Alive and awake in the dreaming time

There’s a wee meme, more a baby memette, in the Unionist media, that Scotland is sleepwalking into independence.  And there was us thinking that we were running so fast we were all windswept and interesting.  Except Neil Oliver, who’s just windswept.  But do a wee check on Google for the words Scotland, independence, and sleepwalking and you’ll pull up Michael White in Monday’s Guardian Scottish independence: Are we sleepwalking to the brink? in which he warns us that we’re sleepwalking towards doom and disaster, Scotland in danger of sleepwalking into independence from the same paper last November, and in the same month Is Scotland sleepwalking into independence from the Telegraph and on and ZZZZzzzzzz walking on.

The doom and disaster towards which we’re sleepwalking is apparently a legacy of lasting bitterness. This is because there are people in Scotland disagreeing with one another. Shocking, isn’t it.  I always thought that disagreeing was a defining characteristic of Scottish people, and it generally involves swearie words. Put six members of my family together in one room and you have 36 arguments. Disagreeing is kinda what we do, and we do it quite well with remarkably few incidences of stabbing.  Perhaps Michael finds this odd because he has one of those stiff upper lip Great British families where you don’t actually know if relatives are on speaking terms because they don’t talk to one another anyway.  We can only speculate.  It’s something else we can disagree about.

However, I know for a fact that no one in my family has ever tried to commit grievous bodily harm upon another member since that unfortunate incident with my mother’s cousins, a bottle of Eldorado, the TV scheduling, a walloping over the head with a lawn mower, and a dozen stitches in A&E. And that was so long ago that there were only two black and white channels to argue over. But some people get quite obsessional about the Beechgrove Garden, so you can appreciate why passions ran so high. We’ve all kissed and made up since. Although the patio was concreted over, come to think of it … and no one ever did see that garden gnome again. It had black eyebrows, white hair, and a heart of stone.

We’re having a lawnmower free independence debate though. Haven’t seen much sign of Westminster’s ornamental garden gnome recently either. Aren’t they extending the patio at Westminster when they renovate it at a cost of squillions? Hmmm… Just keep your eye open for Gordie Broon with a lawnmower.

If your only source of information about Scotland was the UK media, you must think that the place is full of undead folk with their eyes shut and deaf to all warnings, doing the zombie walk. It’s almost as if the Guardian and Telegraph political correspondents have confused Braeheid Shopping Centre with the House of Lords. Which is unfair, as there are strict laws preventing the shops in Braeheid from touting decrepit products long past their sell by date.

Scottish voters, at least according to the UK media, are clearly not thinking things through, by which they mean we’ve heard what UK politicians and the UK media have had to say, and we’re not convinced by it, because by and large what they’re saying is childish tripe. It’s our fault for not listening, not their fault for not having a convincing case. How dare we persist in thinking this isn’t about Alicsammin.

But what comes across most strongly in Mikey’s lament is his sense of propietorship. Scottish independence for Michael represents his “losing an essential part of himself”, even if that’s a part that exists only in his imagination. Scotland is the essential part of Michael’s self that allows him to espouse British nationalism without realising he’s a nationalist. We’re the multinational windowdressing in the Westminster shop of horrors. We’re not the ones sleepwalking, but Michael is complaining that we are rousing him from his slumber.

Michael seems to be irked because he’s suddenly got issues with his identity, so this is supposed to be a debate about identity, and Scotland’s not cooperating. We’re not having the debate he wants us to have. Stop with that civic stuff. Scottishness is monodimensional, it’s only Britishness that can act as a container for the kaleidoscope of identities which we all possess. It hasn’t occurred to Michael that you can be a hyphenated Scot without the other side of the hyphen being occupied by British. There are Asian-Scots and Polish-Scots, Franco-Algerian-Scots, and Anglo-Greek-Scots.  Me? I’m Scottish all the time and Irish when it suits me.

Scotland did the identity debate a generation ago, when we took a long hard look at what it meant to be Scottish in Britain. Artists and thinkers took apart the tartan bedecked Haste Ye Back souvenirs and the red white and blue Silver Jubilee memorabilia and realised that it is the Britishness that’s the confused and confusing part of the identity question, not the Scottishness. It’s Britishness that obscures and Scottishness that illuminates the answers. But that was a debate that scarcely impinged on the consciousness of people like Guardian politics correspondents. The referendum debate had scarcely impinged on their consciousness either, until the currency fear bomb exploded in George Osborne’s face and the opinion polls went the wrong way.

They’re playing catch up, trying to rush their way through 40-odd years of constitutional, political and cultural debate in the dwindling time between now and 18 September. They’re still stuck on the identity question, Scotland has long since moved on. The Guardian and Telegraph correspondents of this world look around the independence debating house for answers to their own questions, they see only an empty identity entrance hall and think we’re still in bed. We’re in the living room, living and having a ball, and we’re about to open up the patio doors and let in the international air.

The UK media is for the most part missing out on the real debate, so it’s effectively not happening as far as they are concerned. This revolution is not being televised. The real Scottish revolution is happening in countless conversations in the pub, in jokes between friends, in families sitting around the telly, in laughs and shouts and smiling faces, in walks in the park in the rain, in the privacy of our own thoughts and hopes. It’s a very Scottish revolution, and it’s unlike anything that’s ever gone before. This is the revolution of the pie and pint, the revolution of tea and scones. And we’ve got our eye on the jam too.

But Michael, ah Michael. Michael will have had his tea.

Sleepwalking? This country has never been more alive. The crusty crud of Westminster has fallen from our eyes and Scotland is awake to potentials that had previously been closed, shut away in the dark closet of the cringe. Now our eyes gaze upon vistas undreamt, our voices have a range we never knew, and for the first time in our lives we’ve learned how to hope. There’s a pathway through the mountains, and we know how to climb. And it feels so good.

We’re excited at the countless possibilities that are springing up like Scottish bluebells after a long cold winter of the soul. We’re not sleepwalking to independence, we’re casting off our crutches and getting up on our own two feet, we’re running towards the future with hope in our hearts, we’re dancing towards it with our own rhythm, we’re singing dreams into being with our own tunes. We’re following the songlines to a future we seize in our own hands.

It’s good to be alive in the Scottish summer, and it’s even better being awake. Alive and awake in the dreaming time.


0 thoughts on “Alive and awake in the dreaming time

  1. Pingback: Alive and awake in the dreaming time - Speymouth

  2. Mike White at the Guardian is a particularly unpleasant, arrogant piece of work. The only thing I can say remotely in his favour is that he endows his particular brand of pish to all topics he kindly favours us with.

  3. I loved reading this – I’m grassroot’s campaigning in a wee highland village and this motivational and inspirational piece will be in my head when I’m knocking on doors and I’m sure I’ll quote a few of the wonderful words on the way. Thanks Paul.

  4. The Michael White article was paragraph after paragraph after paragraph of drivel and Inaccurate misreporting – but, I guess gives us an insight into the metropolitan thinking in the city state of London, whether it is journalists or business people or politicians – and that same way of British establishment thinking gets applied to the management of the economy, to UK defence, to foreign affairs and in all other aspects of government from Westminster. So, thanks Michael for that helpful insight into all we want to get away from.

  5. Michael deigned to drop below the line this morning to explain his reasoning. To coin his own phrase in relation to Alicsammin ‘jaw dropping’.

    Excellent piece Paul and keep them coming. They are getting spread far and wide.

      • He is a bit on the condescending side isn’t he? Well educated, moves in all the right circles, has the ear of the great and the good, writes puff for the metro set. Clearly he’s a cut above us ordinary punters who simply have our own collective lifetimes of experience and common sense to call on.

        Or we could trust in ourselves and with more than a little self confidence, stick two fingers right up in his kisser and tell him and the rest of that bunch of political commentariat groupies, to take their holier than thou attitude and stick it where the monkey hides his nuts.

        Choices, choices. 😉

  6. Slightly off topic, I was taken aside last night by a local lass, who was firmly in the No camp, to tell me she’d changed her mind and would probably be voting Yes in September. I won’t go into the details of her epiphany, except it was because of BT/MSM misinformation she’d planted herself firmly in the No camp. The lie she’d accepted was blown away once someone sat down and explained the fallacies constructed to keep the lie going. Just goes to show that a wee bit of truth and logic goes a long way.

    I suspect that as her confidence grows about her decision she’ll be nudging others to rethink their indy beliefs. I do believe there’s a chain reaction taking place all over Scotland and by September we’ll have reached and unstoppable criticality.

    ps: another fantastic and entertaining article Paul, I always look forward to yourself and Derek posting something new to read whilst having my breakfast.

  7. Another good one specially the bit about family and arguing, mine too, must be the wee bit of Irish in mine as well. Sleepwalking is dangerous, but I doubt that any of us have been more awake right now. We should be aware though that those from the South with any sort of (ahem) influence will be called upon to use it.
    Oh and some “independent” Think Tank” you know the ones with no brains who seems to think we will be taken in by the thought of being a thousand pounds better off staying in the Yoo Kay. Now that I have to read, Osborne has promised continuing austerity after 2015.
    Personally I don’t know about anyone else but I would happily go down two thousand for an Independent Scotland which at least promises to be a more hopeful place.

    • If I could pay £1000 to be rid of the UK I’d do it right now. Come to think of it, that’s what I’ve been doing funding Wings, Yes, Newsnet etc.

  8. That’s great and explains why you get better audiences than Scotland 2014. And possibly the Guardian in Scotland too…… Ohh that we saw just one story in the main stream media that conveyed this as concisely.

  9. Absolutely SUPERB PIECE. Encompasses the whole arguement / reasons for VOTING YES.
    Keep up the GREAT work Paul and hoping your Partner and The Wee Ginger Dug are both in fine fettle.

  10. I’m so glad I moved to Scotland just over a year ago, I feel so privileged to be a part of this lively jig towards the future and absolutely honoured to have a vote. Thank you Wee Ginger Dug for your amazing contribution to my Scottish political education. x

    • You lucky think Laura, I’m living in Sweden at the moment, returning to Scotland in a couple of years, so I don’t have a vote. I’m doing my bit by trying to persuade/educate friends/family, anyone that will listen to me on the importance of voting yes. So far I’ve had 3 conversions! I’m delighted you’ve moved to Scotland and even more delighted that there is a Wee Ginger Dug giving us more strength to our arguments.

  11. Amongst all this chattering of fear mongering and threats from Project Fear and the unionist owned media is the clear message that Scots are people of low intelligence that are being led astray from their rightful place under the control of the superior beings at Westminster.

  12. “we’re singing dreams into being with our own tunes. We’re following the songlines to a future we seize in our own hands.”

    Inspiring. Thank you. These ARE the days, my friend.

  13. The Scotsman(nawman) using the headline Balkanisation


    Carl Bildt also warned that a Yes vote would have ‘far-reaching consequences’ for the rest of Europe, in comments that echoed those made by former UK Defence Secretary Lord Robertson, in which he claimed that Scottish independence would have ‘cataclysmic’ geopolitical consequences.

    has this paper nae shame

    • Derek Bateman’s latest piece is on this very subject and goes into the dubious background of Carl Bildt and the connections between right-wing Scandinavians and UK parties. It’s all one big globalized network of rogues and charlatans coming to the aid of their system.

      Always felt that maintaining the City of London as the centre of global financial chicanery and money laundering was very important to the shadowy world of international finance, not just to our own home-grown set.

    • Also, a comment on WOS points out that there was a Bilderberg meeting in Copenhagen at the weekend attended by the usual suspects, so perhaps Mr Bildt got his draft statement handed to him there?

  14. brilliant Paul a right wee tonic.

    Scares and smears , shocks and fears

    If we vote no it will end in tears

    If we vote YES we’ll have a choice

    to have a country with a voice.

    YES Scotland

  15. I think it will come as a big shock to the rest of the UK if there is a Yes vote. For most of us…we have had years to think why we want this..why we need this..we have seen the Scottish Parliament start to make a real difference to our lives and to help mitigate against some of the worst excesses of Westminster. Gosh imagine what we could do when free to make our own decisions, to stand on out own two feet, to not see our talent sucked southward.

  16. Neil Oliver has form on this. Way back in one of the early Coast programmes he delivered a little homily on the unity of the land of Scotland & England and how he ‘liked that’ (in his famous Excorcist pose, head rotated 180° to talk to someone walking directly behind him) . Alarm bells went off as I think it was just immediately before elections. Can’t remember which and can’t be arsed trying to find it. It was this pap that probably inspired Rory the Tory’s Borderland – these blood and soil nationalists are all the same.

    Never liked him since (or much before, to be honest) but everybody thought I was being paranoid. He’s outing himself now, though. Hopefully he’ll twist his neck through the remaining 180 and give us peace for a while.

    • Or someone could twist it for him? Always thought he was a keen unionist though nothing much to go on until his recent utterings when he opened his mouth and let his brain fall out. There was just something so creepily ingratiating about him, it was as if he was always aware of Auntie BBC listening in.

  17. Re Neil Oliver, I thought that in that series he did when he went down to Antarctica, about William Spiers Bruce and his party.
    At one point, I think on the sailing vessel, he intimated that he was for independence.

    That’s what my memory says, but then I might be mistaken.

  18. inspiring piece Ginger Dug. Whatever the outcome, I agree the genie is out the bottle, and the Scottish people will not be shoved back into their Cringe container.

  19. Re Neil Oliver, again, I’ve just watched a video of him from last year and, yup, I must be wrong. Scotland, 1000years old, oldest nation on Earth, he might have said, fought against invaders, various.

    But, he disn’ae like divorces. Mea culpa

  20. The UK has by degrees has changed into a slow motion train wreck. Its jumped the tracks, destroying all that lays before it. We tried to warn them. We tried to show them there was another way of doing things. They wouldn’t listen because they’ve never listened. The UK has always had a tin ear when it came to Scotland. Its never really been able to understand it. Since we can’t stop the inevitable, Scotland can only now do one of two things. Either stand there and be destroyed along with what’s left of the UK, or stand aside and save itself.

    Sleepwalking? Hardly, I have never seen things as clearly as I do now.

    Get hit by a train crash, or get the f**k out of the way.

  21. Pingback: Alive and awake in the dreaming time | Scottish...

  22. Brilliant to read, and cheered me up after a great, but poorly attended, BfS meeting last night in Galashiels. Far from sleepwalking, some of us have worked and hoped for this for more years than we care to count. And it makes more sense now than it ever did. Articles about sleepwalking only highlight the divide that has opened, and widens, between Scotland and down south.

    You see things and ask “Why?”; I dream things that never were and ask “Why not?”
    ~ George Bernard Shaw

    Independence? Why not.

  23. “There’s a pathway through the mountains, and we know how to climb.” Beautiful, Paul. I’m just about to put the last three paragraphs up on my kitchen noticeboard so that your words will keep inspiring me.

    • Thank you. Your words and those of everyone else who has left a comment mean a lot to me. I’m always unsure with this kind of blog article – it’s so easy to misjudge and cross the fine line between upliftingly lyrical and pretentious wank.

      • We”ll let you know if you ever cross it! If I have to consult Chomsky to deconstruct your blog then maybe you would be getting close to the line, but otherwise keep right on. Great job, Paul.

  24. The Guardian, in my eyes , has descended from the newspaper of choice to cat litter tray material in recent years. Its attitude towards Scotland is one of lofty metropolitan superiority, utterly unjustified, and hardly to be distinguished from blind stupidity.

  25. I was going to say this is as near literature as new media has ever got.

    However you said:

    I’m always unsure with this kind of blog article – it’s so easy to misjudge and cross the fine line between upliftingly lyrical and pretentious wank.

    Anyway, this is as near literature as the new media has ever got.

    You did not misjudge this at all.

  26. Excellent article, your worlds are nourishment for the soul.

    If it makes you feel better we Welsh are being patronised with the ‘sleepwalking to independence’ guff as this this article in the Spectator a few ago shows, it’s written by a well know senior figure in the welsh party and highlights that Wales could end up independent by default if Scotland votes YES.

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