‘Something exciting is happening in Scotland.’
That phrase alone has been missing from our cultural and social discussions for far too long. ‘Something exciting is happening in Scotland? Ha! Aye, right. Now, back to London.’ We have been seen as an irrelevance, an economic hindrance and a (British) national joke. There are only two sides to our country that are ever portrayed in the media. The first is the Braveheart, bagpipes, tartan, Loch Ness Monster; the romanticised and lampooned version of Scotland’s past. The second is urban decay, alcoholism, deep-fried mars bars and the subsidy junkie; a ‘true’ and ‘honest’ representation of ‘modern’ Scotland. Could it be possible that within the infinite cauldron of beauty, creativity and diversity of culture, that there might be more than two sides to ‘parochial’ Scotland?
On my twitter account I have seen such a variety of groups declaring themselves for YES ranging from French,Polish, Women, Youths, Business, Artists, Gingers and even Africans for Indy. Within even this small snippet of the wider YES movement there is a wellspring of opportunity and possibility that is far removed from the two-sided coin renditions of Scotland that ‘our’ media caricatures.
Something exciting IS happening in Scotland. Up and down this country there are YES groups springing up. YES stalls, YES canvassers, YES newspapers, YES meetings packed-to-the-rafters with people of all ages eager to hear the cases for a better future. Artists, writers and musicians are digging into their Scottish roots to mould new and exciting projects that embrace the multi-faceted notions of ‘Scottishness’ that are so often overlooked.
In my lifetime I have never seen, heard or felt anything that comes remotely close to what the referendum has awoken. The populous is becoming politically active but leaving the politicians and the media pundits behind. Much has already been said concerning the poor quality of ‘televised’ debate and the print media are not faring much better ( just imagine if the C.B.I had been on the YES side…we’d be hearing about the ‘blows to the YES camp’ from now until September). We do not have our own media or even one which entertains even a semblance of ‘balance’.
The Referendum will not be televised. We, the people of Scotland whether that be YES, NO or undecided, will not get the information we deserve. We will not get debates that are more than ‘stair-heed rammies’ with shouting politicians doing meagre point scoring and vetted audiences asking recycled questions ( how many times does the Euro, EU, Currency have to answered?). You will not see the diversity of the YES campaign stretching from Business for Scotland, Labour for Independence right through to the SSP, the Greens and those who are non-party affiliated. You will not receive constructive criticism of pro-independence artists work if it dares to criticise the British state or the media. Instead all you will get is the soured ramblings of elitists who lash out as their own undeniable failings are laid out for all to see.
Scotland is meant to stay in its box. Every attempt we make ( and have made) to get out of it and join the world has been met with the same childish reactions of ridicule, name-calling ( we’ll call them anti-English, that’ll shut them up) or deeply unsettling and co-ordinated smear campaigns.
The Referendum will not be televised. We may get the results on the BBC and STV through the early hours of September the 19th but the hard-work that is being put in now, the endless debates and conversations, the innovation and creativity will not. It is, has been, and will continue to be swept under the rug while every staged Better Together debate ( yes they apparently do turn up for the occasional one) is championed and followed by the usual headlines in the papers.
The YES tide is already beginning to sweep over the country and with every passing day more and more people are getting involved.
The Referendum will not be televised but the referendum is already moving light-years ahead of a media whose coverage seems stuck in a jingoistic British time-warp.
The genie is most definitely out of the bottle and I don’t believe it will be going back in.