil in Scottish waters – and that Hogmanay I recall hiding behind the couch in our home as my parents’ friends, men with sideburns and Brylcreem, their wives on Babycham shouting like Lulu and Cilla, they all sang Flower of Scotland, dreaming of Stetsons, skyscrapers, sequins and success. Oil has brought them hope, for themselves and for their bairns.

But those folk in Glasgow and on my caravan site didn’t all live the rest of their lives in a land of plenty – for there was no oil fund for them- Scotland wisnae Dallas of Dubai, hadnae a Statoil or a Stavanger – instead unfurled the 3 day week, winters of discontent, the Falklands war, the miners’ strike, the riches of the North sea bankrolled ta development of London, Thatcher’s Britain, a series of illegal wars and the abomination on the Clyde.

And today in 2021 you can sit on your oil rig in the North Sea and look ashore to food banks. And school uniform banks. And baby banks. And soup kitchens. And welfare funds. In Scottish townsfolk who are skint get their cookers and fridges repossessed and this energy-rich country has rising gas and electricity bills and no national energy company. After 22 years of devolution at least 30% of our Scots folk live in poverty.

And half a century after the heroic efforts of Jimmy Reid, Jimmy Airlie, Sammy Gilmore and UCS, we’ve a /Scottish government awarding shipbuilding contracts to foreign lands – Jimmy would be birlin and wondering who the rats after all are.  

The ghosts of those Glaswegian, my neighbours of 1969, and their compatriots are watching us now; their bones created this nation and comprise its soul; other Scots whose ashes are scattered to the four corners of the planet helped to build this world. Some of those emigrants left in fear but many departed in hope of finding the promised land. We weren’ae aye too wee, too poor, too stupid or too feart!

In Scotland 2021, no national bank, no national house building company, only beginning to look at a national care service but our education and health services are faltering for lack of visionary, lack of leader prepared to harness with a sense of urgency the collective efforts of those who seek to create a modern independent Scotland.

We’ve nurses doing extra shifts to make ends meet

We’ve care home workers taking on home careering, home helping and cleaning jobs to try to pay their way, their rent.

The working poor!

Single adults scrimp because their wages are insultingly low and bills unnecessarily high.

So, what’s tit to be Scotland? Will thousands of our people continue to cringe in embarrassment shuffling up a food bank queue looking at the ground trying to become invisible reduced to charitable handouts of pot noodles, pasta, tinned tomatoes, nappies, and baby milk?

We’ve lost Bathgate and Linwood, Methil, Singer, Timex, steel, textile, the woollen industry is decimated.

But Scotland’s economy is on the upward trend, with 4.7% growth in the last quarter; that tells us that our country’s problems are we need a government with better different priorities. Because by dint of birth or happenstance we are not all created equal, and we need a government that will seek to deliver equality by eradication the greatest driver of inequality is poverty.

And we need that autonomous government of our own, with all the economic levers of power, today, now, not in 2 years of 5 years or after yet another mandate and dangled carrot.

The ghosts of John Maclean, Matt McGinn, jimmy Reid, Mary Bargbour, Margo MacDonald, the men and women of those shipyards, jeans factories, woollen mills, mines and pits, steel fabrication yards, do you think they’re telling you to haud yer wheesht and hold for another few years, watch more of yer neighbours hunger, bairns fail as billions are poured into bombs and wars and PPE for cronies, tax breaks for the richest and loopholes for wastrels, spivs and tyrants. For a gravy train of Scots getting comfy in Westminster who needs reminding daily that it’s not their job to settle down but to settle up – now.

We can’t guarantee what our future as an independent country will look like, but we know what we have now, hunger, austerity, right-wing plans for authoritarian rule, Trident and its’ successor.

So, my relationship with Glasgow reached its pinnacle on the 17th September 2014 when we danced and sang in this very square full of hope that on the following day we’d see the end of Westminster’s grip on Scotland, their hold on our oil and all of our resources would expire, we nearly did it then because we weren’t feart. Let’s ensure that by this time next year 2022 we’re celebrating the restoration of our country’s freedom; an end to hunger, want, unnecessary waste of hope; new dawn when we take our futures back into our own hands, release the might of this country, cherish the dreams and achieve the potential of our greatest untapped resource, Scotland’s people.

Stay safe

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