MARK FRANKLAND

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.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

I THINK ALL YES SUPPORTERS SHOULD BE HUGELY ENCOURAGED BY WHAT IS HAPPENING IN CATELONIA



It's pretty clear the Unionists are frantically keen to use events in Catalonia as evidence of what a nightmare any kind of Scottish Independence would be. Well surprise bloody surprise. I guess they must also have also spent time working how to blame the recent hurricanes and North Korean nukes on Scottish Nationalism.

So nothing new there then. Better Together types will be Better Together types. It's in their nature.

So. Should those of us on the 'YES' side of the argument be encouraged or discouraged? I fall on the side of optimism.

I will start with the supposed downsides. 

Over the last few days we have heard a lot about the law. What the separatist Catalans did was against the law and therefore they are fundamentally bad people who should be treated as a pariah state should they unilaterally declare their independence.

Ah, the good old law. The Unionist view is of the 'law' being a thing carved six inches deep in tablets of stone. The law can only ever be right. And anyone who breaks the law is by definition a very bad person indeed. 

On the surface this kind of thinking seems OK. After all none of us would like it much if the law took a back seat if a bunch of crooks turned up to rob our houses and nick our cars and batter our kids.

Duh.

But the Unionists are guilty of being a wee bit too black and white on this one. Just because something is written down as law in a particular country doesn't mean it is right. Hitler passed some pretty tasty laws back in the day. The courts of Nazi Germany were more than happy for anyone who criticised the beloved Fuhrer to be packed off to Dachau. Right now a Saudi woman caught having an affair can be legally stoned to death. A Russian homosexual might not be stoned to death, but they still face prison.

Not all laws are right and laws which are plainly wrong deserve no automatic respect.

In fact, unfair laws often tend to be the biggest gun in the armoury of wannabe freedom fighters. And when a law is plainly a pure disgrace, it is often a good idea to deliberately break it.

Here are a few examples of how the deleiberate breaking of lousy laws helped to earn freedom for millions.

Gujerat, 1930

British law said it was illegal for any Indian to make salt. The only legal salt was expensive Cheshire salt which the Brits had loaded up with tax. Ghandi rightly saw this was a law which was about as wrong as a law could be. So he decided to publically break it and set out on a long march to the sea. By the time he reached the coast he had 20,000 followers with him. And our cops were waiting with their batons at the ready. Heads were cracked and thousands were locked up, including Ghandi. And the watching world was utterly disgusted. British rule in India lost all moral authority and seventeen years later they had their freedom.

Soweto, 1960

South Africa's Apartheid laws were very much locked down and the rest of the world wasn't remotely bothered by millions of black citizens being required to carry their 'Pass Book' at all times. A university professor and activist called Robert Subukwe decided it was time to shine a light on this. He came up with a superbly simple plan. He spread the word though the townships and implored hundreds and thousands of his comrades to present themselves at police stations up and down the land without their pass books and demand to be arrested. He hoped there would be enough volunteers to completely overwhelm the Apartheid authorities and to provoke a reaction which would get the attention of the rest of the world. Sadly, he underestimated the utter brutality of the Government. 

In the township of Sharpeville the authorities didn't arrest the guys who turned up and volunteered to be arrested.

They opened fire and shot them.

69 dead. 300 wounded. And the massacre certainly got the attention of the watching world. Subukwe was packed off to a decade of solitary confinement on Robben Island and the reputation of the Apartheid regime was utterly destroyed.

Subukwe didn't live to see the day his people were set free but he certainly set the ball rolling.

One more.

1955. Montgomery, Alabama.

A brave black lady called Rosa Parks deliberately broke the law and sat in the white section of a bus and grabbed the attention of the world. She set the scene for ten years worth of newsreel footage showing over hyped white cops beating the living daylights out of peaceful black protesters. The Apartheid-lite regimes of the Southern states were shown for what they were and a decade later the Civil Rights Bill was signed into law.

So the law should never, ever be taken at face value. And when fundamentally bad laws are enforced by baton weilding policemen, the writing tends to be on the wall for the regimes responsible.

I think the good old boys in their clubs in Pall Mall will have quietly taken note. Would London dare to take a leaf out of the Thatcher playbook from the Miner's Strike and send English riot police over the border to crack open Scottish heads should we ever make like the Catalans? I doubt it somehow. British stock is already plummeting. High profile repression of Indy supporting Scots wouldn't exactly enhance London's global appeal.

A couple of weeks ago I spent an afternoon with Al from Phantom Power. You might have seen his brilliant 'Journey to YES' films on YouTube. If you haven't, you can find them all here.

PHANTOM POWER 

Anyway. We spent a while chewing the IndyRef fat. Catalonia was happening and heads were being cracked. I said I reckoned we were pretty lucky. As reasonably high profile 'Yes Men ' all we really have to worry about is getting slagged on in the social media by frothing at the mouth Unionists. Unlike Ghandi and Subukwe and Parks, we do not have to worry about being dragged of to prison and beaten black and blue in the name of Independence. I reckon the way the brutality of the police has backfired for the Madrid government will have made London permanatly shelve any plans they might have had in place to do the same on the streets of Glasgow.

And that has to be good news, right? Nobody wants the soles of their feet pummeled with plastic tubing by some nutter from Welwyn Garden City.

After the law, the sceond card the Unionists are playing with great gusto is the EU. Look! The EU are not supporting the Catalans! The EU hates the Catalans! They are backing Spain! They hate all seperatists!

Wishful thing guys. I mean, come on. Catalonia is a part of Spain. Spain is a key member of the EU who is is wall to wall pro the whole thing. So is it really so surprising the EU isn't all that keen to slag off Madrid? It is Realpolitik and of course it isn't so very pretty.

Does this mean they will treat Scotland the same? I think not. Scotland is a part of a Britain in the process of flicking V signs at Brussels and descending into a pit of xenophobic nastiness. Will Brussels be remotely concerned if they piss off London by green lighting a newly independent Scotland back into the EU club? I think not.

But here is the big thing.

The Sunday news was dominated by pictures of huge crowds of Spanish unionists filling the streets of Barcelona. They came from all corners of Spain with their flags and banners. They also thronged the streets of Madrid. They were young and old and they were counted in the hundreds of thousands.

It was impressive.

So why should I be so encouraged by the sight of so many Spanish Unionists acheiving such a vast show of power?

Easy.

Can you imagine in a million years anything remotely similar happening here? Tens of thousands of Better Together supporters filling up the streets of Glasgow with a sea of Union flags? Tens of thousands of Better Together supporters packing out Trafalgar Square and begging for their Scottish brothers and sisters not to leave the family home? 

Aye right!

Instead we had a poll last week where 88% of English 'Leave' voters said they would be more than happy to see the back of Scotland if it was the price of leaving the EU and having less brown people in their towns.

It is worth bearing this huge differenc in mind. In Scotland, only one side of the Indy argument can put tens of thousands onto the streets with flags. At the height of IndyRef in 2014, all Better Togther could manage was a sad pile of stones in Gretna. 

Our unionists are not remotely like the Spanish Unionists who took to the streets of Barcelona at the weekend. Our Unionists are mainly pensioners who have been scared to death by the Daily Mail and the BBC. They are not about to sing and wave flags, and slowly but surely their numbers are shrinking. And every day new young Scots become eligible for the vote. All the demographics are on our side. Old people die and young people turn sixteen. It's the cycle of life and there is nothing the Unionists can do to stop it.

No doubt Madrid will be greatly heartened by the sight of so many young people on the streets of Barcelona wrapped in Spanish flags. London will never know such encouragement. Not a chance.

Maybe the Catalans will find a way to win despite everything. I hope they do. But if they fail, we should not be discouraged. We are lucky enough to have all the youth and all the energy. 

It is why we are going to win in the end.    
 
AT THE MOMENT I AM TRYING TO RAISE FUNDS FOR THE FOODBANK I MANAGE IN DUMFRIES, SOUTH WEST SCOTLAND. OVER THE COMING WINTER OVER 3000 PEOPLE WILL COME THROUGH OUR DOORS AND RIGHT NOW WE DO NOT HAVE ENOUGH CASH TO HELP THEM ALL OUT. MAYBE YOU MIGHT BE WILLING TO HELP US OUT BY BUNGING A COUPLE OF QUID ONTO OUR JUSTGIVING PAGE? I HOPE SO.
AT THE MOMENT I AM TRYING TO RAISE FUNDS FOR THE FOODBANK I MANAGE IN DUMFRIES, SOUTH WEST SCOTLAND. OVER THE COMING WINTER OVER 3000 PEOPLE WILL COME THROUGH OUR DOORS AND RIGHT NOW WE DO NOT HAVE ENOUGH CASH TO HELP THEM ALL OUT. MAYBE YOU MIGHT BE WILLING TO HELP US OUT BY BUNGING A COUPLE OF QUID ONTO OUR JUSTGIVING PAGE? I HOPE SO.

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