My Country to Govern

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The association of achievement and a Saltire sits ill with some Scots

If a Scot anywhere says, give me my country to govern again, he is judged a fool, and everything is done to demean him and mock him.

When an Englishman says he wants his country back to govern again, and shouts freedom into the face of Europeans, his countrymen praise him and applaud.

The only freedom the people of Scotland can get is through the struggle to regain the civil rights we don’t have but English do, and all those they have lost and don’t care a damn that they have forfeited.

Handball not football

Scotland is allowed the small things, the also ran, the junior event, the touring production, the amateur show, the provincial television station, a parliament with next to no economic power. The charade does not make us feel we are a proper nation.

Westminster warns they will punish us if we use the very pound sterling we helped create, or they will place border controls to corral us if we resist their rule, or they will fine us, reduce the allowance they give us from our taxes if we do anything they dislike. And then they have the effrontery to demand they know what it is that makes us say we are constrained or oppressed.

We have an England that saw fit to use Scots men and women in two world wars and have them fight and die for liberty and freedom but they will not allow us to govern ourselves. What kind of freedom is that? We have an England that saw fit to use Scotland as a guinea pig for unpopular policies. What kind of friend is that? We have an England that destroyed a nation’s industry rather than support it. What kind of ally is that? And they say, and still say, stay with us for together we are Utopia.

A different reality

The English have a set of assumptions, a reality, that is different from Scotland, shared by some Anglophile Scots. Their reality is based on a century of empire, wars and battles, heroes made, territory captured. And they ask, why we do not see things as they do?

What that means is, the Scotsman or woman standing before them, protesting, holding  a placard, is stupid to resist their system to which they owe their identity.

They defend an English system, an English reality. It isn’t one constructed by Scotland for Scotland. They dislike what they see as European supremacy imposed on England, but think nothing of English supremacy imposed on Scotland.

Once we were warriors

There was a time last century when the Labour party, always a Unionist party committed first and foremost to England’s might and ambitions, that actually fought hard for Scotland’s corner. There existed Scots who felt Scotland had a right to a share in the United Kingdom’s wealth that Scotland helped create. But here’s the rub, they had to fight for it. It wasn’t Scotland’s without asking, it wasn’t Scotland’s by right or by deed.

Back in the 1960s even the Conservative party recognised they had ignored Scotland’s material and social plight for too long. Too long was two hundred years. The British Treasury was draining Scotland of its earnings and squandering it on imperial wars and weapons to enhance the status of greater England they liked to call Britain

The British Treasury gave Scotland £600 million to help clear our city slums, to rebuild, to create outer city communities, to encourage entrepreneurism. The Highlands and Islands Development Board was set up. The whole of Scotland – except Edinburgh – was considered a priority development area. We got a fast breeder reactor, an aluminium smelter, a second Forth Bridge, a Tay Bridge two years later, and the promise of 10,000 jobs created at a monster coal pit called Longannet. Life looked good.

Our new found hyper-activity was mirrored in our culture. The Edinburgh International Festival of the Arts grew in all directions in activity and fame. Our artists were feted in London. BBC Scotland adapted and produced some of our greatest novels. New, bright filmmakers and writers were everywhere. James Bond was a Scotsman.

And there’s more

The flow of money didn’t stop there. A brace of universities sprang up, or perhaps a mortarboard of higher education: Heriot Watt, Dundee, Stirling, and Strathclyde. And following the new elite there came the intuitions to teach the teachers to teach, Ayr, Hamilton, and Falkirk, the dominies who would attain a lectureship in the new universities one day and a few be principals. The working class were still called the working class but saw a ladder to middle-class if they were willing to take it.

What happened next?

None of those advances did any good for Labour in Scotland. They won Westminster but at each general election they gained no more than a handful of seats from the Tories.

England’s parliament couldn’t sustain the expenditure. They took them all away one by one except our bridges, and they might have removed them too had they not been cemented down hard, pile driven into Scottish bedrock.

An incontrovertible harsh reality opened before them. Their struggle for their nation’s equality, for parity, was never ending. Those who gifted it took it away again.

Running even the remnants of an empire is a costly business. By handing largesse to the Scots Westminster had raised expectations they could not sustain, nor could their local staff, the Scottish Labour branch. Labour had no alternative means of income. They had no power. Every gain evaporated, or regressed.

The British government discovered they couldn’t balance their books. So they took to stealing Scotland’s oil. Sticking their name on it doesn’t make it any the less theft, no two ways about it. Only, when it’s billions upon billions of pounds it’s grand larceny on a scale hitherto unknown between two nations.

Same old, same old

Unemployment did not reduce, talented youth did not stop emigrating. In 1967 over 47,000 left Scotland. Scotland’s social problems were  unsolvable by showering short-term money at each problem. Scotland’s ills were as unmanageable  as Cromwell’s parliamentarians said they were, before setting Scotland free again.

The Scottish electorate became disillusioned, disaffected. They looked at the SNP and its policies as a potential champion for Scotland’s needs. That is where we are today, with a rump Tory party none actually elected to Scotland’s parliament, and a useless, spurned Labour party still holding tight to Britishness.

But one compensation emerged: we have food banks for the destitute.

What of the individual?

By the time a person was mature, in their thirties, they saw themselves as not quite part of the English fraternity. They felt somehow second-class, not wearing the right school tie, never part of the right rugby club, second-rate in some painful cases, or just not worthy. And they began to consider what that would do to their children.

It affects us all in unconscious, subliminal ways in our daily lives. We might not notice it, but others do when we cringe on hearing some Scot make good, be accepted, praised, or merely speak in a Scottish accent. “That can’t be so”, we say. “I kent his faither.”

Where are we now?

We are witnessing another awakening of English imperialism and the intolerance that rides with it at the expense of the people of Scotland. Next comes calls for more taxes to be spent on more weapons of mass destruction, and the rekindling of the Cold War – there has to be a constant enemy to keep the nation in perpetual anxiety ready to do the power elite’s bidding. Add to that more neo-conservative austerity and Brexit and we –  democrat and unionist – are in a serious fix not of our making.

But there is hope, real hope. The youth of Scotland want absolute change and see it through the SNP. Whilst a proportion of the elderly are locked into nebulous Britishness, fearing a mythical loss of pensions, they are passing on. Our optimistic youth grow in number. And just as the Catholics in Northern Ireland will in short time be far greater in number than British loyalists and so make Ireland what it should be, a united land, so will Scotland’s youth throw off the claustrophobic weight of inferiority by voting Yes.

England, your England

Our English cousins have to ask themselves, why they want to keep hold of Scotland in the first place when so many of them think we are a stupid people, a burden on their state, persistent litigants. If all they want is our oil – and they do – then let’s sit down at the table and make a deal over who gets what oilfields, agree, call it a day, and each go govern our great nations as equal friends, not one as mendicant and the other as thief.

It comes as a surprise and sometimes a shock to a person borne and living in Scotland that the flag they have sworn an allegiance to, the Union Jack, the same they and their elders salute on ceremonial days, and their forefathers before them, doesn’t have a place for them as an equal person in British Utopia. And perhaps they are looking at England now aghast, wondering what the hell it is turning into.

On the days you wonder what your role is in Scotland, and what your future is in it, and the future of your children, remember this: you are not and never will be English. But you might just be accepted if you say you are British. When you say you are British you have given up the fight for political and social equality. You are saying it is a consolation, at least you are not completely Scottish.

If you are happy to kneel before inane, irrational, grotesque colonial cruelty, ready to die for another nation’s wars, no one but you chose that destiny.

The rest of us have had enough. We choose to govern our nation again.

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40 Responses to My Country to Govern

  1. diabloandco says:

    Thanks, Grouse, I’ve been needing a wee pep talk, in fact, several as I find the direction of travel via our so called media very depressing.

    I need you, WGD, Wings and more to prevent me from drowning in the Great Britain, union flag waving fest that surrounds us.

  2. Bugger (the Panda) says:

    I quite like what you have written here, quite a lot

  3. Bugger (the Panda) says:

    You are the thinking man’s separatist basturd and you are not Bella.

  4. Grouse Beater says:

    Guilty as charged, M’Lud.

  5. Grouse Beater says:

    This last week alone should open the eyes of the blind and have them see what sort of society rules them south of the border.

  6. Macart says:

    There was a time that I considered myself comfortable with identifying as Scottish, British and European. Geographically all are accurate as far as they go. However, I believed these things stood for something outside of the merely geographically obvious. Regardless, I’ve been a supporter of Scotland’s self determination for over thirty odd years and been comfortable to say such to anyone who cared to ask.

    After the past couple of parliamentary terms in particular though? No more.

    As you know Grouse, I’m a big believer that being Scottish is a state of mind. It then follows that the same can and must be said of the other descriptors. We define ourselves by our thoughts, our words and our actions, not an accident of birth. As such, I can now honestly say that British no longer applies to this Scot. Our body politic. Our societal shift from the norm of our next door neighbours is now so marked, that I feel the descriptor ‘British’, as defined by the UK state, no longer applies and nor would I wish it to.

    Any state body which introduces indiscriminate benefits sanctioning, the slashing of bereavement benefits, slashing housing benefits for teens and young families, introducing the appalling rape clause, or settling ballots based on xenophobic campaigns, I want no part of and do not identify with.

    I’m a Scot and an internationalist.

  7. Yes. That pretty much nails it. And when independence is gained, I will vote for a party that backs a neutral foreign policy and doesn’t think there’s status in being a NATO cheerleader or hob-nobbing with the most evil woman on the planet.

  8. Grouse Beater says:

    Seconded.

  9. Robert Peffers says:

    I must be an aberration. Next month I celebrate my birthday. I’m an octogenarian who, in all those years has never felt this Scot was inferior to anyone.

    Often in my younger days, and to my shame, I even felt quite the reverse. I felt very privileged to be born as a member of the small country that led Europe into the European Enlightenment. I subscribed to the notion that in almost every field of progress for this old World, there was the work of a Scottish genius. We Scots are born innovators in engineering, electronics, medicine and surgery. We produce great innovative thinkers in every science and technology.

    We have not invented or discovered everything but by God we have come very close to doing so and judicious research exposes many thing where the Scottish influence has been stolen from us by the person doing the work having the credit for the progress taken by the non-Scottish heads of departments.

    So long ago I came to the conclusion that while it was wrong to consider we Scots were superior to others it was equally wrong to consider we were somehow inferior and my long term feeling is best summed up by yet another Scottish genius :-

    Is there for honest Poverty
    That hings his head, an’ a’ that;
    The coward slave-we pass him by,
    We daur be poor fir a’ that!
    For a’ that, an’ a’ that.
    Our toils obscure an’ a’ that,
    The rank is but the guinea’s stamp,
    The Man’s the gowd for a’ that.

    I am no ones superior but neither am I anyone’s inferior.

    I thus want my country of Scotland to stand upon its own feet and be the equal to all other NORMAL countries and never again bow its head to those who would demean us by whatever means.

  10. Grouse Beater says:

    Good letter, Robert. Many thanks.

  11. Odet says:

    Thank you for this one: it’s been a tonic to read.

  12. Grouse Beater says:

    And a tonic to hear from you.
    Pass it to others you think will benefit, friend or foe! I sent it to the Labour party.

  13. Kate Malcolmson says:

    A wonderful piece telling it as it is.
    I love the language ,the simple descriptive truth of Scotlands situation

  14. Grouse Beater says:

    I’ve blocked you last comment because it’s malicious.

  15. Grouse Beater says:

    Thank you, I hope you’ll be a regular visitor, and invite others to view the flowers.

  16. anyvoices says:

    Excellent read how do I contact you?

  17. Grouse Beater says:

    Use the ‘About’ on the home page and I’ll open a dialogue with you … beautiful sunny day today so am planting Italian Cypress trees in the Roman garden I’m creating, but you’ll get an answer.

  18. Alice Boden says:

    Thanks for this.

    We currently have the perfect storm building with a group of very poor calibre politicians in the Westminster Cabinet, their confidence at a shambolic all-time low, struggling to deal with immense challenges of their own devising.

    These are yesterday’s men and women, already disgraced, having variously “lost” papers relating to paedophiles, insulted the very overseas leaders they are now supposed to be sweet-talking and so on, We can neither respect nor pity them as they are routinely lampooned and caricatured, trailing around one despotic regime after another trying to line up pals.

    We see through all their “war with Spain” and “un-Christian Egg Hunt” ruses.

    Some very unpopular social security policies are coming into effect this month, not the least of them the disgusting, so-called rape clause, (relating to the rejection of tax credits for third and subsequent children in a family unless rape can be proved), which Scottish charities and nurses are rejecting absolutely.

    In contrast, Scotland seems to be awash with bright, energetic, younger politicians who represent the only effective opposition at Westminster, the only popular UK faces in Brussels and the only potential national leaders in Edinburgh. Has there ever been a more talented bunch of trainee ministers?

    In the week when our First Minister is busy making really useful friends and contacts in California and New York, impressing audiences everywhere she speaks with just the right combination of conviction and gentle humour, we have to feel positive about the months ahead.

    If Scotland cannot muster the confidence to strike out alone and re-establish our independence now we never will. Whatever it takes.

  19. Grouse Beater says:

    Whatever it takes, and the reality is, it only took an ‘X’ in a box so long as you were not selfishly thinking of yourself. We owe it to succeeding generations to get it right … now.

  20. Macart says:

    Well said Robert.

  21. Juteman says:

    I enjoyed reading that. My spirit is low just now with all the negativity in the MSM, and needed a lift.
    This next ref will be a different beast, I think. It will be a dirty affair and not for the faint hearted.

  22. Grouse Beater says:

    They’ll aim to hit us below the waterline, to borrow an old seafaring phrase.

  23. Wilma Watts says:

    I really related to this article today because of an incident that happened earlier this week in my own home.
    (I posted this as part of a comment on a Facebook thread.)

    I’ve just had the most distressing conversation with a neighbour. We have known each other for 15 years, since we moved back to Scotland after living in the South of England. I thought we were friends but knew she was a No voter. She’s much older than me therefore I would never argue with her but it’s now come to a head.

    She visited the other day and she brought up the subject of Brexit.( We usually avoid politics) I hadn’t known how she voted so was pleased when she said she had voted Remain. Then it all took off, she is furious that that EVIL woman Nicola Sturgeon is using (her) Remain Vote to divide our wonderful Union! My husband and I sat aghast as she then berated us with every piece of propaganda spouted by the BBC, “you won’t have the pound, what currency will you use?”

    “Scotland can’t possibly survive without English taxpayers money”, “Scotland won’t get in the EU”, “If the English had a vote you would all be thrown out on your ear”, “your economy is a mess, where are the figures What is the Scottish Government hiding?”

    She was so angry I thought she was going to have a fit. I tried to calm her down by saying that I understood her loyalty is to the Union since she is English but couldn’t she understand me wanting self determination for my country? No she could not. She just couldn’t understand how we could think as we do and especially my husband, who is also English.

    This woman has lived in Scotland since 1967, she is a well known local artist, owned a business and been very successful.

    We tried to answer her accusations but, of course, it’s too late. Where do we start? I must confess this was all shocking as I have never heard her say a bad word about anyone. After she had gone I tried to make sense of what had happened and it was a bolt from the blue.

    She is a colonialist!

    It also made me look at all our mutual friends and I’ve come to the conclusion that I had only been ” accepted” into this group because I was married to an Englishman and they all assumed he would think as they do.

    Colonialism alive and well in Argyll.

  24. Grouse Beater says:

    A distressing experience, particularly from a neighbour who ought to exercise diplomacy. I suspect the ferocity of her attack took you by surprise, all the more alarming because it was unexpected. What she’s expressing is fear. She probably senses she’s in the middle of a social revolution she can’t understand.

    There’s a lot around like her. I have no idea why they think Nicola Sturgeon is ‘evil’, it’s anti-intellectual, and plain dumb, but I’ve heard others say it, and the fools said the same of Salmond, of course.

    Remarkable how they think the UK is a country rather than an artificial construction. The black propaganda works, as any member of the Fear Campaign will tell you.

    Next time, if there is a next time, ask her about her free prescriptions. Would she rather pay? If that sort of person doesn’t relent I usually treat them as a child, and remind them it isn’t their country. We’d like it to be, but we can’t because people like her think they own it.

  25. Connor McEwen says:

    TO WILMA WATTS; Print these two articles out and put them through the letter box of your English friends. http://scotlandowntwofeet.blogspot.co.uk/ https://wingsoverscotland.com/junkies-tramps-and-thieves/ along with Grousie’s erticle, of course.

  26. Tess says:

    Reblogged this on campertess.

  27. Shinty says:

    Wilma –

    This woman has lived in Scotland since 1967, she is a well known local artist, owned a business and been very successful.

    Can’t say for sure, but my guess is much of her work as an artist is based on the Scottish brand. I know our PSB are our biggest hurdle (as always), but the increase in elderly relocators ‘to be closer to the grandchildren’ crap, is another major problem.

    Then we have the other end of the scale relocators, free uni education for Poppy & Tabetha, then they’re off to London, marry some Oxbridge lads, now living in Switzerland. Didn’t they do well. Mummy and Daddy are now in their 70’s/80’s too bad they can’t move here to Switzerland to be with the grandchildren, You know where I am going with this I don’t need to spell it out.

    Sorry for rant.

    Grouse Beater,

    Great stuff as always. First article really surprised me, I know there are some seriously unscrupulous folk out there, but I’d be seriously spitting feathers if anyone tried to steal my work or ideas. (not that I have anything worth stealing you understand)

    Second article ‘My country to Govern’ really hits home. What we are going through and what we are up against.

    Imagine living in a country where the ‘recent’ finding of massive oil reserves fill some of us with absolute dread as we head towards our next referendum on independence. Maybe we should campaign for ‘IT’S NOT SCOTLAND’S OIL’

  28. Grouse Beater says:

    Her neighbour has all the hallmarks of a bigot, but bigots tend to harbour acute anxiety about something that is needling them.

    As for our nation neighbour, the signs are they’re preparing us for another war of some kind, conscription on its way. It serves two purposes, gets the recruits and takes the unemployed off the streets and the welfare books.

  29. Hugh Wallace says:

    With friends like these…

    Another brilliant article Mr Beater!

    And I particularly liked the photo at the end. Yes, yes, the wee girl is very cute but that is not important. That happens to be my flag she is waving! I still have it, attached to the same pole, lurking in my garage waiting for the next campaign.

  30. Grouse Beater says:

    🙂 An all-time great image.

  31. Hugh Wallace says:

    I wish I’d taken it…

  32. John says:

    Great piece, there must be a film in there!

  33. Grouse Beater says:

    Incidentally, as you can read from two of my most recent essays on Scotland history since 1707, we have neverbeen bankrupt, but England has – twice: after the Second World War, and the bank crash of 1988.

    Darien never had Scotland on its knees. Money circulation was such that England could raise our taxes to pay for the loan they gave the nobles and clergy who sold our nation.

  34. Kevin says:

    Man, that is wonderful writing.

    You need to move-on from ‘Grousebeater’, you need to have a proper author’s name.

    All the good writers have a proper name now. Wee Ginger Dug has become Paul Kavanagh, we all know ‘Scot Goes Pop’ as James Kelly, Wings is now known as Stu Campbell, we have GA Ponsonby, Derek Bateman, ‘Land Matters’ we know as Andy Wightman, Eric Joyce has recently joined the fray – but who are you, Grouse dude?

    A real (or assumed) name would give you more authority and gravitas; your writing is wonderful, it deserves this.

    Get a name, Grouse!

  35. Grouse Beater says:

    A BNP supporter recently christened me, you f*****g lying c**t.

    Double barrelled names are very fashionable: Jacob Rees Mogg, Julia Hartley-Brewer, Huw Irranca-Davies, Queen Elizabeth II, and the late crown jewel, Tim Piggot-Smith of blessed memory. As for the BNP devotee’s proposal, I’m thinking how it will look on the television news, across the identity band at the base of the screen.

    I’m happy to give talks and meet folk, but knowing how editors edit, and TV interviews are organised, I eschew political interviews, expected to play what I call the BBC game, where the guest is the revered person, and the other asks questions on behalf of the public, questions and answers acceptable to the British establishment, or you don’t get invited.

    When was the last time you saw Noam Chomsky interviewed on British television?

  36. Top drawer stuff, Grousey, and hits the nail bang on the head about where we are.

    Wilma’s deluded No voting colonialist neighbour is not the only one spaffing that shite.

    As Johaan Lamont has ably demonstrated with her ‘lose your bus pass’ lies that the rotten Unionists have got the vulnerable brainwashed elderly as their main target again, and let’s face it-that and postal voting/electoral fraud swung it in 2014. If this group can’t be convinced of the Fear lies Indyref2 could yet fail.

    The YES campaign need to reach out to these souls with everything they’ve got so they know the score because these desperate Unionist bastards will throw everything at them.

    Top drawer stuff, Grousebeater!

  37. Grouse Beater says:

    Thank you, Thomas.

    I hope I echo what people are feeling and thinking. To paraphrase: Speak straight and carry a whiplash zinger!

  38. Grouse Beater says:

    Understandable, but you were there.

  39. Macmina MacAllan says:

    Another great article thanks.

    You fair cheer me up when I’m bogged down in the bad news peddled by our media.

    A few years ago I was in Africa (in the Caprivi strip) and caught up in some local unrest. Ferries on strike and customs uncooperative. Over a day or two four minibus loads of Brits assembled.

    One evening there was trouble when someone noticed a woman had a wee saltire embroidered on her camera bag. The lady concerned was a recently retired doctor who had spent nearly all her professional life working in London. She expressed no nationalistic opinions but that didn’t prevent the whole Scottish contingent being branded racists, separatists, haters of the English etc. A local policeman eventually stepped in to quell the situation.

    Next day a young local official trying to help us continue our journeys asked us all to fill in customs transit forms requiring name, passport no. nationality etc. After processing the forms he came back to address the group.

    I heard of the arguments you had last night. You are all travelling on British passports. All eleven Scottish people without exception gave nationality as British. All thirtyfive English people gave nationality as English though it should be British. I am asking myself who are the nationalists?

    Tae see oorsels as ithers see us, eh?

  40. Grouse Beater says:

    That’s one blisteringly apposite anecdote, and I am so pleased you published it.

    This assumption, ‘English and British are conjoined’, all else sub-sects, has been going on for years, for decades. Too many Scots are unaware of the racism that lies under the surface, invariably blocked with the faux accusation it’s the Scots who are bigots.

    These people refuse to mix with the community they choose to live among, but, like expatriates in Spain, tend to congregate with their own cliques.

    They are alarmed to see Scotland is asserting itself, demanding parity of civil rights and economic power, all of which has them feeling deeply insecure. They should not feel that way at all – our renaissance is all-inclusive – unless they see Scotland and its population as servile. In which case they should be well advised to avoid condemnation of another’s liberty.

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