If Kirsty Strickland’s aim was to snuff the flame of anger now burning in Scotland then she’s going the wrong way about it. I don’t know about anyone else, but few things are better contrived to arouse my ire than being told to “keep the heid” in the face of what is being done to Scotland right now and what will be done if the scourge of British Nationalism isn’t stopped.
The only people who aren’t angry right now are those who don’t understand the situation and those whose pompous self-righteousness leaves no room for less refined emotions. Those who adopt an air of detached world-weariness imagining that it signals metropolitan sophistication. Those who mistake patronising platitudes for pearls of wisdom. Those who have a conceit of themselves that places them in the vanguard of the campaign to restore Scotland’s independence but who prefer not to come into contact with anything so plebeian as unmuzzled outrage.
Keep the heid? Fuck that! It is one of my proudest boasts that I have reached the age of 69 without losing the capacity to be angered by injustice. I value my anger. I would no sooner lose my capacity to be roused to wrath by diverse iniquities than I would my ability to see or speak. Anger is cousin to passion. Without passion we’re just meat automata.
Ms Strickland makes the fundamental error of using the terms ‘anger’ and ‘rage’ interchangeably. They are not synonymous! Rage goes beyond anger to something unfocused and uncontrolled. Anger can energise a campaign. And if the anger is compartmentalised rather than being suppressed, it need not render the campaign disunited or disorganised.
Things change because people get angry about the way things are. No social reform was ever achieved by calm reason alone. Reasoned and democratic argument is the servant of anger. Anger may be ineffective absent the capacity to formulate and express a rational case. But without an infusion of anger that calm rationality is likely to be all but totally ineffectual.
The impression that Kirsty Strickland is out to provoke irritation if not anger is strengthened by some of her other comments. “Indyref2 will come. It’s not a question of if, but when…”, she opines. A statement which really should be the introduction to at least a couple of paragraphs explaining why this must be so – but never is.
Then there’s the suggestion that what we’re engaged in is a campaign to expose Boris Johnson for “the uniquely unappealing figure he is”. Forgive me, Kirsty, but I had this daft notion that what we were engaged in was the considerably less trivial effort to restore Scotland’s rightful constitutional status and end the injustice of the Union. What was I thinking!?
Always annoying is the assertion that anybody who is doing something that the writer disapproves of must be aiding the enemy. They must be doing “exactly what opponents of independence are counting on”. It may be a most genteel way of labelling people traitors to the cause, but it is bloody offensive all the same.
Perhaps not in the same league as the thinly veiled accusation of treachery, but vexatious for all that, is the claim that the Yes movement is “stronger and more agile than it was in 2014”. Which would be an innocuous statement but for the fact that Ms Strickland is the one trying to weaken the Yes movement and reduce its agility by denying it the anger which is an essential resource for any reformist political campaign.
Scotland’s cause needs more anger, not less. And denying such anger as there inevitably is an outlet through the Yes campaign is a sure way of having it fester and swell into the rage which really would do serious harm to our cause.
Don’t tell me to keep the heid! I have a perfect right to my anger. And every right to use that anger to motivate myself and others.
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13 thoughts on “Don’t tell me to keep the heid!”
My father was a politician locally. He would tell me there’s such a thing as “righteous anger… use it and use it well”.
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Great article Peter. There are those false prophets who would have us pursue the finger wagging and tut tutting stage ad infinitum
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Good stuff Peter, a great way to say what most of us are starting to think…..They haven’t a ferking clue
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Anger is a great motivator and calls out for action. It’s anger that fires the synapses, the intellect and the physical. It creates the change. Without the anger the status quo remains and mundane acceptance seeps in to destroy the soul. Scotlands people must rouse themselves to take their country back. I’m wholly with you on this one Peter, either that, I’m just becoming a grumpy auld git.
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I, too, am sick at heart at the pc s***e that we must endure, apparently. We mustn’t get angry; we mustn’t point the finger; we mustn’t…mustn’t…musn’t…it will all come right in the wash…it is inevitable now…Brexit will cause Scots to see this, that and the other… All that we will see if we do not get our finger out is a completed Brexit and no way out of the Union except by absolutely beggaring ourselves before we even start, and that will be only if Westminster ‘allows’ us to carry on existing.
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Being angry is OK. Losing the heid is not.
Who’s losing the heid? We are just starting to use it, оптик
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Lorna, Peter’s article is about losing the head
My article is clear about the difference between anger and rage. In the context of the article to which I was responding, ‘the heid’ obviously referred to anger and rage. It failed to make the distinction.
Why the fuck am I having to explain this?
I thought the picture you put at the top of the article was funny, Peter.
Mr Bell, I said that I would do some research to find out how best to proceed with resiling the Treaty, if it comes to that. What I have discovered is that we have, I believe, at least a couple of routes, but I am still researching the in and outs of each. As I have said before, I’s recommend that the SG employ Ian Campbell, of Liverpool University to work out the details, as he is an expert in this field, and, although he may not be a believer in independence per se, he is very evidently a believer in the power of the Treaty and the advantages it bestows on Scotland, even today. There may well be others, too, among our most eminent constitutional lawyers, to be found in all our universities, who can help with such a project. We need detachment and a cool, razor-sharp mind in our approach to this question now.
Anyway, the basic principle is that: Termination of Treaties by Notice mans, typically, that a treaty provides for its termination by notice of one of the parties, usually after a prescribed time from the date of notice. Of course, treaties may also be terminated by agreement of the parties, or by BREACH by one of the parties, or by some other means.
The Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties states: “…Affirming that disputes concerning treaties, like other international disputes, should be settled by peaceful means and in conformity with the principles of justice and international law…” (The Convention does not apply to older treaties, and applies to treaties between states, which both Scotland and England were at the time the Treaty of Union was created and agreed and incorporated into domestic legislation via Scots Law and English Law separately by the Acts, the Treaty remaining extant) but this basic principle does. The Convention rules go on: “…Having in mind the principles of international law embodied in the CHARTER OF THE UNITED NATIONS, such as the principles of the equal rights and self-determination of peoples…”
I think we might have to apply to the UN to go through one of the Treaty Monitoring Bodies because we are no longer a state, albeit still a nation, the state being the UK, and it would be England, acting as the UK, that we would be taking a case against. The Treaty Monitoring Bodies states that: “…Not all treaty-monitoring bodies are UN bodies. In some cases, the treaty-monitoring is carried out by UN bodies. In other cases, the treaty-monitoring body is independent from the UN…” The point is that by any widely accepted definition, treaties are binding internationally.
The right to self-determination is contained in article 1 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and article 1 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. This right is also contained in Article 3 of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights PART I states:
1. All peoples have the right of self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.
2. All peoples may, for their own ends, freely dispose of their natural wealth and resources without prejudice to any obligations arising out of international economic co-operation, based upon the principle of mutual benefit, and international law. In no case may a people be deprived of its own means of subsistence.
3. The States Parties to the present Covenant, including those having responsibility for the administration of Non-Self-Governing and Trust Territories, shall promote the realization of the right of self-determination, and shall respect that right, in conformity with the provisions of the Charter of the United Nations.
The States Parties to the present Covenant undertake to ensure the equal right of men and women to the enjoyment of all civil and political rights set forth in the present Covenant.
This is, basically, human rights, and we would, I believe, qualify under those rules, too.
I do not claim to be right, Mr Bell, but I am certain that we can do something in relation to having the Treaty resiled. In light of Brexit, we could also ask for our case to be expedited. In the meantime, while our case was being heard by the UN, in The Hague, our FM could apply to the UN, in New York, for permission to address the Floor of the UN and put our case cogently to the nations of the world. In this endeavour, I believe she would be second to none.
The first question that springs to mind is ‘why?’. Why do this? Why set out to prove our right to end the Union when that right is assumed? It is not for us to take the issue to court. Our independence is restored by our Parliament. It is then for the UK government to decide whether or not they wish to challenge that action. Put the onus on the UK Government to prove its right to obstruct or deny the restoration of Scotland’s independence. We are not supplicants. We are not petitioners.
I absolutely agree, but we are to talking here of a rational situation. The ‘why’ we should have to resort to this is not for any of us who support independence tom answer; it for Westminster to explain to the international courts why they continue to not only breach our rights in the Union, but also do so in the international arena, too. Was it not for the UK/Britain to explain why its former colonies had no right to break away when the United Nations had already decreed that imperialism should become a thing of the past and that colonialism should, likewise, be consigned to the dustbin of history. Did the UK/Britain, off its own bat, willingly, ‘allow’ the majority of its colonies to leave amicably and with a fond farewell? No. Ireland, the only other domestic example, had to wrench its independence from Britain’s bloody hands, and even, then, conceded the six counties. Neither will it let us go willingly and with a fond farewell, so we must take our independence – and we will take it with our territorial and maritime integrity intact.
I don’t really care how that is done, just that it is done, although I would draw the line at violence. The Treaty does, at least, afford us a window of opportunity, and, right now, that is all we need. Johnson might do a Cameron and give the FM what she wants, but insist on an early – very early – referendum, before we are sure that we have ‘persuaded’ all who might be persuaded. She will be in no position to refuse because that is what she has been asking for. Then, of course, once he has done that, he will bring out his entire arsenal and let fly at us. We must assume that the SNP Cabinet is in favour of saving Scotland, so it must act, in co-operation with all the different strands of the independence movement.
Andrew Tickell writes about Quebec today, and the aftermath of the second referendum loss. The greatest lesson we can learn from Quebec is how it was undermined a second time by the same demographics and the same central government tactics. The Canadian government wants to ensure that there is no third time lucky and that is why they are implementing measures that will make it hard for Quebec independence to come back. Unless we can be very, very sure that we can win by a decent margin, we should not attempt the referendum route because it is already fraught with real difficulties. Resiling the Treaty on a case of breaching its terms at each and every possible opportunity is a fundamental right, and to deny that is fundamentally opposed to our human rights. England stole this Union from us shortly after 1707 and before the ink was dry. We must forget all the racist comments about our poverty and how we have been held up financially by the taxpayers of England because these are lies, and, more to the point, they are lies that serve a political and economic purpose. It is we who must act now and demand to be heard.
People need to be told the real reasons for the Union. We should not evade the problems we had, but we should endeavour now to get the truth across. Many people south of the border believe the nonsense that is passed off as history, and a number of them will be up here. We can do nothing to change perceptions in the South, but we should not tolerate lies and deceit passing as truth in Scotland. If they don’t like it, Scottish Unionist and rUK NO voters alike, that’s too bad. We are fed up dancing to their tune, which is decidedly off-key, and always was, as Scotland’s position deteriorates by the day.
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