I'mNotAWriterBut…

I am a 51 year old working mum of five – not all at home thank goodness. Im a member of the Women for Independence National Executive. This Blog is growing and changing as my hopes and aspirations change. I actually DO expect to change the world but I accept that might not even make sense sometimes. I hope you enjoy the read.

#OrdinaryScots4Indy


Oh my goodness. Last night my lovely friend started a hashtag on Twitter. You might have seen it – its #OrdinaryScots4Indy. It was in response to recent articles in the Economist and their ridiculous pictures of roaring men in blue paint wearing “see you jimmy” hats. It was an attempt to highlight that there are many, many people supporting independence who are not blue, not wearing tartan bonnets and not roaring so loudly you can see their fillings. There were all types of people tweeting their stories and I tweeted mine. 

“I’m a 53 yr old English working mum of five, I was a member of WFI Nat exec for 4 years and I support Indy Scotland. #OrdinaryScots4Indy”

Immediately I was called “Traitor”. Not the worst thing I have been called on Twitter and the user was perfectly polite and not in the slightest bit abusive so I humoured myself with a silly conversation about identity. Then today, another conversation about how being English means that I shouldn’t meddle in Scottish affairs and that I can under no circumstances, ever call myself Scottish. Again, a perfectly polite exchange which I had a bit of fun with. They were circular conversations but lighthearted enough and I enjoyed wasting my time with them. 

However, both conversations hide a somewhat unpalatable truth which is largely ignored by the mainstream media. Despite the persistent suggestions of anti English sentiments within the SNP specifically, or the wider independence campaign the only time I have been told I am not welcome in the debate, told that I should go back to England and stop meddling in Scottish business, told that I won’t ever belong here in Scotland, it has been by people who support Scotland remaining part of the UK. This experience is common amongst those of us born outside Scotland who speak up for Independence. 

That’s right, people who want Scotland to remain part of the UK, want us all to be one nation, who think we are all “better together” tell me that I have no right to be heard, no right to speak about Independence and no business sticking my nose in because, despite having lived here for 20 years, I am English, will always BE English and will never, ever, ever, be Scottish. 

Many people wanting to keep Scotland in this union – which is so clearly not a union of equals – seem to think that the “nationality” of those supporting an Independent Scotland is of paramount importance. “You’re English” they type. I can almost hear them shouting at their laptops. They demand that I should stand up for the union and tell me my Englishness trumps everything else. Many seem to truly believe that English people should absolutely NOT be allowed a say in the debate.  

And it’s not only English people. We are seeing unionists call for EU citizens to be denied a vote in a second referendum and again and again we are seeing Union supporters say that only Scots born citizens wherever they live should have a vote. These insular attitudes must be resisted at all costs. Their view of identity is so polarised, they believe that people born elsewhere – particularly those people from England who support Scotland leaving the UK – are “vile/traitors/deluded/attention-seeking” and should know their place.

Identity, is a strange thing. I am indeed English. I have said before that I’m proud of who I am – a Lancashire lass – a plain talking, no nonsense, ordinary northern lass. But I have lived in Scotland for 20 years and my identity has grown and changed as my life has grown and changed. The children I brought with me and those who were born here are truly Scots, educated here, working here, making their own way here. I am no longer homesick for the dark satanic mills of the place I was born because it is no longer my home. My home is here, in the glens and mountains of the Highlands, the beaches and harbours of the Moray Firth, the rugged coastline and flow country of Caithness. I have already written about how I no longer feel I belong in Lancashire. The current political debate has only underlined that. The chaotic, angry, insular Brexit voices, the anti immigrant Tory and UKIP rhetoric, the harsh, cruel policies enacted by a government that I did not vote for, that my country, Scotland did not vote for, leaves me sad and longing to come home.

The important thing to remember is, these often angry people demanding that I acknowledge the overriding nature of my Englishness , don’t get to decide who I am. 

I do. 

I will indeed, always be English, that’s where I was born, that’s where I went to school and its where fundamental parts of my character were formed. I like that. It is part of me always- but it is not all of me. I am also Scottish. My home, my life, my heart is here. Scotland is MY country, I belong to it, it belongs to me; like it belongs to the Polish, Lithuanian, German, French people who also call this place home; like it belongs to the refugee Doctors that are being supported to qualify to practice here by the inimitable Maggie Lennon and her wonderful team (with a little help from the Scottish Government); like it belongs to those from outside the EU who have found themselves here and who have all become #OrdinaryScots4Indy. 

So I do indeed “know my place”. It is here, right at the centre of the campaign for an Independent Scotland. Working hard to make Scotland a better, fairer place for everyone who lives here – wherever you are from. Standing against the divisive unionist voices who would shut me up and deny others the right to vote. My voice and hundreds of others who also belong here will drown out this nonsense and with a bit of luck, we will have that open inclusive Independent Scotland sooner rather than later. 

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15 thoughts on “#OrdinaryScots4Indy

  1. Smallaxe on said:

    Scots by choice must have a voice and shout out loud and clear
    I’m a Scot by choice and I’ll use that voice because I like it here!
    Peace Always

  2. kaledonia on said:

    I visited London recently and loved visiting the British Museum and Tate Modern, walking no acrss Westminster Bridge and along to Trafalgar Square and the National Gallery. But it didnt feel like my country, and I felt like a tourist (which I was). My pride is in Scotland, my heart soars at a wonderful view, I feel educated, liberated, holding some kind of power when I am in Edinburgh or Glasgow. But above all I am a citizen of the world, confident and convenient need that my wee country can have a real place among all the other countries. All nationalities are welcome here : we have an ageing population and need to attract workers. Let’s all pull together and do it!

  3. It takes a Lancashire lass, to demonstrate to those who would say, ” I’m a true Scot, But”, what it is, to be proud to live, and work, in Scotland. Her adopted home. Where she chose to raise her children. Whilst being proud, of her English roots, is determined, and proud, to claim the right, to speak up for “her chosen” Scottishness. To support the country that ALL Scots, regardless of origin, can, if they so wish, really belive in, and love.

  4. Lorna Decamps on said:

    Exactly my sentiments, I was born and brought up in Derby and moved to Scotland 20 years ago when I met my husband. I have family and friends in England but find when I visit a longing to come home. I do not recognise the England that I left and it breaks my heart to hear people openly expressing anti immigrant feelings as though this was the norm and totally acceptable now that Brexit has vindicated their narrow views.
    My friends in England who I have always been politally aligned with feel cast adrift and I am so grateful that my home and family are in Scotland and that we have the option to take a more progressive path.

  5. alexander russell on said:

    being scottish is not about where you were born, being scottish is where you have decided to call your home. and I for one welcome all our scottish bretheren born outside of scotland

  6. If your heart is in Scotland then you belong here never mind what narrow minded bigots say. England is part of you as you say and that helped shape who you are but it is not all of you. When we get over this attitude of where you come from makes you either eligible or it doesn’t nonsense the better, we are one race living in one world and we all belong no matter where we chose to set up home.

    One race one world.

  7. heart of home on said:

    The point of Scotland being independent is for people living here to be independent of the UK Government and run this country on the terms of the people here.

    The point is to be independent of the mathematical bias that allows the choices and preferences of people in Scotland as a whole, to be ignored, en masse, to be subjugated by the choices of a larger number of people who have entirely different ( and I would say lesser ) circumstances and opportunities, hopes and aims in life.

    It is not the point of independence to allow a claim to a hardened, small minded, caricature ( as caracitured as the hey jimmy hat ) of ‘Scottishness’ to reign supreme.

    I have been so pleased to see many media comments recently from people in England saying ‘go ahead and gain Independence; I wish I could be there to take part; I am so sick of the peoples’ attitudes here’ , being greeted with, ‘come north, you are welcome!’.

    It is heartening to see that Scottish people in many numbers don’t join that absurd dichotomy of ‘let the refugees in’ but ‘we’re not letting the English in’.

    The bigots would call me ‘Scottish’ because of where I was born and where my parents were born, and my grandparents. It means I have every right with no quibble to meddle and voice and vote according to them.

    If I go back 3 generations I am 100% Irish. It means I could play football for their team but it does not give me the right to say how their country should be run; unless I lived there; went back where I sometimes feel a big part of my heart belongs.

    Why would anyone disagree with this? Other than to protect their own bigotry and call is ‘fair and reasonable’. It’s neither fair nor reasonable and never will be.

    Being brought up in Scotland with your ancestral habits and ways of speaking and beliefs about life and how to live; means we are complex and never truly one nationality or another.

    Wherever we are and have invested and given of ourselves and our families in and to maintaining and growing that society and community, we have a right to call that place home. We have the right to voice and vote because it is our home and because we have contributed to making this society ‘home’ for everyone else we are in touch with.

    What have the bigots as individuals, and as a group, contributed to make their society and ‘home’ as it is today?

  8. Great piece. I strongly relate to this. I’m a 55 yr old working Mum of 2 and I’ve lived and raised my family in Scotland for 21 years. I’m originally from London and still speak with a comical ‘only fools and horses’ accent. I’ve lived and worked in various European countries too but I’ve now lived here longer than anywhere and it’s my home. My daughters are Scottish.
    Sometimes I think it’s easier to see the bigger picture if you’re looking at it from a different perspective and it has always been obvious to me that Scotland is a different country with a unique culture and way of being.
    In all these years I’ve never experienced anti English sentiment until I donned my Yes badge. We must persevere with the civic campaign strategy from the first referendum and not lower ourselves to the level the No side fell to. Onwards and upwards to Independence, next time we will win.

  9. Few words: eternally accurate!

  10. Well said that English wummin!
    My wife is proud to come from Westmorland, but has lived here in Scotland for nearly 30 years!
    Reared 4 proud Scottish kids, and all of us want to live in an independent Scotland

  11. Gill Steelenson on said:

    Just want to post an article I drafted here, your experience and thoughts mirror mine. I am an English bird, lived here 20 years and my kids have been born here. I love this Country too and desperately want it to be independent. I too feel sickened by whats happening in my place of birth, when people I always thought were reasonable start talking about England being a ‘Hotel thats run out of rooms’ to excuse anti-immigrant sentiment. My retort is ‘Just build some more rooms…!’ Anyhow my thoughts below…Well that’s it, I have had enough, enough of the carping and accusations. I feel a duty to protect my dear friends and fellow citizens from the endless slurs on their collective character. People in Scotland are not anti-English.

    There I said it, the last behemoth of some anti-independence journalists and supporters of the union. I have to face off these accusations, tell it like it is, well for an English person living in Scotland. I feel it is my duty to my fellow fair-minded Scots to stick my head above the parapet, call out what I. i feel are the lies.

    How can I declare it thus? Well based on 20 years of living and working in Scotland, that’s twenty years of living, visiting and meeting people from all over this bonnie place, from Canna and Lewis to Aberdeen, Dumfries, Cumnock and Wick and hundreds of places in between. It’s been an unmitigated pleasure.

    I have only one single negative memory clearly based on my English-ness, which I feel is the exception that proves the rule. It was when I was manning my local Yes stall, an older angry Scottish ‘No’ voter told me to ‘Go Home’, the situation wasn’t helped when I said ‘Well that would be about 6 miles away…’. But I understood he was angry, threatened by a living oxymoron, how on earth could I be an English person supporting independence? How??? Nationalists are anti-English aren’t they? His only reaction was I think fear and then anger.

    But apart from that solitary incident in the heady days of September 2014, there hasn’t been another. No snide comments or even a hint of hostility to this loud, southern sounding, tall English bird stravagingaround. On massive construction sites, in government meetings, at highland shows, playgroups, pubs, bothies and around kitchen tables, not a sausage of anti-English sentiment have I heard.

    How else can I back up my assertions? Asking every single English friend I know, nothing negative to say. Really? Tell me, it will be anonymous, any anecdotes? No Really nothing…no hate or half whispered comments, nada, rein, nothing.

    I moved here in 1995 bright eyed, I voted Yes, Yes to a Scottish Parliament without a real or deep understanding of the politics but it seemed logical and sensible to me. I was a ‘don’t know’ in 2013, so researched the arguments and realised that it seemed democratically decent to be independent, just rational. By then I had had children and a clearer understanding of my adopted homelands cultural and political differences with England.

    Dare I say it, what is wrong with celebrating a places culture and identity it’s what I love about visiting other countries, difference. Surely it is what you DO with this sentiment. If you use it to ostracise and exclude other people it is bad. But that’s not my experience in Scotland, I’ve been warmly embraced. A huge Fàilte from the Gaeltacht for my stumbling attempts to learn the language, my activism in supporting it, Gaelic the language my children are being educated in.

    Possibly because I have lived half my life in England and half my life here it feels not at all surprising that Scotland as a Country would want to be independent. Maybe it seems clearer to me with my Sassenach perspective and really what IS the big deal. The people who live in a place are best placed to run it, will do mostly a good job, based on what’s been done since 1997.

    But now, now I am angry, how dare some hacks say these things about my community, my fellow citizens. Maybe there are vast swathes of English people who have had abuse, but I haven’t met any. Some evidence instead of assertions from non-Sassenachs would be good. However, when it comes to it I have only my experience and it’s been positive, I and 500,000 fellow English people probably wouldn’t want to live here if it wasn’t.

    God love you, people of Scotland and thanks it’s been a blast these last 20 years, here’s to another 20 more. Scotland has been good to me and now I want to repay the debt.

  12. Cameron Durie on said:

    That was just as i remember my mum who was a lancashire lass in the mills (rochdale) and lived rest of her life in scotland fife.
    Loved my connections as a small boy in coronation style houses running bout streets….lovely aunties.
    God bless your courage mamm.

  13. What a lovely post again. I always feel an affinity with what you write – maybe cos I’m 49 with 5 kids too, maybe because although I’m Scottish my partner is Danish and also convinced he should have a say in the place where he lives and where his kids were born. Looking forward to your next offering 🙂

  14. twathater on said:

    Thank you ALL for all your wonderful , uplifting and positive comments about your experience and integration within Scotland and the Scottish people , sometimes people are so used to what they have that they take it for granted , it takes views from a different perspective to really appreciate that what we really do have is a beautiful country , blessed with an abundance of natural resources , and willing and eager to use these resources to the betterment of ALL her citizens adopted or otherwise .

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