STATE OF INDEPENDENCE
AYE OR NAW?
If you want to cut through the confusion and contradictions
within the referendum debate, the go-to guy has to be everyone’s favourite Govan philosopher, Rab C Nesbitt. Here, he wonders what scum like him will do come independence day
T he great philosopher John McVicar was jailed for his beliefs. is beliefs. as hardly Since his main belief was armed robbery that was hardly were the surprising. From Durham jail he opined that the Scots were the ey would best footballers in the prison yard but usually lost because they would ferendum end up i ghting amongst themselves. The independence referendum d. voting paper has been drafted with that characteristic in mind. gue that We’ve been offered a false polarity that forces us to argue that one we our preferred option on the ballot paper is all good and the one we ce on us reject all bad. David Cameron has imposed this stark choice on us leap to because he thinks we lack the courage to take the outright leap to with this independence. He’s wrong. Independence will come, if not with this me in a referendum then with the next. Why? Because for the i rst time in a ational generation, Scots (scum like me included) are engaging in a national political dialogue.
olitical If, as is predicted, we vote to remain within the union, the political ll look head of steam so far engendered won’t fade and die but will look x. The toward a positive expression through a push for devolution max. The ution. hardline nationalists will rally behind a push for all-out devolution. x, will Many other voters, who would have opted for devolution max, will join them.
bt the As a result, the hardcore of no voters who at present doubt the years, wisdom of Scotland going it alone will i nd, within a few years, hose whether those doubts have been justii ed or not. Should those esent reservations be dispelled under devolution max, then the present step, leap to full independence will become next time but a short step, easily taken. ence ‘Yes, Rab’, I hear you say, ‘so you’re telling us independence hen is a cultural inevitability, that it will come, if not this time then ?’ next. But where does that leave you? Which side are you on?’
I’m coming to that. rt a As we keep cosily reminding ourselves, Scotland is at heart a rm centre-left voting country. But while we’re lying in our warm ld- beds congratulating ourselves on being nice pink lefties, cold- on eyed global capitalism is running the world. We’ll vote soon nk on our new Scotland. At the moment it’s nothing but a blank d. screen onto which our collective dreams are being projected. he But those dreams need to harden into a vision which begs the or question: whose vision and whose Scotland? Mine, yours, or d the saw-toothed sons and daughters of the asset strippers and bankers?
y The social divisions in Scotland are as pronounced as they r are in England. I could live three lifetimes here and never u encounter certain types of Scots socially. That’s if you discount the ones sitting on the bench at the sheriff court. I have more in common with an illegal immigrant washing pub steps on the l y in Govan than I do with the Finlays and Crawfords cutting their sweetheart business deals up the Lodge or the Brendans and Michaels having their cosy chats about council grants and arms-length companies up event for the Brother Walfrid suite. In fact, I’d be in favour of a new event for stead of a the Commonwealth Games: the councillors relay where, instead of a baton, they’d use a brown envelope. If I’m being asked to sell-out my cherished, hard-won cynicism, I want to do more than just swap a Union Jack for a Saltire. Scum cannae eat l ags. To my eyes, and to those of thousands like me, the coming referendum will be asking me who I’d prefer to be marginalised by: Holyrood or Westminster?
We all know the Christmas cracker maxim that says the measure of a civilisation is how well it looks after its poorest citizen. Well, bud, I am that soldier. I am scum. I stand naked before you, a hideous example of the will to live. At my back is a shivering queue with begging bowls
16 THE LIST 23 Jan–20 Feb 2014
and unpaid gas and unpaid gas bills that could stretch a thousand bills that could stretch a thousand times round that pointless Chris Hoy fucking Velodrome. I know what I’d do, given half a chance, to some of the bastards I’ve come across recently up the Assessment Centre. But what will you people do about me? If you don’t have an answer to that question you’d better think of one. When we become independent, as we dei nitely will, you’re going to need it. Now beat it.
Rab C Nesbitt was speaking through his interpreter, Ian Pattison.