I wear two hats when I write this blog of mine. First and foremost, I manage a small charity in a small Scottish town called Dumfries. Ours is a front door that opens onto the darker corners of the crumbling world that is Britain 2015. We hand out 5000 emergency food parcels a year in a town that is home to 50,000 souls. Then, as you can see from all of the book covers above, I am also a thriller writer. If you enjoy the blog, you might just enjoy the books. The link below takes you to the whole library in the Kindle store. They can be had for a couple of quid each.

Friday, September 26, 2014


A week ago David Cameron stood on the steps of 10 Downing Street and told us all that the people of Scotland had demonstrated our ‘Settled Will’ for a generation, maybe even a lifetime.

‘Settled Will’ ?

Where do they get these terms from? I guess he meant that we had voted No.

As far as Dave was concerned, it was a case of job done. We had all been firmly put back where we belonged: in our box.

Like hundreds of thousands of others, I didn’t feel like my will had been settled in the slightest. This feeling grew once it emerged that we had all voted Yes all the way up to the age of 55. Settled for a lifetime? Come on.

For a while I was as down as down could be. So much energy and optimism had been crushed by the tsunami of negativity that that had washed over Scotland. Now we would have to suffer months on end of smugness and the magnificent, shining hope of our vast grassroots campaign would fizzle and die.

Well it didn’t work out that way, did it Dave?

Within hours, the ‘45’ Campaign rose from the ashes of defeat and any semblance of high ground the Unionists might have won disappeared without trace with the Nazi salutes in George Square.

Seven days has seen everything change and nothing change. The Yes campaign has refused to be put back in the box and there are still faces creased with worry in the corridors of Whitehall power.

What has happened in the last week has been beyond all expectation. 150,000 people joining the ‘45’ Facebook page is all very well, but let’s face it, left clicking a button isn’t exactly the hardest thing to do. Nigh on 40,000 people joining the SNP is another thing altogether. That is quite frankly bloody astonishing. The SNP which draws its support from our small nation of 5 million souls now has getting on for half the membership of the Labour Party which has a pond of 63 million to fish in.

The Green Party is now double the size of the Lib Dems in Scotland and and if things keep on the way they are going, they will soon overtake the Labour Party. The Scottish Tories don’t release membership figures: I wonder why that might be?

Yesterday was a great day for the ‘45’. At lunchtime the Daily Politics show invited Tommy Sheridan to paint a picture of the ‘45’ campaign. There are unwritten rules about this kind of thing. A sober suit is required and a certain kind of decorum. Daily Politics interviews seldom generate any kind of YouTube traffic.

Tommy didn’t do the suit thing. He did his T shirt thing and took a pass on showing the required decorum. Instead, he took a sledge hammer to the idea that we’re  all about to accept that we have shown our settled will for a lifetime. The faces in the studio were a picture. 

He fired off both barrels at all the 'Red Tories' of the Labour Party who hooked their wagon to massed ranks of the British Establishment. His message was unequivocally clear. We’re not going away. We’re not going to sit quietly and do as we’re told. Instead we are regrouping and we’re getting stronger.

An in May next year we’re coming for you. In May next year you can kiss goodbye to your fat Westminster expense accounts and your free houses in London. In May next year you are all about to learn what payback time looks like.

And then came Question Time. The Labour Party fielded Emily Thornberry, the shadow Advocate General. She started off with a pretty smug look. She didn’t finish with one. The audience didn’t have the look of people who were ready to accept that they had shown any kind of settled will. They growled like a pack of dogs and the lady from Labour must have got the train back to London with a cold feeling in the pit of her stomach. 

Job done?

Dream on guys. The massed rank and file of the Yes campaign are not even close to accepting any kind of defeat. The next battle is a mere seven months away and the ‘45’ already have 53 big, fat targets firmly in our sights: the 53 Unionist MPs who live the high life care of their Scottish seats. Well you better start thinking about a change of career guys because you ain’t flavour of the month right now.

The backlash is going to be ferocious and when the dust settles all bets will be well and truly back on.

Yesterday we saw the living, breathing reality of the ‘45’ at First Base. We are the food bank down here in Dumfries and we hand out 500 emergency food parcels each and every month in our sleepy little town. A minute after we opened our doors yesterday, some guys from the local branch of Radical Independence came in with eight carrier bags of food which they had collected at their meeting the night before.

I received three e mails from '45' people who wanted to volunteer to help out.

One '45' supporter from Langholm had taken a detour to Annan in order to boycott Asda and while she was in town, she visited the place where we stock our food parcels. On Monday she is coming in to see me to talk about helping to set up a new outlet for our food parcels in her village.

On Sunday a group of ‘45’ people are collecting food all afternoon in a local pub. They set up a Facebook page a couple of days ago and the response has already been overwhelming.

Next week I have been asked along to a local SNP meeting to pick up another boot full of tins and packets.

How utterly damning is all of this for our supposedly wonderful Union? All over Scotland people are making a devastatingly simple connection. The fact that the Union is set to continue means that thousands upon thousands of people will continue to be punished for the crime of being poor and vulnerable.

Take a moment to think about that.

The response of many regular citizens to last week’s No vote has been to donate food to places like First Base. If the cheerleaders for the Union care for a minute to pay any heed to this, they should be genuinely alarmed. This is how people see you. This is what people think you are.

People see rule from Westminster Rule as a never ending war on the poor. Westminster rule is all about bankers and corporations and looking after the super rich. This is harsh of course. It is a caricature. But that is hardly the point. Once upon a time Spitting Image was a caricature, but it didn’t half hit the target. And when Thatcher’s children bit the dust, they bit the dust hard.

In the last seven days the ‘45’ has already found a way to become a formidable force. We were supposed to disappear and go back to being inconsequential little people. Our moment in the sun had come and gone and business as usual was supposed to resume.

Well, like they always say, seven days is a long time in politics. You might have won a battle, but the war has a way to go. Right now the army of the ‘45’ is collecting up tins of beans for the victims of London rule. Right now you might be tempted to look down from your ivory towers and snigger at this as an exercise in futility. Well snigger away, because you haven’t got long left to enjoy your sense of smug complacency.

Next May we will evict you from Scotland.

The year after, we’ll nail down control of the Holyrood Parliament.

And then we’ll be right back in your faces. And there will be a whole lot more young ‘Yes’ voters on the electoral roll. And next time you won’t find it so easy to scare the over 65’s with your propaganda and lies.

You seriously thought you have got rid of us for a generation.

You didn’t even manage a week.

We’re still here.

It’s called defiance and it’s bloody marvellous.  


  1. Bloody marvellous yourself Mark, thank you fora rousing post. I too, after 50yrs of never belonging to any political party, have joined SNP. Tho it was a toss up between them and the greens but I like eck and as he brought us this far...... I'm a thrawn auld bird so intend coffin-dodging till we get our independence, then I can die happy. 8-)

  2. Great inspiring article.

    This won't go away and the way that, "job done" it was consigned to the back burners in Labour's book only inflamed us more.

    All the blogs that were going to close down after the referendum are staying active. A plea for £10,000 over 60 days for broadcasting has been met with £25,000 of donations within 20 hours...

    We shan't go away. We shall win.

  3. brilliant Mark

    Defiant and honest . Loved the wee tinge of anger too. We have kept the YES movement positive and avoided conflict and i agree that is the best way but we must remind those that voted NO that they were lied to, scared off and chased with threats and empty promises. I am really angry that they ignored us the very next day.

    We are not going away. First stop . Destroy Labour and the troughers . Never again will they get my vote. off to join the SNP and looking for new groups to star out my way so i can get involved again.

    We are the not so silent majority and it will show soon enough.

    Thanks pal . great article , great pick me up .

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  5. What the no voters were not told: