Freedom Unfreedom Square

September 26, 2015 at 8:23 am (Rosie B, scotland)

One of the by-products of the Scottish referendum was the re-emergence of Tommy Sheridan (name usually prefixed by “disgraced perjurer) who has refashioned himself from socialist to nationalist trying to lead a popular movement called Hope over Fear. Having been refused permission by Glasgow Council to hold a rally in George Square, Glasgow (which the Yessers like to call “Freedom Square”) the rally went ahead anyway.

I thought it mean of Glasgow Council to refuse permission. Yes rallies are not violent and don’t call for much policing. There’s plenty of music among the ranting, bouncy castles and a lot of it is a Yes family day out. However having taken over George Square, Sheridan’s gang then refused full access to journalists, even from the pro-indy Sunday Herald. Give that man territory…


Here is a sharp and observant – and rather moving – account of the event at A Thousand Flowers. I would guess the writer is a former colleague of Sheridan’s. S/he is anxious at the kind of nationalism arising in a movement which took pride in its distance from the blood and soil kind.

One speaker told the crowd about how “We had repelled the Vikings…and the Danes” coz obviously, a Scotland which gets rid of foreigners is something to be celebrating in the current context.  “Water is going over the border…whisky revenues are at an all time high.”As he furiously bellowed about “traitors”, a woman behind me shouted “burn the Witch” and I breathed a sigh in relief, realising I wasn’t alone in finding all this slightly troublesome.

We were then treated to a speech by “Irish Supporters of Hope over Fear” who talked of “a proud Celtic nation about to break with their foreign masters” and saluted “the bravery of the Scottish people in fighting for freedom throughout the world” (presumably in colonies like, erm, Ireland, where Scots have done a great job shooting the natives at the behest of the British state for the last 300 plus years).

Following Pat Lee delivering good wishes to “a 9 year old celebrating their 10th Birthday today” (perhaps a bit prematurely), we had a nice happy song about dying Westminster paedophiles followed by another one about Pandas, obviously. …

Most gallingly, as always, there was the lie that today represented “all of the Yes family.”   This didn’t feel like “the Yes movement” or “the independence movement” as was claimed, it felt like Tommy stoking a burgeoning nationalist movement, one which has strengthened significantly in the last year and which is being fed by Sheridan’s calculation that he can ride on its coattails to Holyrood in 2016.  The least he can do is sell T-shirts, CDs and beer to it for as long as he can.

There were no Greens, no SSP/RISE/socialists who weren’t in Solidarity, no representatives from Women for Independence, even Robin McAlpine was under orders not to show his face after the furore following his last appearance alongside the suntanned superman.   Come to think of it, there wasn’t a single SNP speaker either, at least not in an official capacity.…

As I fought back the tears this time last year I wrote, “My hope is that the independence we are creating in Scotland continues to resist the forces of nationalism.”  I sincerely hope it does – but after today’s event, I fear we’ve got a long fight ahead.


  1. John R said,

    Aww, whit’s the matter wi’ ye aww? Oor Tommy is the only yin that kin lead the masses oan tae Liberation in aw that! First Scotland and then (via Cupids in Manchester) he’ll cum oan doon south tae lead the masses there tae!

    Red Tories Oot!

    And, if yae don’t like it, well, we’ve goat oor safe place where we kin bevy tae oor heart’s content and show jist how Internationalist we are! Apart fae the English, of course! Jist kiddin’, some English are aw right, if they jist keep their mooth shut!

    Ye aw right there, Jimmy!

    Hey, where’s my pal? Ye know, the wan thit keeps goan oan aboot the alliance between the BNP ‘n’ the Brit Left?

    By the way, when we talked aboot kickin’ oot the Danes, ye ken that Katrine Trolle (who hid an affair wi’ oor Tommy) hid tae beat it oot o’ Scotland back tae Denmark when she told the truth, eh, ah mean, conspired wi’ the Murdoch Empire against the Greatest Socialist ever!

  2. Political tourist said,

    Will the AWL run round council estates in Coatbrigde to save the EU?

    • Glasgow Working Class said,

      Pt, what do you mean by save the EU? From what exactly.

      • Political tourist said,


  3. Steven Johnston said,

    Tommy Sheridan is a has-been, I doubt he’d get 1% of the vote if he stood in an election.

    • Glasgow Working Class said,

      I am sure some Scottish wummin must be attracted to the great hairy beast. He could talk the drawers aff anyone including Pt.

  4. februarycallendar said,

    I agree that “separatists” is a perfectly fine insult for those who advocate EU withdrawal, but I think it’s much more necessary to run round council estates in, say, West Bromwich to save it.

    The writer here makes a good case and I admire his/her passion and condemnation of this sort of dubious politics, but ultimately I fear that he/she is as deluded that “independence without nationalism” could dominate an independent Scotland as Billy Bragg was in his extraordinary conviction that it would unleash a new spirit of Leftism in England, rather than cause an avalanche of resentment and fear, and freeze millions of visible minorities out of the only country they know.

    But then if you had said to the Paisleyites who probably prevented a landslide Yes in West Central Scotland, at least, that you hoped their No votes would win out because you didn’t want grime MCs to be even less accepted within the broader culture in England than they are today, they would have thought that such a lack of acceptance was a thoroughly good idea and might even have considered voting Yes if they thought it would increase it. So people like me were relying on people with almost nothing in common with us throughout the referendum, and would again.

    But what people like Sheridan are invoking is narrow and petty-minded enough that it even matches the tendency in England which looks to Scottish independence to endorse its sheer nastiness, which is some kind of perverse anti-achievement. I fear it would win out, for very much the same reasons that its mirror would win out in England, but I agree that – unlike its English counterpart, or so it appears to me – it isn’t the only and sole face of Scottish or Celtic (hard C) nationalism generally. But then plenty of people thought the 1979 revolution of Iran would turn out genuinely socialist (and it might be significant that those who think it actually is so today are disproportionately likely to sympathise with Scottish independence).

  5. Political tourist said,

    Or we just hang around waiting on the Labour Party sorting it all out.
    Britain doesn’t look such a certainty still being in the EU two years from now.
    Farage and his left and right fellow travellers are hardly likely to roll over, are they.
    And if Cameron see’s it going against him and supports Brexit???
    What then?
    Serious question, what would the likes of the AWL do if the vote goes the Ukip way.
    I’d reckon the left in the UK would be in tatters politically.

  6. Steven Johnston said,

    Why would any socialist want to save the EU? Surely all they are interested in is socialism and nothing but.

    • Political tourist said,

      Theory goes the soggy oggies think the EU can become a socialist superstate.
      They’ll probably go into hyperdrive during the referendum.
      Be interesting to see what rightwingers they work with this time.
      In the name socialism of course.

      • Steven Johnston said,

        But if there is a state…it can’t be socialism!

      • charliethechulo said,

        No, the AWL have already made it clear that they won’t work with any pro-business pro-EU campaign and have, in fact, already launched a Campaign for a Workers Europe.

        Very different from the Scottish “Yes” campaigners who’ve lined up with the bourgeois SNP …

  7. Political tourist said,

    Good luck with that.
    You line up with the Blairites if you wish.
    I’ll stick to the 1975 soggy oggy version and stay nuetral.

    • Steven Johnston said,

      When unemployment was 1.5 million and inflation was 16% and people still believed you could spend your way out of austerity!

      • Political tourist said,

        That was the AWL or what ever they were called back then line on Europe.
        Didn’t the soggy oggies start out in the old IS, international socialists, that went on to be the SWP.
        My memory was of most of the left, trots and Stalinists, wanting to leave the EEC in 1975.
        The AWL line was bizarre considering it wasn’t the present day EU but a capitalist trading bloc.

  8. Steven Johnston said,

    Yah, faced between 3 choices, campaigning to stay in the EU, out of it or World socialism, why would any socialist opt for the first two?

  9. Political tourist said,

    Good luck to Jeremy in Scotland.
    He’ll need it with all the rightwingers still in place.

    • Steven Johnston said,

      What could be more right-wing than working within capitalism? 😉

    • Glasgow Working Class said,

      What actually happened to the so called lefties that abandoned Labour for the SNP. We now have a silent left in Scotland. The SNP are carrying out old Tory policies, eg: refusing to tax the rich and council tax freeze starving the public services.

  10. Political tourist said,

    Murphy, Alexander, Curran, Dugdale and Lamont all claim to be left-wing.
    Were they lying?

    • Glasgow Working Class said,

      Was that a rhetorical question!

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