FEELINGS. There is so much I do not under-stand about the world, indeed the universe. A NEIGHBOUR and his son stopped by with late Christmas greetings and early Hogmanay thoughts. “Lang may yer lum reek” he smiled, and his 13-year-old boy asked: “What did you just say?”

I like these two people, we often blether, and the faither often lights up his vocabulary with Scots words from here. So it will be a braw day, and a mawkit mess that he had to deal with at his work last week. He has only the yin son, and as I questioned it became apparent that much of the vocabulary floated around and over the boy’s ears and was never heard.

Instead his mind was full of a new “virtual reality” set he had been given for Christmas, which took him right into worlds which I will never inhabit. Of course that is the way of things: generation changes to generation, the infrastructure around folks alters, and so the systems used to communicate change. I tried to speak of Rabbie Burns and Auld Lang Syne but his response was “Oh look at that spider.”

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I thought it best not to follow through with a reference to Robert the Bruce. Now of course there could be many a tale you can fussle up to counter the above, at least I really hope you can. My feeling is that there will be many a similar tale to be told.

Another thing that I find so difficult to grasp is folk who want to see a referendum given a solid date in the future before they feel they can be motivated to do something about promoting independence. Indeed why do we need a date, when there are still so many to convert to the cause? Independence is a journey, not a destination. Even when we have achieved independence we will still be on that journey of creating an updated version of our great and wonderful country. Maybe that is the point I was missing in the first paragraph, for much as I am gey depressed to hear expressions like “gonna”, I have to accept many people use this, just as they now start sentences with BUT, or AND, or BECAUSE, even though I feel they should not.

Of course when we do get a date, most likely a day around 18 months from now, that will ignite the blue touch paper, but in the meantime any of us who want independence are already using the time to promote the cause. Have you ever noticed how everyday products are continually advertised? Fizzy drinks, chocolate bars, whatever. We need independence to be on the lips, and in the minds, of the majority of Scottish people. Believe it or not, many rarely think about it, they are busy in their own virtual reality. They have a whole heap of emotions, and feelings, to deal with every day, many of which have a much higher priority in their lives.

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Whilst it may well help to have a brain full of answers to questions (The National publishes many “doorstep responses” under “Fact Check”, and there is also Scotland The Brief by Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp), the best plan of action I have seen requires no money, or leaflets, it merely requires conversation.

The important thing is to pose questions to the doubters, the Unionists and those who would vote No. Question and listen, then question the answers they give. No-one needs to be a genius to do this. Those of us who do this do it with friends, family, and strangers, it can take a moment, or a long time. Once practised it can be done at any time, anywhere, with just about anyone you meet. None of us need a referendum date to start to do this. It can be done face-to-face, or on the phone, by email or a text message. It could start, for example, “In the light

of all that has gone on in Westminster this past year, what are your thoughts, now, about an independent Scotland?” We listen and compliment: “What you say is interesting” – there is no point in contradicting, there is no point in arguing – and ask for more detail. “Why do you say that?” Keep asking questions. Remember that all the logic in the world is less likely to help a person to Yes than when they find the emotion. It is emotion that motivates us, and that is an internal force which can not be strapped on from the outside. Ultimately it is how we will all feel in our newly independent nation. So as Morris Albert sang, 47 years ago: “Feelings, nothing more than feelings.”

Lang may yer lum reek.

Cher Bonfis
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