When I am an old woman I shall wear SNP yellow

And under Tory rule I shall fritter my pension on the pound rail

in a charity shop and then say I’ve no interest in Costa del Sol.

I shall plonk down on the pavement with a begging bowl

And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells in your head

For I will be an angry old trout.

I will not soldier on, pay bedroom tax for my cupboard, use food bank

And be told to be seen to be grateful.

Suddenly I am old, wearing SNP yellow

And with a seething desire to rip dishevelled mop

Off fat, bike-helmeted toff with japes

Not to mention setting on fire his posh new drapes in Downing Street.

Next, I expect I shall probably spit outside Westminster

And maybe that will not be that.

(With apologies to “Warning” by Jenny Joseph)

STILL undecided about your vote in indyref2? Fine, let me begin not with facts and figures a Google click away for anyone, nor with insights of television debates or newspaper reviews by informed journalists, but more an eruption from this run-of-the-mill pensioner.

Firstly, why are you sitting on a fence? Fear? Franklin D Roosevelt said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Untrue. Who is really fuelling your fear? Before indyref1, Tories birthed Project Fear by insulting Scotland’s resources, talent and size. Look at thriving Norway, a country of similar size, for a vision of what our future could be if we regained independence – and it will be a regaining. We were not always under England’s Oxford brogues.

Today, some still mock Alex Salmond for his vision of a far-northern “arc of prosperity” – “Norway has breezed through recession … Guess which other country in northern Europe is backed by a trillion pounds of remaining value of oil and gas in the North Sea?” Ya dancer! Why be afraid to go it alone?

Fear was also instilled into us on February 25, 2014, when during a television debate, Johann Lamont (regrettably a fellow Glaswegian) announced Scots were “not genetically programmed to make political decisions”.

Lamont’s derogatory remarks about the capabilities of Scots to govern themselves are tripe. Scotland has an epic history of talent – from television to telephone to penicillin, etc. The list of pioneering Scots is endless. So, why did she and Westminster say we could never go it alone? Get ballistic, despite some saying if you get angry, you lose the argument. Fear this! Swallow that! Enough!

The National: Sunday National Yessay Logo - Damian Shields

Anger can lead to positive change. Suppressed anger can lead to hypertension and depression. With Covid and its resultant isolation we have had more than our share of anxiety. Thus, “no” to anxiety, and “Yes” to Scottish Independence!

Another rage-inducing phrase is we are “too poor, too wee, too stupid”. This phrase was coined by John Swinney, when saying what he thought England thought of us, and deviously twisted by those whose careers depend on the Union, those who luck out from undermining our national self-confidence. Unionists are even asserting Scotland’s voice is not that of its elected government. Huh? Tories have not won an election in Scotland in more than half a century!

But the “too poor” bit is the nub. Tories are frantic to persuade Scots they could not afford to run a “normal country”. Be warned. The UK Government is not a philanthropic organisation that is constantly subsidising Scotland, and it is terrified we move on the idea that the lives of millions of Scots would be improved if control of Scottish resources was in Scottish hands.

Trepidation worsened at the sight of the faux clown Johnson mind-bogglingly dressed in navvy gear (annoyingly almost always yellow). Does he practise austerity in his costly mirror? The price tag of his Downing Street flat refurbishment is the cost of more than a hundred low-cost houses, and many are homeless.

Beware of “Etonians bearing garble” as evident in Covid briefings. Compare it with that of our competent First Minister. Both Nicola Sturgeon and Salmond were born into the working-class, and understand the disparity between working-class lives and wealthy lives.

The National: Scotland's former First Minister Alex Salmond and the then Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon at the launch of the White Paper on Independence

The right of self-determination is vital. It is imperative we gain all governing powers at country level. Remember, if we vote “No”, Westminster could dissolve the Scottish Parliament at a click of its fingers. And they will do it if we do not win indyref2. They never thought another Scottish independence referendum would arise. Fear might easily make them press that nuclear button. Remember, Tories are very fond of nuclear weapons, especially if they are situated in Scotland.

Sitting on the fence might result in a last-minute panic lucky-dip, ending up with a No vote. This must not happen. We face a desolate future if we do not win this next referendum. Your fellow Scots are depending on you voting “Yes”. Think with your head and your heart. Emotion is often based on damning historical hard facts, and history is repeating itself in more Westminster betrayals and calculated contempt of Scotland in the House of Commons.

Before indyref1, we were told we were equal in the UK “family of nations”, but the next day, Cameron outrageously beamed to camera, “English Votes for English Laws”, in full knowledge he was creating a situation in which Scottish MPs could not properly consider the Barnett consequentials on legislation deemed English only. Be warned, for the once Tory leadership candidate Michael Gove has again raised the prospect of axing the Barnett formula.

THE Tories leading us into Brexit has brought us woes. No information about the consequences of leaving the EU was made available to the public. And what about Boris Johnson’s “Brexit Bus Lie” stating the NHS would get an extra £350 million a week if we left the EU? Outrageous, and left unpunished.

Currently, Johnson is scouring around for trading partners. He has come up with America, who will flood our supermarkets with chlorinated chicken and genetically modified food. Tory Ruth Davidson (now in the House of Lords, turning her coat to the ermine side) promised voting No would guarantee our place in Europe. As for the promises of “extensive” new powers, the reality of that has been grim.

In 2014, Westminster said the way to protect Scotland’s place in Europe was to vote No. Well, some Scots did just that, and we all found ourselves being dragged out of the EU against our will.

READ MORE: Hogmanay 2039: Scotland as an independent nation in an uncertain world

The Tory legacy has always been shabby. In 1979, Margaret Thatcher became prime minister, and Scotland lost one-fifth of its jobs within the first two years of her term, not to mention state subsidies being pulled from mining, steel and textile industries. To cap it all, in 1989, Scotland was handed the poll tax a year ahead of England. It’s critical to vote Yes, for voting No means we will be condemning our grandchildren to demeaned lives in a United Kingdom that is not united in culture, aims, etc.

Think of what we Scots wanted versus what we have been given. Scotland does not want nuclear weapons. Currently, we have them. Scotland wants to be part of the EU. Currently, we are not.

You might be asking: “Why go over old ground?” Because we must analyse history to make today’s right choices. The first obvious right choice is to vote “Yes” in indyref2. Don’t forget that after the Union of the Crowns in 1603, England whisked away our most talented to London. Why was the court not established in Edinburgh? It would have been a different ball game if it had been. That first union was touted as beneficial to both sides, but turned out one-sided. What’s changed?

Shortly after the Union, attempts were made to silence our Scots language, it being deemed parochial. For years, Scotland’s ancient tongue was snubbed, and pupils belted for using it – the language spoken by their parents and grandparents.

Even in 1946, a report on primary education stated Scots “...is not the language of educated people anywhere, and could not be described as a suitable medium for education or culture”. Had they thought that by taking our tongue, they could silence us? In diminishing our tongue, they diminished much else of Scotland’s culture.

Thankfully, our Scottish Government passed the Education (Scotland) Act 2016 that established a process by which parents could request Gaelic Medium Primary Education from their education authority, and our Scots language is being revived.

A battlefield exists, and we should not confine it to the sports field. Warring on a patch of grass with a ball is a cop-out, playing on a field of illusion – much as I love football and rugby. Instead, let us take the war to the voting centres.

We must not forget our great writers of whom (in the independence context) the most noteworthy was a journalist and poet, Hugh MacDiarmid, who argued only a cultural revival could bring about conditions for the creating of Scotland as a political entity. As a founding member of the National Party of Scotland, forerunner of our present SNP, MacDiarmid was a towering political force in himself, although the party was not, at that time.

We have been brutally treated by the English government throughout history – from the Highland Clearances, when the British establishment tried to destroy the warring clan system that had assisted the Jacobite risings of early 18th century, to The Vow (September 16, 2014) never being honoured. That vow had pledged “extensive new powers” for the Scottish Parliament.

Tory promises have always come to nothing: promises of big investment in carbon capture technology, Fallon assuring ship-workers on the Clyde that a “No” vote would protect their jobs, Ruth Davidson promising voting “No” would guarantee our place in EU, etc.

The reality has been a damning showing-up of the Westminster Government’s real attitude towards Scotland. No wonder support for independence is growing, as it dawns on us how shoddily we are treated by Westminster.

The National: First Minister Nicola Sturgeon speaks to the media after delivering a Covid-19 update statement in the main chamber at the Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh. Picture date: Wednesday December 15, 2021. PA Photo. See PA story SCOTLAND Coronavirus. Photo

Nicola Sturgeon, an admirable woman, has always stressed Scotland wants to be part of the EU. During the 2014 referendum, the Better Together website said: “... if we no longer are members of the UK then it follows that we are no longer part of the EU.” The website followed this by saying that No means we stay in, we are members of the European Union. Any trust left?

Already, in supermarkets, we see the dire consequences of Brexit in food prices escalating. In our fields, fruit is rotting because thanks to Westminster we no longer have seasonal immigrants to pick our crops. Members of EU countries, after living here for decades, must now apply for British citizenship, or go.

You will have realised by now the choice facing voters will be very different from 2014, and voting Yes much more urgent. Worse is that in the aftermath of the Brexit vote, new suggestions are being raised by the Tory right wing (and others) about cutting Scotland’s budget further. Westminster is doing our heads in. Before indyref1, the No campaign stated “we are better placed to support the most vulnerable in Scotland”. Well, as part of his July 2015 Budget, George Osborne declared £12 billion cuts and changes to welfare and benefits, a blatant attack on the poorest and most vulnerable. The Child Poverty Action Group said the budget cuts damaged economic security of working families “with higher child poverty for millions and lower taxes for the better off”. So much for the future of our children.

READ MORE: Imagine a world where Scotland won the 2014 referendum

Our next great problem after Covid is suppressed is climate change. David Cameron argued for a “No” vote, asserting: “… when it comes to vital industries like green technology, the combination of a green investment bank sponsored by the United Kingdom Government and the many natural advantages that there are in Scotland can make this a great industry for people in Scotland – but we will do that only if we keep our country together”. An open threat, and ironically validating what we already know: Scotland has natural advantages.

Look out your window. Some of you will see food banks, exhausted, impoverished mothers, unemployed men with drawn faces, perhaps even a working-class lad who is a gang member because his future is empty. Others will see affluence, and thus no problem. All Scots must get politically informed and act on that.

Tory prime minister Theresa May never directly addressed the problem of low-income families, and May hand-holding with arch-climate denier Trump was cringeworthy. She cried when she left office. I did, too, but mine were tears of joy. Years ago, at a conference, she was handed a fake P45. If only it had been genuine. If we all vote Yes, we could hand P45s to all Tories.

Sometimes, you have to get angry to get things done. Get fuming, and vote Yes for a better and freer life. Jump off that fence on to Yes ground!

The Beginning