Some days ago a friend recounted the tale of meeting a fellow independence supporter. The man was dejected, down-at-heart. He talked of losing his appetite to restore Scotland’s independence, and therefore its political rights. He explained how he felt the time to achieve statehood had been lost, and he didn’t think the opportunity would arise again in his lifetime.
Hand-in-hand with that dejection came the opinion of the SNP “not doing enough” to counter the never-ending torrent of abuse and lies, and black propaganda showered on it every day. (The SNP were certainly noticeable by their absence during the smash and grab Tory election.) His friend saw defeat in every corner of the press, in television news items and political chats shows, but especially in the faces of other Scots. It was having an adverse affect on his confidence and his will to sustain the fight for a better nation, for a constitution fit for the modern age.
If ever a man needed a good stiff drink with friends to cheer him up, he was that person. Had he been a character in a cowboy movie his wagon train pals would have dragged him to Big Sally’s salon rooms for an hour’s bedtime entertainment, only he’d emerge moping that he couldn’t do anything because he didn’t feel like a real man.
He sounded like the Reverend I.M Jolly doing his best to sell Christianity to cannibals who had assumed he would taste better if they all blessed themselves before eating him. The poor man’s cri de cœur was actually a litany of defeatism.
I am reminded of that brief encounter after watching Andy Murray fight his way back from the brink of defeat at Wimbledon today. What a battle. He faced a wily, excitable Italian, Fabio Fognini, who had demolished him some months back on his home patch in Rome. Fognini is a tennis player with the ability to hit six balls while cooking pasta, and then one winning volley at 120 mph to the base line while adding the tomato sauce. Murray was tested almost to destruction in a rousing, nail-biting, third round tie. Whatever seat you sat on to watch him play you’d be cowering under it within half an hour, cushion clutched on your head.
His performance was all of that, but also that of a great champion. Like the weeks leading up to the vote in the 2014 Referendum on Scotland’s independence the match went one way and then the other. Just as it seemed he was on the point of winning Murray lost a set to the Italian. Then his game disintegrated, his confidence with it. This was in the face of an opponent prone to tantrums. The Italian threw his racquet on the ground in anger, challenged the umpire, was docked a point for mouthing an obscenity, shouted at the clouds dramatically rehearsing Verdi’s Rigoletto, and managed to strain his ankle so badly he called for medical aid.
The Italian was out of sorts with everybody, at one point shushing his own supporters. Murray was unsettled by the Italian’s antics, whacking his thigh hard with his racquet, good Scottish penitence stuff. Even when his opponent’s serve fell to pieces Murray was unable to exploit the moment. I started to see the Scottish psyche in motion – confident, sure of our strengths, but riven with self-doubt just as we should be striding to the finish. Murray faced a clever opponent, but he knew he was the better player, which was all the more frustrating knowing he was being beaten.
In an heroic five game renaissance, having spotted the Italian’s preponderance to repeat the same moves too often, Murray pulled a magnificent win out of thin air, to the crowd’s evident delight. Murray came back from nowhere, second-guessing his opponent at every turn, sending the Italian running in all directions simultaneously to no good effect.
Murray received a standing ovation.
In the after-match chat to camera, a waste of time for any sportsperson forced by sponsors to talk in banalities, Murray opined: “I didn’t feel like I moved as well as I did in the first two matches,” after coming from 2-5 in the concluding frame, and saving five set points to beat the too easy going, spent Italian 6-2, 4-6, 6-1, 7-5.
“I had no real rhythm after my first couple of matches. Then today from Fabio there were a lot more rallies from the back of the court. It’s partly down to the way he plays as well. I felt a little bit off balance. I don’t know if that was anything to do with my hip or not. But that’s something I hopefully will do a bit better the next match.”
By the way, Federer speaks in a monotone same as Murray, only Federer speaks faster making him sound interesting. He’s not. Murray speaks for us. In our age he’s the very epitome of Scotland’s strengths and weaknesses. It’s our failings that we have to attend to if we are ever to own our own destinies again and feel like real winners. There is no need for us to wait for the other side’s incompetence before securing victory.
The opponents of Scotland’s progress, the control freaks, the oppressors, are lobbing psychological volleys at us: you know the slogans, tropes, and memes off by heart by now. Let us remind ourselves what it is we are fighting for – the right to progress, the right to take our own decisions.
The United Nations puts it succinctly in the Declaration on the Right to Development:
“The right to development is an inalienable human right by virtue of which every human person and all peoples are entitled to participate in, contribute to, and enjoy economic, social, cultural and political development, in which all human rights and fundamental freedoms can be fully realized.” (Article 1.1)
“The human right to development also implies the full realization of the right of peoples to self-determination, which includes, subject to the relevant provisions of both International Covenants on Human Rights, the exercise of their inalienable right to full sovereignty over all their natural wealth and resources.” (Article 1.2)
Murray shows us how we can win. His career is a list of defeats and wins again, until No 1 in the world. Study him well, for other nations are watching him, and us. And they like Murray a lot.
I needed a pep talk too so thanks! Mind you I am on sunny Mallorca doing hee-haw and thinking about Catalonia and Mallorca fighting for Independence and apparently doing better than us -but then they don’t have the BBBC or the press of Scotland with which to contend.
Mallorca! You jammy sod!
This is sooooo true !
Many of us were devastated by how the UNIONIST PRESS cheated us out of our God given right to Independence.
It didn’t take long though to get back up there again as thousands flocked to join the SNP. What hacked me off just as much as the Referendum result though was the reaction of people who should have known better following the General Election result!!
Criticism of the SNP for not doing enough to prevent a (supposed Tory revival) for Christ sake??? There is no Tory revival!! Rooth the mooth managed to turn it into a referendum AGAINST our REFERENDUM. This flash in the pan will not be repeated.
Andy Murray typifies everything about Scotland – We will never accept defeat. To all the doom merchants out there my message is “get your heads up and get a grip”. The fight will resume very soon – BE READY!!
I’m always pleased when I hit the right note, at least for one reader. Welcome.
If we concentrate on all the slights and lies we won’t have time to do the “day job” as superbly as we have. NHS, Education, Oil, Renewable energy and many more. Nicola is wonderful and the People love her. Just look at the photos of the election. These are real smiles on real people. Try and get as much good news broadcast as possible in the negative media.
Heh. Neatly done. 🙂
There is a lot of it about to be sure and there are days when the seemingly never ending flood of propaganda gets to the best of folk. Except… it can end. We can make it end.
The problem for the majority of people who are re-engaging with politics, is frustration. Why don’t things happen when they need them to? Why are people apparently excluded from strategy, uninformed/kept up to date on a daily basis by their parties, national leadership etc.? People are seemingly forced to watch from the ‘sidelines’ (couldn’t resist), as the media and opposition flood the world around them with a one sided narrative and feel helpless to defend themselves or their families and friends. Frustration leads to disenchantment, leads to anger, depression and disengagement.
Which is exactly the intent of those forces opposing self determination. They are closing every door to expression and redress for the population they can think of. They are increasing their online footprint to sow dissent and division. They are without a doubt hoping to confound and smother the Scottish Government’s access to the population and finally they are hoping to break the will of those who support the Scottish government.
So what can be done about it? Simply be aware of it. Be aware of what they are about and why they are doing it. Remember it and burn it into your memory. Forewarned is forearmed, or otherwise;
“Lord, grant me the strength to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
We can’t immediately change the actions of central government and the establishment parties. Nor will we EVER change the behaviour and actions of their invested media. What we can do is await the opportunity to be that change and work toward that end. Continue talking to and supporting one another in these difficult times. Keep organizing meetings and events with your local YES groups. Don’t allow the understandable frustration and depression you may feel to prevent you from reaching out to others. Our ability to communicate and support each other is our greatest strength and our best friend. Use our widespread knowledge base to inform and arm ourselves for future debates and that INEVITABLE opportunity.
Above all, don’t let the bastards grind you down.Don’t give them the satisfaction. 😉