in which I reflect on Scottish independence following a trip to the hairdresser’s

a few weeks ago my husband grabbed my boobs while I was making macaroni cheese. I told him he was objectifying me. He told me I was getting too political. Was he right?

I have just been to the hairdressers and found myself feeling a little evangelical. The assistant washing my hair and giving me a rather delightful head massage was awfully stressed about all the expensive Christmas presents she needed to buy for her boyfriend, siblings and parents. She only had £180 for the lot, and was heading to the sales in Harvey Nicholls and Jenners. That sounded like a lot of money to me, so I tried to be helpful “I just get everyone any old tat from the charity shops and the other shops around Leith. As long as you do the same every year people come to expect it and they don’t mind”. She didn’t seem sure. She said she bought some stuff on amazon too, and I asked if she read in the news about the horrible working conditions at amazon . No she hadn’t, and that was interesting, and– and this surprised me– what she had read about was MP’s getting an 11% pay rise. This made her quite cross and, as if through some strange quirk of space time and physics, the water she was hosing my head with suddenly became unbearably hot. But always a sucker for a bit of casual martyrdom I kept quiet while my head was being scorched as I was so pleased to hear a spot of political spark in one so young and didn’t want to spoil her flow. When she was finished, and had also got a load of extra towels to try and wipe up where she had sprayed water all over my jumper, I had a massive urge to say That’s why you’ll have to make sure you vote for independence. But I stopped myself. Maybe because I am English. Maybe because I always feel I shouldn’t say anything about independence because I haven’t gotten round to finding out enough about it yet. but in that moment I knew precisely how I felt about it, and I thought about how sad it is that it is supposedly young people who are least likely to vote yes.

Although not in the case of one young man I accidentally eavesdropped on recently. A boy aged about nine was on a school trip andtalking to a teaching assistant. “My Parents don’t like David Cameron,
that’s why we want to vote for independence “. The teaching assistant paused to thing of a neutral and educational response, before saying in the most unconvincing way possible ” but it won’t always be him, there might be someone better next”. Really?

But of course just being against the nasty tories is not enough, and there is much more pulling me towards a yes vote. English as I may be, my children are Scottish, and feel pretty naturalised through them. My son likes lorne sausages for heavens sake. I love Scotland for its free prescriptions and free university education. I love the way it does anger, that it knows how to do a bloody good lament. And there is something wonderfully touchy-feely and non-cerebral about much of the Scottish nationalist discourse, lots of focus on tradition, culture, music, creativity; it actually seems like politics you can feel excited and hopeful about. Which doesn’t come along very often.


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