Thinking 2014 (2) Wherever I hang me knickers

January 9, 2013

“Wherever I hang me knickers, that’s my home.” Grace Nichols

There’s the artificiality of the Scotland concept – some lines on a map, a definition in some obscure statute, littler kingdoms amalgamated under the violence of a strong ruler, a bulky string bag around a crop of languages, and so on. And me finding the most intense sense of being at home at night in a tea forest near Sylhet, with warm mud between my toes and huge throbbing stars above.

And the whole nation/state formula so worn and so absurdly ill-suited for an age of the world when we have to come together or come seriously apart. The generosity, the perhaps excessive generosity, of people in the Middle East when they say we know it’s not you it’s your government, your state – their recognition of the difference between people and nations.

My interest in a Yes in 2014 is instrumental. It’s the chance to unshackle an arbitrary section of the state I currently live in from its poisonous and ever more concentrated sauce of war-making, inequality and human babyhood. But absolutely no point in going through the business of adding yet another state in order to cook the same sauce out of Nato and flat-earth economics.

This why the lead-up to the vote is so crucial. Deals done in advance of independence on an old sauce recipe undermine the instrumental rationale for independence, since patterns set at that stage will be almost as hard to unravel as the toxic UK patterns are at present. I say “almost” and wonder whether having a parliament just down the road will make a critical difference to that.

Of course, after that very-much-at-home sensation in Bangladesh I was very glad to get back on the plane to my own patch, my routines, my commitments. Love is, after all, a matter of the will, a commitment to care.  Which is why we need to pitch into the conversations about what this place ought to be like. I don’t care for this place because it is good but this place could be good because we care. 

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