Three weeks. It’s only been three weeks since the Independence Referendum. It feels like about a year though, in the way it always does when you’re grieving something really important that’s been snatched away. I’ve been wallowing a bit, like most of the Yessers I suppose, then I’ve been angry (furious), then this week I’ve been just feeling a big yawning gap really – where for the last year or so there’s been something positive and hopeful and endlessly fascinating in the news to keep an eye on, now there’s just ISIS and Ebola and UKIP. I’ve stopped paying much attention to it for the sake of my mental health. I’ve still got twitter and facebook though, and some of the news from those sources has been positive – news of pro-Yes party membership skyrocketing, of the Women For Independence meeting in Perth that was far better attended than the Lib Dems conference the other week.
Social media shows you all sorts, unedited except by the kinds of people you follow or are friends with of course. One of the things it’s been showing me this week is that people have started calling George Square in Glasgow ‘Independence Square’ and ‘Freedom Square’ since it became a focus for the Yessers in the days leading up to the referendum, and has remained one since then partly due to Glasgow’s Needy using it as a drop-off point for foodbank donations. Now I get the temptation to make something your own, to try and keep the positivity going, not to let go of it. But I don’t like George Square being called something else. If you call it Independence Square you break the link with Red Clydeside. 90,000 Glasgow workers didn’t gather in Independence Square to demand a 40-hour week. The Red Flag wasn’t raised in Independence Square, the Riot Act wasn’t torn out of a Sheriff’s hands before he could read it out in Independence Square, 10,000 troops armed with howitzers and machine guns weren’t sent to Glasgow to quell the populace after anything that happened in Independence Square. Tanks weren’t stationed in the Gallowgate because of anything that happened in Independence Square.
Glasgow and Scotland should keep hold of that link. I don’t want happy-clappy thoughtless nationalism. I want a socialist independent Scotland. My saltire will have a red flag flying beside it. And George Square should stay George Square.