Remembering the horrors of poverty and fascism Hamish Henderson wrote the great anthem of Scottish freedom – an anthem that combined the hopes of international socialism with the vision of independence.
The song commemorates John McLean, the great hero, who was imprisoned in the dungeons of Edinburgh Castle during WW1 and died as a result of the TB he contracted there, made worse by his giving his coat to a man who did not have one.
“Roch the wind in the clear day’s dawin
Rough the winds in the clear day’s dawning.
Blaws the cloods heelster-gowdie ow’r the bay
Blows the clouds helterskelter over the bay
But there’s mair nor a roch wind blawin
But there’s more than a rough wind blowing
Through the great glen o the warld the day.”
Through the great glen of the world today.
The gist of the song
There is a rough wind blowing across the glens. If you believe in freedom, you are welcome here and we will do what we can to give you homes and food. We were in an Empire that divided the world and now we want to be part of the healing – all races, especially those that cursed us, welcome.
I am hit by the sheer terror that seems to be hitting my friends in England – the liberal, decent people I worked and lived beside for over 20 years – these people are mostly professionals with left wing attitudes, lots of education and huge amounts of skills. All are horrified. I have never known people talk about exit plans and they seem very afraid.
I would like to say that this fear is groundless but with what we have seen happen in our lifetimes, we cannot say that. We have all watched stable democracies, united countries descend into levels of economic anguish and violence that we would have thought impossible. Because of the census, they now know religions and sexuality, ethnicity, all that bastards need to be able to purge and remove.
The abdication of leadership in the English political parties is astonishing. The big parties of Government are in disarray – only the right and far right seems capable of functioning at the moment – it is hard to believe they would not storm home in any election — and in England there is a state that has incomparable data on its citizens and without the discipline of the European courts, can do anything it likes.
Scotland is clear it wants to stay in the European Union – it seems inconceivable to me that they would not take us; we share the values, the beliefs and we want to be in it. Yesterday, many, many of my colleagues in IndyRef reported the same phenomenon; ardent unionists coming up and saying that we have no choice but the SNP now. Good. Now, lets get this country sorted!
There is no shame in people changing their minds when the world has altered. The deal we were offered in 2014, to be an autonomous part of a UK within the EU, is dead. The choice is clear – rule from a resurgent right wing OR to be part of the progressive democracies of Europe. It is one or the other – it cannot be both. So, no contest.
We have to be clear to our comrades in England and Wales that we will welcome them – not out of charity but because the ones who are in grief now are the best and the brightest. They will take with them their skills, their resources, their openness – these values, wealth and expertise that we need to be strong in the new Europe, whatever shape it takes.
Here, in the islands in particular, we have the space – our population is a fraction of what it was a hundred years ago. We have the land, buildings that can be rebuilt, hearth stones that can see fire again.
People are starting to use poly tunnels to make land fertile again – the information technology that means networking and distance working is possible. The infrastructure collapses and we just start growing more potatoes, neeps and carrots, not exciting but we will get by.
Above all, we have peace and safety – this we have to share now. None of this can or will be easy but we can do the nation building again – become something positive and wonderful.
Lots of people are writing about how to get a Scottish passport. Well, there is no such thing. We use the same EU passports as everyone else and are as committed to the free movement of peoples as the rest of the European Union.
in the referendums on our future since 1997, the voting criteria has been that all European Union citizens had a say, and this was extended to those above 16.
In 2014, it was clear that everyone who was on the voting role could become a citizen. I see no reason to think that anything would be different now. To be part of Scotland’s future, we don’t care about who your grandparents were, but about you, and that you are prepared to make the commitment to the country to live here.