Scotland’s first day as a better nation (gaun yersel)
I’ve always been sceptical of people who take pride in their country. Not in the cleanliness of its streets, say, or its flora; that, in itself, isn’t always suspicious.
I mean pride in a notion that’s political and, by definition, subjective.
Having said this, I feel proud of Scotland today: I’m proud of the vessel and all who sail in her.
I’ve been following the #sp11 hashtag on Twitter to almost no avail for much of the last day.
A quirk of living at the far end of Earth is that your social network suffers terribly. The nine-hour time-difference means I spend my days checking and posting on Facebook and Twitter while the lion’s share of people I care most about are tucked up in their beds.
Occasionally, at midday Oz-time, 3am UK-time, I’ll see a little flurry of activity, an old friend getting radge or loved-up on their iPhone. Fine. But that alone can’t sustain you. The rest of the time the UK stream is empty.
Today, walking home from the train station, studying my phone, I was already thinking about Scotland – because of the election, but also because I’d been watching Kirstie and Phil doing a TV show from Loch Fyne yesterday night.
It’s getting cold here now, and dark, and I’m pining more than I thought I would for the light-nights-a-go-go feeling of home.
I was reflecting on the lime-green grass you get in Scotland, versus the dull-green variety here, when I saw the #sp11 Twitter hashtag returning to life. Great, I thought, great.
Suddenly, there was @MalcFlemming giving it: “#FF for @NicolaSturgeon”; there was @RosieMKane giving it: “SNP wins Britain’s got Talent, X Factor and Post Code Challenge”; there was @JimMurphyTalks (oh please, let it be the real Jim Murphy) giving it: “FFS, have held ma boaby better than we’re holdin’ seats :(”.
There were some strong new-morning vibes, and Alasdair Gray-inspired riffing, of which these are just a handful: @STVRoss Garner: “Is that the sun coming up?”; @weesimon: “Off to work in the very first day of a better nation”; and @macdonke: “What a morning, what a country. Everything changes”.
Get a grip. Only joking.
It’s not morning here, but night time and rainy. I’m listening to Radio Scotland’s Election Special on my laptop. At the time of writing the numbers are:
SNP: 55 (estimated 68)
Labour: 26 (worst result since 1921)
Tories: 9 (cough)
Lib Dem: 3 (including Orkney and Shetland)
The worst bit’s not being part of it – all that wild, end-of-the-war snogging on Sauchiehall Street that will define (and this evening create) a generation: sailors kissing nurses, bunting on the streets …
The SNP winning Shettleston? As Jim Murphy would have it: FFS.
You just have to be proud, pull yer pudding at the other side of the planet, enjoy.