WHEN Macy Gray walked on stage the heavens opened. She was dressed in a light brown winter coat and cuddled herself to ward off the cold night air that had descended on Rouken Glen. The audience danced in the fields below her as rain-soaked grass turned to mud.

The surrounding sights could have been drawn from a picture album of ­Glastonbury or even Woodstock, women dancing like dervishes in multi-coloured wellies and hands thrusting into the air like a pagan ­ritual. Her cover version of Radiohead’s epic outsider anthem, Creep was as brilliantly unexpected, the now infamous words – “I’m special, so fucking special” rousing through night across the settled suburban homes of Clarkston.

Macy Gray’s real name is Natalie ­McIntyre and although she sounds like she’s from Carluke she was born and raised in Canton, Ohio a steel town which specialised in manufacturing ball bearings.

Macy seemed to be very much at home in Rain Town. A mad joyfulness had erupted in the rain as people of all ages swelled the crowd, wee boys playing ­football, an infant girl on her dad’s head, if there was an average age it was probably around 40 and you could have bottled the optimism. I wanted the next referendum to be held there and then, this was the hopeful, ­romantic and defiant Scotland that I love.

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One by one the artists on stage ­returned the specialness. Most admitted it was the first time they had performed live in 18 months and some even admitted to the crowd that they thought they might never play live again. It was a post-Covid ­celebration, the security had checked ­lateral flow results at the gate but once inside, the vast acreage of Rouken Glen opened to a glimpse of freedom.

If I had regrets for the music, it was for the underground club scene that Macy Gray had emerged from, still battling with enclosed spaces, ventilation issues, the challenges of social distancing and vagaries of the new vaccine certification policies.

Nothing ages you quite like pop music. If you were an 18-year-old Scottish teenager when Elvis was first played on the radio in 1954 you are now 85-year-old. If you bought Please Please Me, The Beatles first number one on its release date in February 1963 as a 15-year-old, you are now in your mid-70s.

Nor am I off the hook. If you were a ­student when Wigan Casino opened in 1974, you are now denying that you are 67 but probably accepting that your days of spinning, backdropping, and cramming your face with amphetamine are over.

Much as I enjoy recalling the tricks that youth has played on my own generation, I am mystified by one incontrovertible fact, that the generation that have been most indulged in life, the so-called baby boomers born between 1946 and 1964 during the post-World War II baby boom, are the least likely to embrace change in Scotland.

Every time a new poll on Scottish ­independence is published it is the rock ‘n’ roll generation that seems to dig in its heels. How could they grow up to be so implacably against Scotland having the most basic level of democracy?

A recent Panelbase poll, took a deep dive into age-group demographics, and revealed that among voters’ under-35 a “massive 72%” are inclined towards ­independence. Signs were more optimistic among Macy Gray fans and the electronic dance-music generation too. Among those aged from 35-54 years old, 59% of voters supported Yes.

As we know to our cost, the situation is reversed in the highest age group, where only 38% of the over-55s support ­Scotland becoming an independent country.

This stubbornness among baby ­boomers was a major reason that the last Indy Ref was lost. For Yes to win next time round, any future referendum must understand the motivations of the over 50s in a ­deeper and more nuanced way. The Yes campaign failed to do that last time out.

ECONOMIC power and perceptions of security lies at the heart of it all. By the early 2000s, many baby boomers were looking towards retirement. Borrowing became so cheap that some investors made rather risky decisions to get better returns. Financial analysts call this the “seeking yield” problem and had seduced many into equating quality of life with property and financial gain.

In the United Kingdom, the rate of home ownership of baby boomers was 75%. It was an ideological shift that strengthened Tory values across the UK, including Scotland.

Nor did it stop there, second home growth has been formidable and often ­detrimental to young people from ­highland and coastal Scotland trying to get on the housing ladder.

Family values have remained ­stubbornly consistent throughout the lifetime of the baby-boomers and voting as a family ­mission was a way of life. I grew up in a family where voting Labour was as natural as breathing. It was for many an act of faith.

Older generations traded in another currency that is supremely difficult to budge – a questionable sense of wisdom.

The older ones had lived through a war, many more through brutal economic change, which in Scotland came with the Tory inspired years of deindustrialisation.

Across a lifetime the drip feed of Scotland’s dependency culture took hold, and many came to believe that slogans like “broad-shoulders” and the “Union dividend” were established fact. Some even seemed to relish the idea that Scotland was a basket-case.

These were the people that the traditional media tended to reflect in order to sell newspapers and so the anxieties thrown up by Project Fear were readily reflected in their opinions.

But now, the age group that most ­readily voted No, is having to come to terms with a major flaw in their grand certainties. They are witnessing first-hand the ­failures of Brexit and having to ­rationalise that their own children and grandchildren will grow up materially poorer than they did.

=Some of you may remember the last few hopeful days of the referendum in 2014 when it began to dawn that the truculence of older voters, might swing the result. A last gasp campaign strategy was pulled together. The idea was that young people should meet up with their grandparents and canvas their support. The script was hokey but it carried a powerful emotional truth. “Gran, you have given me everything and you have always wanted me to do well, do one last thing for me Vote for my future. Vote Yes”.

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Inside the emotional wrapper was a hugely important observation. If older people are to be brought round it will not be through hectoring or through humiliation, it will not be through rallies or ­social media rants it will be through gentle ­persuasion, often from within the trusted security of their own family.

Next time round there needs to be a clearer focus on increasing pensions and reminding people that the broad shoulders of the Union have delivered the lowest pensions in Europe.

Equally, a focus on defending the NHS from privatisation and being sold to the USA will nudge others.

These are issues that emotionally resonate for a generation that sees post-war reconstruction as a high point in national achievement. They do not want the institutions they grew up with eroded by the Conservative Party in England.

Many can be won over but it starts now.