Sunday, September 22, 2013

One Scotland-But which one?

I went to the Independence march with my eldest son James yesterday in Edinburgh and I felt change in the air. It was wonderful to discuss the possibility of freedom with him and talk about the things that would matter to him (Does this mean a new flag? Will the buses be cheaper? Will I get a Scottish passport? Would we still get Match of the Day?)

I should declare an interest here, I'm someone who believes passionately in the break up of the Union, that Scotland will prosper on its own and who knows that a vote for Independence is not a vote for the SNP. (Apparently an independent Scotland means a dictatorship under Alex Salmond for some, for those who believe that my tips would be to read big papers, watch Question Time and buy Politics: A very short introduction by Kenneth Minogue)

It was fantastic to see the positivity on the march. Yeah there were the sort folk who appear at Scotland games thinking it's a non-stop audition for Braveheart but in the main it was people from all walks of life. I've been on many marches in my life and this one felt like the beginning of the last lap. As I say, that's me, I kindae fancy the mad notion of the people I vote for having a chance of running things.

Mad, I know.

It was then pretty sad to come home, after detour to Celtic Park, and see the hate being spewed, via YouTube, from people whom I believe have realised their time is up in Scottish society and only have bile to offer. To hear people singing racist songs(what were the police doing exactly?) and see them prancing about like someone had inserted a bouncy castle under their feet, gives a stark reminder of the kind of people who don't want to change, who fear change and the loss of all the old certainties (I know they have pretty much lost them all already, they just haven't grasped that yet)

Safe in my ivory tower and ready to pontificate on a blog last night, I was about to start typing only to be quickly aghast to discover that Celtic had rejected the Paddy Power sponsored Stonewall campaign of having multi-coloured laces on players boots to promote gay rights. One of the last taboos in football, I would have thought Celtic would have embraced this campaign given our track record of being a club open to all. Now, let's roll out the road bumps, I know some clown from Paddy Power mocked Billy McNeill last month on a tweet and I know a lot of the egos in the EPL refused to embrace the campaign supposedly because Paddy Power has poked fun at them in adverts.

Call me picky but if someone is highlighting the poor economic conditions of a village in Africa for Comic Relief, I really couldn't care less if they told a joke once that I didn't like. I don't think any less of a cause because Bono has used it to massage his ego and I don't feel any less sympathy for the people who died in the Twin Towers just because Arthur Numan and Barry Ferguson laid a wreathe there.

Celtic, a standard bearer against discrimination, should be rising above clowns with smartphones and sponsorship deals with Ladbrokes and Betdaq because we are bigger than that, much bigger.

I've had to look at my own life recently, health issues are giving me an uncertain time and led to lots of changes. Some of the changes, giving up drinking as example, have caused other people a lot of problems and, for a few me, giving up drinking has meant to them "giving up socialising" or maybe it just seems that way. Then again, they're not walking in my shoes. (That's a kind of authorial aside to skate round the fact that I have been guilty of exactly the same, which makes this, eh, oh, forget it)

It's hard to change anything in life these days, social media has entrenched a lot of views and closed a lot of minds.

Hopefully I opened one yesterday.

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