So today we reached the last RIC D&G meeting before Indy Ref. Lochside Social club on the edge of Dumfries, with myself, Willie MacDonald, Cat Boyd and Robin McAlpine on the panel. It’s been a long, rollercoast of a campaign the last 18 months or so since the first meeting I spoke at (also with Robin) and the first meeting to set up RIC D&G (also with Cat) which was almost a joke back then given the generally un-radical nature of Dumfriesshire.
Over those 18 months we’ve variously laughed, hugged, shoved leaflets through letterboxes, got jobs, got rained on, become unemployed, run stalls, moved house, held meetings, thrown water at each other (you wait till next year’s Biggar Gala Mr McAlpine!), canvassed, fished cars out of ditches (thanks Gannit!), and above all discovered that we were capable of more than we ever imagined! We’ve had long serious discussions about justice, rural Scotland, inequality, and the history of Galloway but we’ve also kept each other laughing through it all with a stream of banter. This campaign has seen a lot of love, for Scotland and for each other.
We’ve grown and changed with this movement: We’re dishevelled and tired; Robin’s hair is greyer and the baud rate of his delivery has increased more than seems possible; Cat’s red hair looks a bit faded and frazed, we’ve none of us cleaned behind our fridges or eaten our cereal! This is what resilient communities are about!
It was another upbeat meeting, but when it came to the end I think we were all a bit choked. We’ve put so much into this, and it will be nine more days before we know the outcome. Nine more days before history will be made one way or another, and our own wee ways we’ve been part of it. Perhaps that’s part of the exhilaration – being part of our future, not watching from the sidelines.
So driving back, it somehow seemed appropriate to take the road home over the Dalveen Pass rather than the more mundane route via Parkgate and the M74. The Dalveen, that spectacular pass between Thornhill and Elvanfoot is always an inspiration. Tonight driving up the pass, with the land dropping away to the left, and the light of Upper Dalveen farm twinkling below everything was illuminated by the harvest super-moon. Away from the glare of sodium street lights, the sky was filled with stars shining out in the moonlight. We can be those stars, individually small, but collectively strong, shining out with moon of hope against the big, the false and the distorting.
I stopped at Troloss at top off the pass, switched off the headlights, took a deep breath and looked at Scotland rolling away in the darkness below me. Then I gunned the ignition, leaving the lights off knowing that I wouldn’t meet another car before the bottom of the pass, and drove down in the dark, the Elvan Water glinting in the moonlight beside me. This wasn’t logical, perhaps its wasn’t sensible or safe, but felt right, it was my decision and nothing bad happened. Scotland took care of me!
Perhaps Indy Ref is the same. After all the glare and flare of logical arguments back and too, perhaps the choice just comes down to what feels right. In the end its not about macroeconomics, or social structures, its about the answer to a simple question “Should Scotland be an Independent Country?” It’s not about parties, or what happened in 1979, or flags, or policies, its about the feeling of what is right. “Should Scotland be an Independent Country? ” Yes, it should! We can make it happen and it will look after us if we look after each other.