Saturday of last week I was at home, I had everything I wanted to wear, complete with walking shoes. And I was contemplating whether I would need to bring my brolly with me. Deciding as I had enough to carry; two cameras and a bag I would leave the umbrella at home.
First obstacle, there were no trains running as the public holiday weekend was the perfect opportunity for network rail to work on the track. So, there I was on board a luxury coach, on my way to Glasgow central.
Once in Glasgow I decided where I would meet the procession, I couldn’t walk from Kelvin Grove to Glasgow Green therefore I decided to meet it as it came through Buchanan Street, at Nelson Mandela Place. There everyone was in good spirits, cameras at the ready; happy, smiling, just generally joyful and expecting a huge turnout.
A helicopter hovering in the sky above told us the marchers were near, everyone moved forward, some on the road, and only moving a tiny inch to let taxi’s and buses through. The sight of thousands of saltires coming over the brim of the hill will be something that will stay with me for the rest of my life. My fellow Scots, both old and New coming together in a sense of solitude and displaying on their faces their determination to set this country free.
At the head of the march, our own pipe band, looking very smart in their uniforms, a single drum beat as they past and I felt a lump come to my throat, what a sight. I took pictures and chanted along with everyone else, ‘whose streets, our streets, whose city, whose country, our country’ that is exactly it, these are our streets, streets that I saw a young couple, complete with their wee dog, the young man sat upright, his back against a shop door, his wife or partner, resting her head in his lap, asleep, her arm cradling their wee dog. This in twenty-first century Scotland, no doubt the result of Tory policies and a benefits system that will simply not exist in a few years.
This country is crying out for change, there is only so much our representatives can do, however I will get to those whom we have put in power later in this article, for now, I do not want to spoil the atmosphere of a worldwide yes movement whose only crime is seeking independence for the country in which we were born, or the country in which we have chosen as our home. A country with an international outlook.
What I saw last Saturday was thousands of hopes and dreams, aspirations for a better future, smiles on faces of elderly, of those who, like myself lived through the Thatcher era, who know what a Tory Government with direct rule in Scotland are capable of. You only have look south of the border at what these cretins have done to the most vulnerable in England, the mere fact that thugs are running the streets down there and a police force, fire service and medical service at breaking point. No free personal care, no one with the ability to learn able to go to college or university, libraries closed. The public closed their eyes and let those with ill intent toward them gain power.
And with a compliant media there to feeding the narrative, manipulating everyone into thinking it is someone else’s fault and not the fault of those who continually vote for a government who hate them. Who see them only as a way of extracting cash, money that is then spent on things such as trident, that if ever it were used the planet would be finished. Money spent to renovate an archaic parliament that should have been closed long ago, preferably with all those archaic politicians still inside, happy among the relict. And don’t get me started on the Palace. Money for her Majesty, money for the extended family, who are expanding, money for the pomp and ceremony. Money for endless wars we have no business being in, money for weapons, and of course money for that great big bribe in order that the Tories remain in the power they crave.
No money to give exhausted firefighters a raise, no money to put more police on the streets to protect the public; austerity has killed, Universal Credit is killing, the Tories are killing England, trouble is, they cannot even see it. We in Scotland need to free ourselves from the self-serving elite, that means we must be wary of our politicians who look to be quite happy with their lot. Like Pete Wishart, putting his name forward to become speaker of the house, I thought Pete was joking but I don’t think he was.
What in the hell is going on with the Scottish National Party? Last Sunday we should have been still on a high, smiling as we read the Sunday National which according to editor Richard Walker who I grabbed a quick chat with as he waited for the march to reach Nelson Mandela Place, according to Richard, the paper is doing well. We should have been on a high, should have been marvelling at all the pictures and videos but we weren’t, we were on twitter defending ourselves against the accusations put to us by the three un-wise men, SNP MP Stewart McDonald, SNP MEP Alyn Smith and ex SNP leader in the House of Commons Angus Robertson. We should have been looking forward to the next march, talking and reminiscing but we weren’t which is sad.
I was in my office doing post-production on the footage I took the previous day and grabbed a quick coffee and sat down, ready to soak up the atmosphere, however what I was bombarded with was tweet after tweet from my fellow independence supporters who seemed to be under attack; not from unionists, but from what I was to learn were three of the most respected men in politics. Smith, Robertson and McDonald. Whatever possessed them to speak to Neil MacKay of the Herald on Sunday is beyond me. Perhaps they still think the Herald on Sunday still supports independence. That said, what was reported by the ‘independence supporting’ MacKay was nothing more than an attack on the yes movement. Designed to fracture us into a million pieces because this movement is far too big for the unionist press. With us all fighting with each other, we are not fighting for independence. However, what these three said must be addressed.
“LEADING figures in the SNP have stepped forward to denounce online abuse by so-called “cybernats” – a hardcore fringe of yes supporters on social media accused of trolling, bullying, harassment and intimidation.”
This was the opening paragraph from MacKay, this was the angle he took, the day after a huge march for independence, instead of something positive from the so-called independence supporting MacKay, he chose that very moment to do a hatchet job on the yes movement. Of course, he tweeted that it was ill-timed, but was it?
“The condemnation comes from Angus Robertson, former depute leader of the SNP; Stewart McDonald, MP, the party’s defence spokesperson at Westminster; and Alyn smith MEP, the SNP’s leading voice in the European Parliament.”
What a condemnation it was, abusers were accused of being “Weird, snarling; (that must be me) as I do not suffer fools gladly. Vicious, poisonous and vile.” Nice to know what they really think, or one person thinks but I will get to him. Let us start with Smith, shall we? We all remember Alyn standing up for those in Scotland who voted to remain in the European Union. Most of those whom I have spoken to admired him for standing up for Scotland. That speech just after England and Wales voted to leave. The adulation he received from his peers in the European Parliament, “Scotland did not let you down, please…do not let Scotland down now.” Well Alyn, you let the people of Scotland down, you let those of us who invested time and money and used our vote to keep the SNP in power, you let us down. You got taken in by someone who had ill intentions to the yes movement. Allowed yourself to be used and for what? To ingratiate yourselves with a media who hate you.
What exactly did Smith say to MacKay? He reported that of online abuse from yes supporters was “Failing to attract and rendering us unattractive?” and that the yes community online had to address the social media problem “In the same way the Tartan Army had to clean up its act in the 1980’s and then become a massive ambassadorial source for Scotland.” The Tartan Army of the 1980’s was accused of being drunk, disorderly hooligans, accused of vandalism!
As if contrasting parts of the yes movement with The Tartan Army of old, Smith then is reported as wanting the yes movement to call out members who are abusive and insulting and send them to Coventry.” What Smith is alluding to is a form of bullying, perhaps he didn’t realise or perhaps his words were twisted in some way. However, the definition of sending someone to Coventry is “Being ostracised, the behaviour takes the form of pretending that the shunned person, although conspicuously present can’t be seen or heard” it is recognised as a form of bullying. Smith suggested making the abusive person “Persona none grata forever.” What he is really saying here is, those who air their views are unacceptable and unwelcome in the yes movement, “You are not one of us if that is how you behave.” Who died suddenly and left him in charge. How dare this man decide who can and cannot be in a movement. I questioned whether he would have said such a thing, were his words taken out of context. But MacKay has quoted, therefore he must have said it.
So where is the evidence of the abuse? Where are all the tweets Smith is refereeing to? I am not saying there is none. Just that there doesn’t seem to be a shred of evidence presented by Smith, nowhere in his statement did he out specific members who had caused abuse. The statement seems to be generic, a general oversight of what he deems abuse in the yes movement. Is there abuse, yes of course there is, we are not all Saints. We are going to retaliate if we are abused by someone online. Seems to me that The SNP want us to turn the other cheek. That is not going to happen. We did that last time and look where it got us. In Smith’s eyes we are like the Tartan Army of old, to be send to Coventry, we are all dangerous dogs who should be registered. And they wonder why the shit hit the fan last Sunday. Smith seems to have walked straight into the trap set out for him by MacKay.
As did Robertson, another once revered member of the SNP contingent sent to Westminster, that is before he lost his seat. I do hope he has not started to believe his own hype and believes he can say what he wants without rebuke. Describing those in the yes movement who fight back when attacked, or who question their politicians on why they are not doing what they were mandated to do by the electorate as “keyboard warriors, who believe they can insult, attack and offend with impunity” Robertson thinks this is not going to persuade anyone to vote yes. Really, I think not campaigning, not talking and a continued undermining of the mandate given to the SNP by the electorate, the continued shouts for another referendum on the European Union which undermine the mandate given is not going to persuade people. In fact, it is more likely to have people thinking, why bother. We gave you a mandate, you never used it. Calling those who support independence cowards for airing their views as they called out First Minister Nicola Sturgeon who asked the people of Scotland to lend the SNP their vote, only to swan off and speak at a rally in London, for another peoples vote and not even tweet about the rally in Glasgow, let alone speak at it. This is what has people in the yes movement tweeting directly to their SNP MP, MSP, and councillor, simply to air their concern and show their frustration. To be then branded cowards by the likes of Robertson is the least of our worries. That was mild compare to what McDonald believes.
At the start of this article I quoted someone who described the abuse in the yes movement as being “Creepy”, “Vicious and poisonous”, and “vile” that ladies, gentlemen and those who identify as whatever you want, that was the comments from non-other than Westminster MP Stewart McDonald. No wonder McDonald was doing damage control on Monday morning. After describing abusers as hunting in pacts and looking weird to people, as seeing conspiracies where there are none. He went on but that was the gist of what he said, to be honest I was too gobsmacked at the names he called people for simply airing their views. Not once did any offer up evidence, of said abuse. And the only abusive texts offered up by MacKay were on the side of the unionist. Which is in keeping with their style. As those on the march found upon passing George Square, where those gathered hurled abuse, shouted and spat. Now that is abuse.
Last Saturdays march was a great success, which went off without a hitch. No arrests were made on the yes side on the day, however the organiser Manny singh has now been arrested and charged. Which begs the question, what is going on within the Scottish National Party. They SNP run council tried to put the kybosh on the march by moving the start time a week before, now the organiser has been arrested and those members in the yes movement who air their views in a robust way have been attacked. We should be very wary of a political party who do not like any signs of decent. Last week’s hatchet job should be filed under b for bin. And this week we should remember and celebrate a fantastic day.