When ah heidit up tae Galashiels on Friday morn, ye widnae hae kent that it wis a world gaun tapsalteerie, an that aw ower the Borders, aw ower the kintra, fowk were waukin tae the news that, aince again, Scotland had votit for yin thing an got anither. Bi keek o day, when fermers were awready oot in the morning field, onybody wha’d managed a wink o sleep that nicht turnt on the telly tae find that the last twa-three oors had done mair daimige tae their savins, their prospects an their pensions than fower hale decades o the European Union. But there wis nae sign o ony o that on the A7 as it skelped its wey alang through Teviotdale. The sheep were bleatin, an the hills leukt nane the poorer.
But when ah cam back doun the road that efternuin, the first signs that somethin wis afoot in this bonnie pairt o the warld, which votit stainchly “Naw” an stainchly “Remain”, were awready stairtin tae appear. Roond blue flouers were sprootin again on the fermlaun fenceposts, the roadsigns for veelages even yer GPS disnae ken aboot. Nou, it wisnae just the auld stickers fae afore that ye still see sometimes, held on bi the rain, wi torn white flashes o lightning through their centres so’s ye can anely make oot the first letter. They yins, ah’ve got memorised. Naw, these anes were new, dug oot fae somebody’s tote bag full o thaim, whaur they’d been flung wanhowpfu intae the front press twa years ago an unsuccessfully forgotten. An nou they were back.
The same thing wis happenin on Facebook an Twitter, fowk heapin mair seembols ontae the teeterin heap in their profile picture’s corner, digging oot auld pictures o thaim haudin up Yes signs an leukin happier than ye mind o seein thaim since. Cries o Yes2!, which till then had rang in yer lugs like the shouts o somebody sinkin intae the yondermaist mire, seemed suddenly tae mean somethin. Ah’d a deek through my ain timeline, yon brief history o engagement, aw the wey back tae the mornin ah’d sat eatin ma piece in Subway an listenin tae George Osborne on the radio sayin we couldnae use the pound an thinkin tae masel “Haud on! How no?”. An here’s aw the Yes pictures fae that day forrit, candidates galore for anither airin, just tae show fowk that ah’m oan board wi whit’s happenin, ah’m ready.
Ah’m no ready, o coorse – naebody is – but ye cannae be waitin for that. That’s no the reason ah didnae stick up an auld picture. The reason is just that – they pictures are auld.
Nou, ah’m like a lot of fowk when it comes tae hingin oan. In sair pyne ah’ve cleared oot ma cupboards, ma wardrobe, ma sock drawer. Ah’ve pairtit, wi much reluctance, fae the CDs o bands ah’ve syne grown ooty, Accies shirts o bygaun days. But in every press in every corner o ma hoose, there’s some “Yes” thing or anither that ah couldnae bring masel tae bin. Pens, badges, flags, wristbands. Oor hame, like mony ithers, is a saicret shine o indy-fandom.
The problem wi fandom, though, is when it keeps oot mair fowk as it lets in. Nothin pits ye aff a thing mair siccar than the gadgies wha liked it afore it wis cool, an dinnae want ye tae forget it. Fellas wi the tour t-shirts fae afore the first album. Fowk wi their first edition Harry Potters. Fitba supporters that mind o Brockville, Broomfield, the auld Douglas Park. People that want tae pit ye aff the joy o yer ain discovery, or worse, mak themsels yer tour guide for it.
Sae it’s time, ah think, tae say a fond cheerio tae the brand o “Yes”. It wis guid while it lastit, but whit’s tae happen in the comin years cannae just be a reunion tour, no unless we’re wantin tae play tae the exact same crowd. Though it gleddens ma hert tae see the magnanimity wi which fowk wha votit “Naw” are welcomed intae the fold, it’d be guid tae stairt mindin oorsels that they’re no just oor guests. They’re oor pairtners. That means they dinna just have tae move intae oor bachelor pad an like it or lump it. We’ve got tae gaun oot an dae a spot o hoose-huntin. Find oot whaur we’re gonnae live thegither.
Cause it’ll no just be the personnel that’ll be different. It’ll be the debate. The fowk oot there that are switherin are wantin the economic case for independence, somethin we didnae manage tae gie them last time. Weel, noo the economic case for an independent Scotland is gey straightforrit – it’s that, post-EU, onybody wioot a private income in the UK will be gaun aboot wi Kleenex boxes on their feet insteid o shoes. We can sharpen that up a bit, but that’ll be the gist. We’re in a strang position, an wi cannae afford tae fouter that awa bi just runnin through oor Greatest Hits fae last time oot.
Sae, first order o business is, whit’ll we caw oorsels? Ah ayeweys liked the Gaelic badges, the yins that said “Bu Choir”. That didnae mean “Yes”, mair somethin like “We Should”. Yon’s the kind o message ah’d like tae see, an if it can be in ane o oor minority leids again, sae much the better. Haud Forrit mebbe. Let’s Dae It. Me, ah’ve a wee hankerin for the question mony o us asked oorsels when we first got involved. How No? But then, mebbe somebody wha votit “Naw” last time will hae a anither idea. Ah mean, if we’re wantin tae ken whit needs done better, they’re the yins tae ask.
We stairtit the last campaign on the back fit, an ended it that wey, cause – let’s face it – that’s whit we’re comfiest wi, this Ally McLeod notion o glorious failure. That’s the sang we’re used tae singin. But it’s nae guid tae us, this self-image o the birkie underdug, barkin aboot whit we used tae be, an could be again, if anely we got the chance. Weel, we’ve got the chance. Let’s throw awa the script. Let’s just dae it.