“As you get older it is harder to have heroes, but it is sort of necessary.”
― Ernest Hemingway
My heroes are those who accomplish good things for others and wish nothing for themselves; those who know people’s affections can be fickle, that they may never be thanked for their small or big sacrifice, those who dream of making the world a better place, even by their modest efforts, they are my heroes.
No one is going to give us the education we need to overthrow the adversaries of Scotland’s democracy. Nobody is going to teach us our true history, teach us about our true heroes, if they know that that knowledge will help set us free.
Alex Salmon our own Aunt Sally
Alex Salmond is a hero for seeing off all but one of his political foes Castro-like in the aftermath of defeat and for getting re-elected to Westminster.
How could he know he had set in motion a powerful grassroots movement rushing at English obduracy and snobbery? He warned us that a plebiscite is a “once in a political generation” so we had better not let inertia get the better of us.
The press, keen to alter truth, dropped the prefix ‘political’ – his rational only a sea-change in politics will allow another Referendum without much resistance. Little did he or they know he had caused a mega-shift in British politics, one increasing his party’s membership dramatically, and putting 56 SNP MPs in Westminster.
The sea-change must have Salmond view it with mixed emotions; Tories assume some of Labour’s policies, Labour stating they will not rescind Welfare cuts if they ever gain power.
And then there was 56
I bet our 56 MPs are as surprised of their election against insuperable odds as the rest of us are at how fast Scotland picked itself up and resumed the journey. They are all heroes. The fairweather friends of Scotland who implored us to vote No and stay within a corrupt and useless United Kingdom, to lead, not leave, now deride our MPs at Westminster as wasted faced by almost 600 political adversaries. Detractors contribute nothing to the world except their stupidity.
Andy Murray, a hero of sorts
Now that it is plain he voted for Scotland’s sovereignty he is vilified by sociopaths abusing Internet access in ways the fragrant JK Rowling-Init has never been insulted. We know Murray is a great tennis player, but rather like Scotland’s attempts at democracy the strength of his skill is inconsistent, whilst his main opponents, Federer and Djokovic, are consistent when it matters.
But he’s a hero nevertheless in the way he does win contests, throws a massive amount of time into physically punishing practice and world travel, and ploughs on regardless of disappointments. And he invests his winnings in Scotland.
The gallant forty-five
The forty-five per cent who knew Scotland had to shake off its 19th century links to English colonialism and the dead-hand of Westminster, they are also heroes. They are heroes for not falling into despair when so many of their countrymen voted to be second-class citizens, believing all the fear mongering that froze their judgement rigid.
John MacLean, Dundee filmmaker
John MacLean, modest son of Scottish artists, is a hero for gaining an Academy Award for a short film, and for making a western now in our cinemas shot in Scotland and New Zealand, Slow West, yet remaining fairly unknown in his homeland where those who try to make films here complain they are undervalued and underfunded. MacLean wrote and directed his movie, a film full of visual surprises, financed with the help of its Irish star with the German heritage, Michael Fassbender, also an executive producer. The young protagonist of his story is Scottish.
Anyone Greek, living and working here, and looking at their country’s fortune in the face of brutal right-wing ideology is a hero if they remain stoic and not fall to the ground beating it with their fists in anguish.
The poor unemployed
The poor and the unemployed, and single mothers counting their pennies and weeping demand our respect faced with state cuts to their welfare support. The chancellor, a man who has never held down a job outside politics, who probably does not know the price of a loaf of bread, despises the poor and social support. Of the benefits left reserved by the Smith Commission to Westminster authority, the major items are child benefit, the state pension, child tax credits, working tax credits, income support, the jobseeker’s allowance, housing benefit, and the employment and support allowance. Of the estimated £17.8 billion benefits needed to support the poor in Scotland just £2.53 billion are under Holyrood’s control, a pittance.
One of the world’s richest countries, the United Kingdom shows how to make the poor suffer twice over by giving their savings to crooked banks, and impoverishing further those foolish enough not to be wealthy and avoid tax by keeping a bank account abroad. Osborne is the English class system in action.
Those who seek real power for Scotland to choose its own political solutions are heroic.