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.

Saturday, October 7, 2023




3 OCTOBER 2025


By Dougie McBain

Ken what? They yanked me out of retirement for this. There I was, minding my own business, not exactly tending my roses, but not so very far off. A seventy something old hack five years out of the game. And then the phone rang. 'Dougie. Fancy writing a feature for us? The Indy Dream and how everything changed. Two thousand words and change. There'll be a drink in it, pal.'

They seemed to be under the impression my age must have granted me some wisdom. But a drink's a drink, and when all is said and done.

My answer? You ken my answer. Aye. Nae bother.

So. Let's take a trip to 2023. Remember it? Course you do. The dream of a Free Scotland was being eaten alive by wild tales of cops digging up a garden. Never mind 'Proud Edward's Army', it seemed our hopes and aspirations were about to be crushed by a bloody camper van in Fife. And then came Rutherglen.....

And my oh my, how the Unionist press were loving every minute. Am I allowed to say bastards? I guess I'll find out when these word are subjected to editorial oversight.


To say the 'Yes' movement was scunnered would be a major understatement. It was very hard indeed to find any light at the end of the tunnel.

When Ewan McGregor announced a press conference in a Glasgow hotel, nobody saw it as a big deal. Why would they? The media turned up of course. Celebrity will always draw a crowd.

I wasn't there of course. By then I was well retired. So like almost everyone else, I watched it on YouTube. Ewan wandered onto a makeshift podium wearing a pair of old jeans and a Scotland shirt of Argentina 78 vintage and announced a pause in his acting career. Instead of gracing the silver screen, he said he would be dedicating all of his time to fighting for an Independent Scotland. No, he wouldn't be joining any political party. Not a chance. Instead he would do his best to help the Yes Movement. A journalist asked how he intended to do it and he responded with a grin and a shrug of the shoulders.

It was all knockabout until right at the very end when he said he wanted to make something crystal clear from the get go. He said he'd cut a deal with Amazon Prime to produce a fly on the wall documentary series charting his efforts for Indy. The working title was 'Scotland's Long March to Freedom.' He wanted it made absolutely clear all proceeds were going to the campaign. He promised not to personally benefit.

And with that he exited stage left.

Predicatably, the Unionist media had a good laugh at his expense and they pigeon holed him alongside the Fife camper van.

The Yes Movement was pleased enough, but everyone I talked to couldn't see how he could feasably make much of a serious impact. Everyone was far too scunnered for any thoughts of sunny uplands.

He disappeared for a few weeks. His people said he was undergoing a crash course in getting up to speed with everything which would make Scotland a potentially vibrant new nation in the maelstrom of the twenty first century. Then he became a daytime TV regular. All the shows wanted to book him. Course they did. He was eloquent, funny, knowledgeable, controversial and free at the point of use. He put bums on seats and racked up YouTube hits in the tens of thousands. Soon producers learned to match him up with MP's from the bat shit crazy wing of the Tory Party or shock jock merchants from the shadier corners of the Murdoch empire. He learned on the job and he was soon more than capable of holding his own.

His first BBC Question Time in Dundee was deemed to be something of a triumph. The SNP were raging because he was allocated the Indy slot usually reserved for a representitive of the Holyrood Government.

The next weekend saw a poll put support for Independence at north of 50% for the first time in months.

The first Amazon episode hit the air waves and the global audience exceeded all their most optimistic expectations.

Then he went on tour. The tour took him to all corners of Scotland. Sometimes he played huge venues capable of seating thousands. Other times the audience was squeezed into village halls or pubs. Tickets were always free. He made no speeches. Instead he invited a variety of experts who he and the audience quizzed. The subjects covered always shone a light on the huge potential of an energy rich and liberal independent Scotland. Land reform, renewables, tourism, water, migration, The genius was the deployment of special guests. A succession of actors and writers and musicians turned out to lend a hand. There was always stand up comedy. There was always live music. There was always a busy bar.

And there was never a politician in sight.

Every seat was always taken.

The YouTube views were off the charts.

The people at Amazon Prime were dancing in the corridors.

The Unionist media largely fumed in sulking silence.

A year into his campaign, a poll showed Yes at 63%

And then he took things to a whole new level. A hand held camera showed him standing on a hill in the February rain. He pointed to a town in the distance. Dunbar. Grey and rain lashed, hunkered down by the cold waters of the North Sea.

He told of a battle fought in 1650. England v Scotland. England under Oliver Cromwell had won and taken 4000 prisoners who were forced marched all the way south to York.

And all of a sudden he was no longer standing out in the Scottish rain. Instead it was sparking sunshine, exploding greenery and a very blue sea.

He introduced his guest as Sandra Mason, the President of Barbados. He laid out the next phase of his journey. For the next few months he planned to visit the countries who had successfully freed themselves from London rule. It would be a chance to pick up a few tips. To learn from all kinds of successful journeys to freedom.

"But before we get into all that, Sandra, maybe you could shed some light onto what happened to all those Scottish lads who were taken prisoner at Dunbar?"

And Sandra was more than happy to explain. They had been sold into slavery and shipped to Barbados. For a while, all of the island's slaves had been white, either Scots or Irish. They hadn't fared so well in the heat, so the plantation owners soon chose to shop in the African market instead. But their legacy was very much alive and kicking. Ewan and Sandra strolled through a picture postcard village where the residents all had red hair, pale skin and born and bred Barbados accents. These were the descendents of the men who were captured and sold nearly 400 years earlier.

Later over glasses of rum on the terrace of the Presidential Residence, he asked if there were many in Barbados who yearned for a return to rule from London.

She met he question with a beaming smile and just laughed.

Next was a journey through Africa. A slaving fort in Ghana. The site of a Mau Mau internment camp in Kenya. A gold mine in South Africa. The place where hundreds of Matabele warriors had been cut down by Gattling guns in Zimbabwe. He visited the places where the British Empire had committed some of its greatest crimes.

Everwhere he went, he was received by senior leaders. Everywhere he went, he made a point of apologising for the all the crimes committed in the name of Empire. He never shied away from the role the Scots had played.

And everywhere he went, he asked the same question. Would you like to return to being ruled by London?

The answer was always a resounding 'No.'

By now the government in London was almost beside itself. How dare he! The new self styled Global Britain hated a light being shone on the sins committed by the original version of Global Britain.

And of course the more they raged, the more the good folk of Scotland loved it. When President Modhi took the time to personally take Ewan of a tour of the site of the Amritsar massacre, Britain's first Hindu Prime Minister was said to have been apoplectic.

As I write these words, there is only one stop left on Ewan's world tour of the Empire upon which the sun once never set.

The United States.

Amazon are lobbying for all they're worth for a White House visit. The word is that President Biden is tickled pink by the idea. The State Department are still just about holding the line for a key NATO ally. Will it happen? I personally doubt it. The promise of a Free Scotland evicting all Trident missiles is likely to be a little too rich for Washington's blood.

On the day Amazon dropped the India episode, a poll showed YES at 73%. Donations to the Independence Campaign fund have flowed in from all corners of the world. Ewan has made us the planet's favourite plucky underdog. Tourism is booming and whisky exports are breaking all records. A quarter of a million have upped sticks and made the journey from England to Scotland.

We haven't got a new IndyRef date yet, but even the most die hard unionists now accept it is only a matter of time.

When the referendum comes it will be a done deal. Everything has changed beyond all recognition and yet Ewan has still never once shared a platform with a single elected Scottish politician. What an astounding recipe for success. Celebrity culture, social media, people power and the largest corporation on earth. Let's face it, in hindsight London never stood a chance.

Oh, I nearly forgot the most important thing of all.

Not a single shot has been fired.