I am not a pigeon

I am not sure which of my personalities is writing this. I don’t know if it’s the virulently anti-SNP blogger who undermines the cause of restoring Scotland’s independence with incessant vicious attacks on Nicola Sturgeon – as described by Pete Wishart and similarly shallow-minded individuals – or the mindless party loyalist who considers independence to be ‘all about the SNP’ and is a devoted member of the Nicola Sturgeon personality cult as portrayed by various online commentators giving vent to absolute conclusions about who I am on the basis of one uncomprehended Tweet or the title of one unread article or some uninformed third-party account of my opinions and attitudes.

I am, if you believe those total strangers who purport to know my mind better than I do, both unquestioningly loyal to the SNP and implacably opposed to the SNP. I am, by various accounts, simultaneously obsessive in my veneration of Nicola Sturgeon and in my hatred of her. I am at one and the same time someone who is totally committed to the restoration of Scotland’s independence and someone who is determined to obstruct and impede progress towards this worthy goal.

And all of these things are true… partly… sort of. Like most people, I don’t fit easily (or willingly) into any hole designed for a pigeon. I am not a pigeon.

Who I am depends on what you ask me. Ask me how I feel about the SNP and I will reach for words such as disappointed, frustrated, angry, impatient, perplexed, exasperated and more in the same vein. For some, this can mean nothing other than that I am fervently opposed to the SNP. Ask me what I think of the SNP and I will state with the confidence of protracted and thorough consideration that the party is the only source of the effective political power without which no strategy fro restoring Scotland’s independence can possibly succeed and therefore absolutely essential to that process. For some, this can mean only that I am a mindless party loyalist who discounts all other parts of the Yes movement.

Not being a pigeon I can’t comment on a pigeon’s capacity for pragmatism. All I can say is that my own is considerable. I can recognise that a coat is threadbare, torn and dirty while being pragmatic enough to accept that wearing it is better than succumbing to hypothermia. I am certainly pragmatic enough to use that coat in preference to freezing to death if it is merely a little ill-fitting or unfashionable.

Ask me how I feel about Nicola Sturgeon and I will freely admit to being slightly in awe of her. I truly admire her abilities as a politician and insofar as I can discern these from a distance, her qualities as a person. I respect and trust her. Just not totally and implicitly. Ask me what I think of Nicola Sturgeon and I will say that for all her undeniable abilities and qualities she is as prone to misjudgement and folly as any other human being. Or maybe just a wee bit less prone. Perhaps that is part of what makes her a bit special.

Not being a pigeon confined to a hole, I can quite comfortably feel great admiration for Nicola Sturgeon and recognise when she has made a mistake. I don’t hate her for her mistakes. If human error was cause for hatred then there would be more hatred in the world than any one planet might contain. I regret her misjudgements and decline to draw a veil over them other than in circumstances where those misjudgements are trivial enough that they fail to tip the scales when weighed against Scotland’s cause and Scotland’s interests. Where I judge the misjudgements to be serious, I will question and criticise and challenge. Because I am not a pigeon.

I am not extraordinary in any way other than that I may think more deeply and analytically than most people. This is not a boast. It is perfectly possible for these traits to be faults. It is possible to think so deeply about things that one never reaches any kind of conclusion. It is possible to be analytical to the point that it becomes nit-picking. But it is essential to think beyond the shallows of superficial presentation and analyse beyond the facile explanations. It may, for reasons of practicality, be necessary settle upon a conclusion and call a halt to the analysing. But this should always be done reluctantly. It should never be done lightly. It should never leave important questions unasked. It should never be a compromise that you are uncomfortable with.

You should not go easily into a pigeon-hole of your own making. You are not a pigeon.

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16 thoughts on “I am not a pigeon

  1. Droppings from the doocote we’re the source of saltpeter for gunpowder , The pigeon metaphor is rich in rhetorical possibilities . Symbol of peace but source of war material , the humble doo is not to be disparaged . I suggest incorporating the dove in your Wee White Rose emblem , perhaps a doo with the rose in its beak ?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Brian – “droppings from the doocote” sounds like a great name for a blog irrespective of explosive potential – just a random apolitical thought (for once)


  2. Hi Peter,
    A bit left field but when remaining in the House at the beginning of the Co-vid crisis I watched a number of videos on YouTube mainly physics , history and maths.
    In one of the maths videos I became quite engrossed in Category Theory.
    The presenter talked about the very issue discussed here.
    Thinking of people discussing good and bad and not pigeon holing

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I vaguely recall covering this in my psychology course. But I’d have to refresh my memory. I have to refresh my memory more and more often these days.


  3. As an independent, non-conformist, individualist thinker your claim that “I am not a pigeon” is surely true and would be complimented by the supplementary “I am a free man!”

    At least, I think Patrick McGoohan would agree…


  4. More seriously it’s important to be honest, and to be outspoken. Opinions can be transient, but if we wait a couple of days and change our minds and say nothing, that process of changing the mind is lost. And bearing in mind that YES is at 54% but could go back down again, we need to hold on to soft YES votes, AND to encourage more NOes to change to YES.

    And this is where our tranisent throughts come in, perhaps it’s an outspoken criticism that later we review and think well, maybe that was unfair. Or maybe we stick to it, and even strengthen our view. But our target audience is supposed to be those we wish to help move over to YES, or keep to YES if they’re starting to waver. And perhaps they share our transient criticisms but to them they’re firmer and more serious ones. But they see us voice them, nod their heads in agreement, and then follow our discussion with others perhaps, or our change of mind later on.

    Sadly there’s not actually enough discussion – open your mouth with criticism or praise, and some people will jump on you, stifling debate completely, while those soft NOES and undecideds look on and are none the wiser.

    Pigeon holes are for pigeons, and often full of droppings. Coo indeed! Night night, sleep tight.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Yesindyref2 – Perhaps you tell me exactly what it is the people of Scotland are afraid of ? Or are the majority of Scots living in a real life version of the Truman show.


    1. How on earth does your posting reflect anything I said in mine?

      Nobody apart from a few extremists says the people of Scotland are afraid, and I have no idea what the second part of your posting is about, nor any interest.


  6. If you don’t take the time to understand the soft voters fears then they will never become solid supporters, it’s not difficult to figure out is it.


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