Saltires of the night

I don’t really know how it feels to be hungry – I’ve often been peckish, fancied some chocolate, a packet of crisps, a Bounty, cashew nuts. There’s been mental diets where I pretended to do without for hours on end and survived on 10 Benson & Hedges. I’ve even gone without drink, for a couple of days. There were hospital stays with operations requiring a slight degree of fasting, followed by vomiting and queasiness afterwards. Sometimes I was a lazy besom and couldn’t be arsed cooking so toast and cheese was fine for a day or two. But I cannot describe any of these experiences as hunger.

I’ve woken with a hell of a thirst after a bender and felt like a complete bamstick, with my tongue glued to the roof of my mouth and panic in my breast. But I could always stagger towards a tap, fill a glass with clean Scottish water and live with a couple of paracetamol to fight another day.

Times in my life my hosts have run out of hospitality and had to replace cola with creamola foam, Canada Dry with Irn Bru, and even Buckie with 20:20. But, I haven’t starved or thirsted. I hope I never do.

I’m ageing now and beginning to wonder, maybe you are too, about what hunger, starvation, thirst, and satisfaction mean and bring to us. I’m getting hungry, not for food, nor even results, but for potential. Hungry for hope. For change. For knowledge.

I regard my hands, my fingers, and I see that they got wrinkled, dehydrated, thirsty and starved, like my brain and imagination. That old, familiar youthful glow departed some way back, am not sure when. It’s certainly not returning. I don’t mind too much, for every line has a name of a friend, a memory, a cherished experience. Did I say I lie a lot? I would far rather have my friends, dance, sing and laugh in their company than toast their passing, their retirement, their forgetfulness. But times change and we can’t stand still. There will though be new friends. But some of my old friends lost their way because life was too hard on them; they were cast aside because they were too ill, too poor, too stupid, just too wee to be counted worthy. Are you following me yet?

There can’t be a soul in Scotland today oblivious to the regard the UK has for us. Again, too wee, poor and donurt. A big fat zero. We have no voice. We don’t count. Like the fourth craw – he wisnae there at aw. And we’re not there now at all; we’ve not a voice; we count and matter not a jot.

Now, here’s a secret – I don’t mind that we don’t count, for, 
see when we go, which we will do soon, when Scotland is 
no longer a part of the Union, they won’t even notice; that’s the beauty of being the saltire in the night, our departure isn’t recorded until it’s over, when it’s too late for them to get us and our assets back. (Don’t mention The Oil) They won’t know we’re away until we’re singing ‘Country Roads” and “Rhinestone Cowboy” to them – I may be guilty of doing so rather too loudly.

There is no-one in Scotland today who can relish the sight we behold from OUR oil rigs- yes, they belong to Scotland – food banks and dole queues? Thousands of families condemned to a tawdry existence on Universal Credit, starving for 6 weeks before any income is received? Mr Muddle’s fishes can fly as the cock crows.

And the passage of time tells me, and you, what it has told every bugger before us, that we each desire to change this world immeasurably, leave behind a mark, proof of our presence, validation of our existence and a little dot that one of our descendants might seek out in a hundred years time and doff a cap towards.

And I’m not really falling for bampot absentee MPs like my own acting the goat trying to tell me that Scotland deserves, requires, voted for, elected, chose, anointed, Tory MPs and MSPs getting their photos taken smirking, squirming, posing, at food banks. Rewind. Tories getting 
their photos taken at food banks. Food banks they created. When I was at school I was a linguistic fiend. I translated for Scotland. I’m gonna translate some more language for you again. Food banks – meaning – hunger. Hunger – meaning- your government ensures your starvation. Starvation means you suffer, deprived, you don’t achieve, you’re a failure, perhaps you die prematurely. You certainly will not have a life worth living.

So my wee dot is this – I want this very year, whether it brings to Scotland an independence referendum or UDI or a general election or a grand slam in strip pontoon with knobs on, to signal the absolute and final end to hunger, thirst, poverty and want in these little acres of ours. I bet you that in your cupboards there are a couple of dozen jerseys, coats, trousers, shirts, pairs of shoes, tops, tunics that you bought in sales, don’t need, can gladly donate and never miss. And you’ll also have duvets, sleeping bags, blankets, tents, that you bought and rarely used. You, yes, you have the power to change our world – let’s do it this year. Mobilise, galvanise, share and end need in our little corner of this world – before next year we go forth and change the whole world.

We can and should make Scotland an example for the rest of the world – don’t let our wee country get bogged down in the politics of hatred, fear, jealousy, exclusion – we’re better than this, and we’re going high; we ARE a’ Jock Tamson’s bairns, and it IS coming yet, for a’ that; man tae man the world ower SHALL brithers be for aw that. Our people deserve nothing less, and we owe to the world a duty to deliver.

This piece was written by Eva Comrie, independence activist


  1. Cheered me up no end , Thanks .

  2. Made me laugh with a lump in my throat. x

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