My Saltire has red in it

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.

george square


About furcoatnaenicks

Rants. Sporadically.
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2 Responses to My Saltire has red in it

  1. Jeanette Findlay says:

    I don’t care what it is called to be honest, places named after royalty are often re-named after a country becomes a republic. However, I totally agree with your sentiments. I don’t think thousands upon thousands of people suddenly became Scottish nationalists, they just wanted a better, fairer, more just country to live in and they thought this was the best/quickest way to get it. It would seem from the upsurge in pro-independence party membership and the numbers in George Square today that they still do.

  2. daibhidhdeux says:

    Point well taken, but, somehow, I don’t think the Red Clydesiders and John MacLean would have minded this spontaneous, popular re-naming.

    Rather, I suspect they might have welcomed it in that it is another popular manifestation of the people’s will linking our contemporary struggle to theirs in an unbroken revolutionary line despite the British state’s best efforts to annihilate the movement in Scotland and Scotland itself.

    Indeed, the repudiation of an imperialist place-name foisted on the citizens of Glasgow and Scotland by the British state, and its co-opted lackeys in its subsidiary “Jock” apparatus, might well have been applauded by them as an indicator of psychological growth on the part of the citizenry and their resultant confidence in thumbing their collective nose at the decadent and imploding might of the British state and their lickspittles in the City Chambers (whose jaickets seem to be on an increasingly shoogly peg despite the recent referendum set-back to the point of their imminent vanquishment forever from the democratic body politic of Glasgow and Scotland on the back of the truly Pyhrric victory that this event seems to be turning out to be for them).

    I also suspect as a member of the Workers Party of Scotland and a comrade of Matthew Lygate, that he, too, would have welcomed this popular re-naming of the centre of the city in defiance of the pro-British, governing elite; and, perhaps, it’s long overdue elsewhere in the land as we begin to take it back: A great reclaiming and re-naming and reconstruction in line with the will of the forward-looking citizenry mindful of their history.

    Perhaps, then, we should rejoice in this collective, popular re-naming of this Hanoverian vestige. And, perhaps and in tandem, we should be encouraging folk to think ahead to re-designing the square in a way that truly reflects our history: Erecting monuments and plaques and inter-active displays to MacLean, the Red Clydesiders, the 1820’s Revolutionaries et al in the long list of those gone before us who have brought us to this revolutionary tipping-point. Perhaps such a project in Glaschu and across the land and led by its people could serve to ignite our joint imagination even further?

    Anyway, many thanks for your post – it is very much appreciated.

    Yours fraternally

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