Sunday 31 March 2013

Why I am joining Yes Scotland

For the historical record I should point out this was published on Monday 1st April, notwithstanding the date assigned by the Pacific Standard time governing the blog.

Yesterday was an odd day. I woke up earlier than I normally would have on a Sunday and then realised that this was actually more or less the same time as I would normally have woken upon a Sunday.

So, I groped my way downstairs, stuck the kettle on, and then went for the papers. Which I then read with what we lawyers call "due diligence".

And, a bit like spotting something is not quite right in a prior title deed, something in that process nagged at me for most of the rest of the day.

Showered, eventually, my plan in the afternoon was to listen to Bach's B minor Mass (it is Easter) while finishing my book, Denise Minah's The End of the Wasp Season which is, I should say, most excellent. A bit like P.D. James crossed with early Ian Banks. Andy Nicoll would sell more books if he would only surrender to pastiche.

However, the best laid they say.... were rather postponed by my team performing better than expected against the Celtic. (OK, it was never a penalty but, then again, we had a stonewaller denied in the first half).and then further interrupted by Andy Murray's continued denial of the certainty that Scottish sports icons come close but ultimately fail.

But a bit like a nagging toothache I kept being drawn back to the morning's papers. And suddenly I remembered why.

I should be a supporter of Yes Scotland!

For my whole life I have been attracted to completely lost causes.

On Saturday, I demonstrated against the Bedroom Tax in Edinburgh. I am not much of an Edinburgh demonstrator. I much prefer Glasgow. But I like a good demonstration.

When I was younger. I even used to demonstrate in London from time to time. I also once demonstrated in Manchester, although I can't quite remember why.

But there is a certain attraction about demonstrations. For you are among............friends would be putting it too are among at least temporary allies and you constantly hope there  will be sufficient temporary allies to make a change. As indeed, in foreign countries, there occasionally are.

But, for all its faults, in this country, change is brought about not by demonstrations but at the ballot box, and ultimately, that has to be a more satisfactory state of affairs.

So, when I demonstrated with 30.000 plus in Glasgow against unemployment in the early eighties; or the same number for a Scottish Parliament in 1993; or even more still against the Iraq War in 2003, I slowly realised that the important numbers were not those taking part but those disinclined to do so.

It didn't stop me but it slowly led me to realise that the various Trots, Anarchists and (latterly) Greens selling each other newspapers were not exactly representative of wider Scotland.

But the Trots, Anarchists and Greens are at least against the evil Tories. The evil Tories who, despite us living in a verified democracy, seem to have somewhere between 30% and 40% of the population determined to vote for them.

What does that matter however when you're on a demonstration? We are all agreed they are evil and that is surely quite enough.

And that is why I am joining Yes Scotland.

For there was a truly inspiring piece by Blair Jenkins in yesterday's Scotland on Sunday. "The Tories are Evil"  he declared. And no matter what you think, an independent Scotland would not be evil, or worse still Evil.

And I thought............I should be on this man's side. "The Tories are Evil" is surely the campaign slogan I have failed to appreciate during my whole political life.

And, in signing up to Yes Scotland, I am also proud to say that there is no lost cause that I wouldn't join.

So, sign me up, Blair Jenkins OBE.

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