Home made hope

The Kirk has announced it’s to hold a service of healing and reconciliation after 18th September. The move has been broadly welcomed by a Scottish media which sees it as a Sign from God supporting their contention that independence supporters are unrepentant sinners who have rent the country in twain. We stand on the brink of lasting social chasms, other than those caused by the economic policies of Westminster governments. The War of Alicsammin is manifesting itself in foul new weapons hitherto unimaginable and shortly to be banned by the Geneva Convention. Scotland is a house divided.

George Robertson and Jim Murphy have been collecting the proof. They have found evidence of door chapping in Largs, people talking to their mates in Broughty Ferry, and ordinary people voicing political opinions in Penicuik. There was even a rumour that someone in Glasgow told a joke. Evil separatists promiscuously spreading the virus of nationalism with public meetings and human contact. It’s a biological weapon. People have been infected with hope. It’s contagious.

And we quite like it. Hope is a novel experience for people in Scotland, we’ve had precious little of it. For a land so blessed with natural and human resources it’s been in remarkably short supply for as long as anyone can seem to remember. Many of us thought that we were genetically programmed not to have any. This was the land of no gods and the precious few heroes who are all deid. But recently we’ve made the remarkable discovery that we don’t actually need any heroes, because we’re all heroes in our own way. We no longer need to hope that a hero will come and deliver us. The only deliverance is the one we create for ourselves. Hope is home made.

I’ve spoken to more people than I can count about Scottish independence within Scotland and outwith it, it comes with being lippy and opinionated. With a tiny handful of exceptions of an orangey persuasion – or if not orange some other member of the citrus family like soor lemon – none of those I’ve spoken to within Scotland oppose the idea of independence in principle. None have any emotional attachment to the Westminster Parliament. What they are attached to are vague and ill defined connections of culture, family and experience, connections which don’t depend upon any Parliament to validate their existence, and which are not confined to the borders of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The Union’s roots are shallow, which is one reason why they’ve had to be covered with the artificial grass of the ironically titled Vote No Borders – set up in defence of the most isolationist state in Europe, one whose politics outside of Scotland are dominated by calls for more stringent border controls. Did that PR company really think this through?

Those who oppose independence overwhelmingly do so because they are misinformed about Scotland’s potential, are fearful of the unknown, or because they still think of independence in party political terms. They are the ones who still have no hope. The task of independence supporters is to inform, reassure, and show how hope of something better is possible. We’re doing that by talking, by discussing, by sharing information, creating music, making art, by engaging with people. Who knew independence campaigns could be such a good laugh.

We’re having a independence campaign, and not only is it all entirely peaceful and democratic, it’s overwhelmingly good natured and characterised by wit and good humour. This is not usual for an independence campaign. There is no civil unrest. There are no ethnic tensions, the yes campaign is resolute that Scottishness is a state of mind which can be acquired by anyone who chooses to live here. It’s not about ethnicity or nationality. It’s not about where you’re from, it’s about where we’re going. People who are not Scottish by birth are equally represented in both sides of the debate. No one is getting shot. No one is being hauled away in the middle of the night by masked gunmen. There are no internment camps. No tortured bodies have been found in roadside ditches. No bombs have blasted shoppers in high streets. We should be celebrating that fact, screaming it from rooftops, because it is a testament to the immense maturity of Scottish democracy. Our media should be hailing Scotland as an example to the world of how the most politically sensitive of topics can be handled in a peaceful and democratic manner. This is praise not just for supporters of independence, but also for the overwhelming majority of supporters of Union. All of us, whatever our stance on independence, deserve great credit for this.

Instead we get carping in the media from Unionist politicians who are upset that someone called them a rude name on Twitter while blind to the rampant name calling from their own side. Calling people rude names is what Twitter is for. What do you expect when you’re restricted to 140 characters, contextual analysis, subtlety, tact, and nuance? Disagreements on Twitter are bound by their format to be curt. So here’s a Twitteresque suggestion – get a fucking grip and grow up.

If Westminster does manage to pull some fearful rabbit out of its hat, and scrapes home to a No vote, who is to be reconciled to whom? It will just be Westminster being reconciled with itself. When you’ve got two faces you can do that. It will be return to business as usual, without Caledonian distractions, a politics dominated by the struggle between the Tories and their bastard Thatcherite offspring in UKIP. They will hope that Scotland will return to its previous alienation, while they get on with the important business of widening social divisions and inequality as they seek to turn the UK into a mini-me Republican USA.

Meanwhile independence supporters will reconcile themselves to the fact that they’ve learned how to hope, and once learned that knowledge will never be forgotten. We’ll continue to spread the message, only starting from a higher baseline. Home made hope can’t be stamped out from on high. Nothing about the Yes campaign is an exercise in alienation and the creation of divisions, it’s the opposite.

If there is a yes vote our task will be to show those who voted no that hope does not exclude them. And we can even reconcile ourselves to those politicians who spread lies and whipped up fear – although whether we’re likely to vote for them again is a different matter entirely. There is no need for revenge, except by building a better, more prosperous, and more socially just society in an independent Scotland to show them that they were wrong.

The independence campaign is itself a healing process. It’s healing the wounds of the past and teaching a nation how to hope again.  That’s worth celebrating.


And talking of hope.  Last night I noticed that page views were going through the roof.  You’ve taken it upon yourselves to tweet and share details of that house I’m so desperate to sell.  I’m truly grateful, and deeply humbled.  You made a cynical auld git cry, you bastards.  But it was crying in a good way. 


0 thoughts on “Home made hope

  1. While I’ve pretty much always been of an independent mind as it were, until now it really was just a hope. I never thought this opportunity would occur in my lifetime. I don’t think I have the vocabulary or wit to express how I feel at this point in time. In fact even after 99 its fair to say I’d almost lost hope when looking at the powers available to our wee parly. You see I always felt/knew we had it in us to be better, to do better. That we have the potential to be the best wee country in the world.

    The great thing about hope though is that it never really dies. You don’t have to ask anyone’s permission to have any and you don’t require a section thirty to act on it.

  2. Paul, great article. You cheer me up no end, especially when after a morning of canvassing when I’ve run up against the people who tell me there is a lack of information. In some respects, project fear works on those that really don’t want to know, but generally people are eager to hear the other, positive side. As far as reconciling ourselves to forgiving the politicians who have spread this fear with their lies, you’re a more forgiving man than me. My poor husband gets to listen to my rants about them and the BBC / STV / MSM, although he feels much the same way about them too. Are you sure we can’t have a separate church and service of reconciliation for them alone and maybe just barricade the doors and leave them inside? They will be no loss to our shiny, bright ,newly independent Scotland. Oh, and a certain Glen Cambellend, let’s just say I know what I’d like to do with the church spire.
    Keep up the great work. John.

  3. “No need for revenge”

    The greatest revenge is to be not like unto them.
    (Thomas Browne, Religio Medici)

  4. So well said Paul, no one can say it better. Thank you for helping this auld yin dare to hope. And vronsky I so agree with you too. Here’s to a new bonny scotland & one full of hope

  5. Came over to you this morning from WOS and boy was I angry and a wee bit downhearted, then I read your take on things and the world became a much better place. I have always been a YES and so has the OH, I now know I am on the right team.
    Good luck with the house Paul I am sure your new Estate Agents will move heaven and hell to sell it for you.

  6. One point I disagree on, Paul. While I don’t ever use the word hate, I utterly despise both the compliant M.SM, and the so-called “proud scots”, who continue to denigrate Scotland and it’s people, and so this is one matter I will never be able to reconcile. I can only hope that the lies that they continually spout come back to haunt them.

    • I totally agree with you re the ‘proud scots’ and the media.

      These people must have no shame about the lies and fear that they spread.

      If it is a narrow no, I will blame them but being negative will not help – they are to be despised.

      I also agree that I never thought it have a chance to happen in my life time.

      I have a friend who is wedded to the Labour party and actually said once that she did not think we were capable of running our own country – I see less of her now because she is like the rest of the ‘no we canny brigade’ by being constantly negative about everything.

      I think it’s a mind set they get themselves into and it must be quite depressing.

      I will be devastated if it’s a no because I feel this time everything has come together to make it a possibility and I can’t see it happening again any time soon.

      Good luck with the house sale Paul and sites like yours help to keep the faith.

  7. Brilliant post, I think your best yet. What I hope is that it is circulated widely so that those seeds of hope thrive and grow. Hopelessness is the main cause of most of the ill health in Scotland so it is really a social duty to foster hope. Thanks.

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  10. Thanks again for the words. Always enjoy the read. So much so I’ve set up a blog of my own to vent frustrations and hopefully, have a laugh. Totally new to this but really enjoying it too.
    Would appreciate any advice.
    Thanks again,


    • I’ve added a link to your blog on the blogroll. Welcome to the world of online waffling!

      Just be sincere, and mean what you write. You can’t go wrong. But if you contact me by email I’ll try and answer any questions you might have – or put you in touch with someone who can.

  11. I will never forgive our political masters, those who have lied time and again, to rule over us and deminish our hopes. I can forgive the sheep that follow them, but only as far as they truly believe that we’re better together, not for some latent belief in their masters voice. As for the chattering classes in the media, no fucking way.

  12. I don’t want to think of a No result. I know how it felt after the 1979 vote (when we actually won), and this would be so much worse as there is so much more at stake. I like to think we can hope, have confidence in our abilities and in our people to see through the lies and spin bombarding us. Fingers crossed.

  13. Pingback: Home made hope | Scottish Independence | Scoop...

  14. There is almost no chance of any reconciliation post no. The no camp will be far too obnoxious to make it possible and then the UK press will start in on the No camp mocking them.

    There should be a service for numb resignation of the inevitable nightmare to follow.

    But rumbles about a certain poll not being published by MSM, could mean that a No victory is a fading prospect.

  15. Superb Paul lovely piece and from the heart too, we all felt it. Thank you for putting a smile back on this craggy face. (My niece says i have a wonderful smile… Aye she/ biased)

    Blogged this somewhere else and only saw the Cof SC output as being negative about 18th . A day of prayer and fasting . Ha thousands are fasting through no choice of their own . You call it fasting I call it starving.Why are they not shouting from the pulpits about bedroom taxes , foodbanks , there is real poverty everywhere. But they want to offer reconciliation . Bah humbug. Folk outwith Scotland will fear another Ulster . Scots nats fighting with unionist , families torn apart. What are they on about. Our own church joining in the scare tactics of the unionists – How does that make Scotland look.?

    We can forgive but i doubt many will forget the abuse the media and the rags not to mention our own representatives bad mouth Scotland . If the NO vote win no amount of reconciliation will make me feel better. Bitter yes.

    But i wont be out there starting fights and scaring my countrymen/women as i believe in democratic freedoms and i will accept i am in the minority.

    But i have to admit the thought of losing takes any fight out of me as i would be ashamed and know the chance will never come in my lifetime again.

    Thats where your piece comes in Paul . It fuels the hope i have for the people of this great wee country. People like you give us a wee spoonful of hope and that will keep us going till the results come through.

    Again thanks

  16. As has been suggested elsewhere, Instead of the Kirk seemingly asserting that an entirely legal democratic process should need ” healing” afterwards, they would be better employed putting the case for a fair hearing for the Yes side in this debate.

    If the clergy wish to play the role of conciliators then why do they not point out as part of their duty to the community that the media has been very one-sided in their presentation? This injustice will do more to breed lasting resentment than their implication that merely to have had a referendum makes us all in some way culpable.

    Surely impartial onlookers which they would claim to be, would see what is only too obvious, that the media have been blatantly unfair and in the interests of the common good they could at least ask that the state broadcaster be reminded of its charter.

    If they think that this might be construed as taking sides then what on earth do they think that announcing the need for a reconciliation implies about this perfectly democratic process? Sometimes justice demands a more robust intervention than this weak-kneed, and frankly, insulting response which appears to suggest that we have all been naughty children and need to shake hands.

  17. The Kirk seem to be the representative of middle Scotland who can’t see beyond their front door step.
    Things are fine as they are so why should we vote for something unknown?
    This insular view of life is partly responsible for the disconnection between people and the political process,who cares whether Labour or the Tories are in power so long as my lifestyle is maintained.
    For many of these,any sort of regime would be acceptible as we have seen around the world and any thoughts about fellow man does not exist.
    These are the people the Kirk wants to “reconcile” with those who aspire to something more caring.
    Brilliant stuff Paul…thanks.

  18. this home made hope, does it have barley in it, barley makes me f— of course I’ll have a plate of it, and line my up anither wan when av finished this wan. 🙂

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