Like the Bad Fairy trumped by the hero of the tale, I left my last blog (little more than a week ago, I’m deliriously proud to say) with the promise you haven’t heard the last of me! – and indeed here I am again with some more weighty and insightful – well, insights: on the matter of our glorious Referendum, that is.
While atavisms, as I was explaining last time round, are important to me – in the same sort of way that flu, or VAT, are important – I’m not sure that the referendum is. This has something to do with my age, and I think I should state here and now that if lots of people under the age of forty want to tell me which way I should vote, I shall gladly do a tally of the various goadings I’ve had when September comes and vote as the majority dictates. I wouldn’t like the next generation to be thinking that whichever mess they’re left with can be ascribed to the bad decisions made by people who cast a vote whose consequences they would never have to live with.
At the moment I’m disinclined to vote yes. Why? Well it’s quite nice to have all the nob-ends doing their destructive thing in London, which is nice and far away in comparison with Edinburgh, which I visited last Tuesday and got back in time for tea; so that’s a bit too close for comfort. There’s nothing worse than nob-ends who speak the same language as you (and who you’d therefore expect to know better). Plus, when I ask myself the question: who, historically, has mainly screwed over the Scots? the answer is unequivocally: the Scots.
On the other hand, the Scottish psyche does need a hefty boot up the rear, and perhaps being (supposedly) in charge of our own affairs would encourage us as a nation to quit moaning and get on with it. So that would be a yes-vote.
On the other hand again (I’m thinking I might have as many hands as Durga the warrior – though maybe even ten isn’t enough), I do worry that taking Scotland out of the political map of Britain would do severe damage to the cause of socialist decency in England – it would be tantamount to a kick in the teeth for many, particularly in the north and west; and, ever inclined to be right-ward leaning, England could well lurch towards some form of National Socialism, which in the long run would probably be bad for Scotland, let alone England and Wales. And here I would mutter, never forget the atavisms: nations which once used to go to war could probably grub up their roots and do it again. So I suppose that would be a no-vote.
I also half-suspect that a Yes vote would be precisely what the Tories are after, and anything the post-Thatcher breed of Tories want is probably what I wouldn’t under any circumstances like to see.
All that said, I think we’re looking at the entire question upside-down. It isn’t really independence for Scotland we should be debating, but independence for London. London has aspirations as an international super-state, and I say let it have what it wants. Vote independence for London and London can continue to be sublimely parochial while the rest of Britain could get down to the job of forming a real nation, presumably along federal lines. That’s what I’d vote for, if I was a Londoner, and even if I wasn’t (which I’m not).
I believe I never pointed out that finally, finally, after many months, I got some half-reasonable recording of my “vowel-stories” put up on the audio page. Having devoted so much, frequently despairing, energy to this project I completely overlooked the possibility of producing these stories as written works, so I’ve got my dear Marilyn on the job there trying to drum up interest among the publishing community. I’m not quite sure I quite like the sound of “the adventures of Big Ape and his friends in the jungle” though, which seems to be the kind of direction she’s suggesting. I do have about another ten of these stories apart from the ones I’ve posted and – unable to stop myself – am starting to see that it would indeed be possible to put together a sort of coherent collection (coherent is a relative term). I’m sure if there were more than one publishing house in Scotland such awful dilemmas wouldn’t occur: in fact everything would be hunkydorie ever after, there’d be publishers falling over themselves to bring out National masterpieces, the Prince across the water would return, and we’d all nourish ourselves on shortbread.
Anyway, I’m now getting Ellie to tell me back the vowel-stories, which she does with great gusto – and it’s quite enlightening for me to be able to see which sections she reproduces word-for-word, presumably meaning that these were particularly felicitously constructed bits, from her point of view.
I’m sorry, the above should read “two publishing houses”. There is of course Ben and Stickman Press as well, and can I just remind everyone that The Story of Mouse is out there on the shelves, which was why I was in Edinburgh last week looking out small independent bookshops, and actually finding some! Keen on giving Mouse a whirl, what’s more.
Rachel has got herself ensconced in a Studio – half an hour’s drive away, and maybe she’s right and that’s the only way to do it, and I gaze greenly after her as she disappears off in her black diesel-cloud, then turn bleakly to view my own little cubby-hole (which, no, somehow I’ve never used this winter): the roof-beams are definitely bowing under the turf-roof, and there must be a seam in the membrane which, naturally, is letting in water – not a lot, but enough to subtly rot the boards in time; so, it’ll need a centre-post to support it, and that’s all going to take time, and besides I’m getting quite used to dodging around snatching the odd hour’s quietness amongst Maddy’s assaults from Alkaline Trio and Ellie’s reiterations of BBC’s Merlin series and audio versions of Narnia. As I’ve just added some more radiators to our heating system, the number of slightly warmer places to malinger in has grown (I still haven’t given up on the toilet as a Quiet Place, of course, even though it’s wholly radiator-free and indeed, particularly when a brisk westerly is blowing, arouses in me some interesting speculations about the origin of the surname Winterbottom). Annie is distinctly displeased at the amount of heat which her back-of-couch radiator now has to share with other, less deserving, parts of the property. I keep thinking there must be some kind of moral here for the Referendum issue – though I’m not sure which of us would come out unmasked as the villainous Tory.