They may take our lives ... but they will never take our sunbeds!

The MoS takes a wry look at Tommy Sheri­dan’s rally back­ing Indyref2

The Scottish Mail on Sunday - - Comment - By Gareth Rose

IN Brave­heart, Mel Gib­son’s heav­ily fic­tion­alised retelling of the bat­tles for in­de­pen­dence, Wil­liam Wal­lace drives the Eng­lish back through a heady mix of swag­ger and swords­man­ship.

Sure, he met an un­happy end, but Na­tion­al­ists don’t have to watch the film to its con­clu­sion.

In fact, in Glas­gow’s Ge­orge Square – or Free­dom Square as yes­ter­day’s pro-in­de­pen­dence pro­test­ers like to call it – they turned it off af­ter less than half an hour.

Whether this was be­cause or­gan­is­ers Hope Over Fear – and host Tommy Sheri­dan – had been un­able to get the sound work­ing, or be­cause of con­cerns about show­ing a 15-rated film to young­sters, was un­clear. But they did show enough for the crowd to wit­ness the mo­ment Wal­lace’s wife Mur­ron’s throat is cut by an Eng­lish sol­dier.

Griev­ance, af­ter all, is the most im­por­tant thing.

Then a brief burst of pip­ing – ‘This one’s called Scot­land For­ever’ the piper an­nounced at about 11am. But af­ter what cer­tainly seemed like for­ever, it was time for Sheri­dan, fire­brand so­cial­ist, to take to the stage.

He ap­pears to imag­ine him­self as a mod­ern day Wal­lace. Like Mel in the film, he never says any­thing that can be shouted in­stead.

And although nei­ther he, nor his troops, had man­aged to ac­quire woad paint, the sunbed tan is never far from his face.

‘Wel­come ev­ery­one to Free­dom Square,’ he shouted, in the least wel­com­ing tone imag­in­able. Sheri­dan – a per­jurer jailed for ly­ing un­der oath dur­ing a li­bel case in­volv­ing al­le­ga­tions he was an adul­terer who vis­ited a swingers’ club – in­vited the crowd to join him on his moral high ground.

‘We’re go­ing to stand for a new and just so­ci­ety, a nu­clear-free and in­de­pen­dent Scot­land,’ he said.

And on the sub­ject of a sec­ond in­de­pen­dence ref­er­en­dum, he had a di­rect mes­sage for the First Min­is­ter: ‘We can go in March next year. Please Ni­cola, sound the bell, fire the start­ing pis­tol.’

But if Sheri­dan imag­ines Ms Stur­geon could act as Robert the Bruce to his Wil­liam Wal­lace, she al­most cer­tainly has other ideas.

The SNP logo was in no­tice­ably short sup­ply, vastly out­num­bered by Saltires and Yes Scot­land flags, even Cat­alo­nia ban­ners.

Perhaps irked by the snub, Sheri­dan turned his fire on the SNP-run Glas­gow City Coun­cil.

‘I think Hope Over Fear has been a bit re­miss,’ he shouted crossly at the Union flag, fly­ing up above the City Cham­bers.

‘We’ve not cre­ated enough con­tro­versy, be­cause it seems Glas­gow City Coun­cil was not aware we were com­ing. Why the hell have they got the butcher’s apron fly­ing in­stead of the Scot­tish flag? We ask humbly that you fly our flag, and not some­one else’s.’

It seems un­likely hu­mil­ity ranks high among the Sheri­dan traits.

But the self-styled man of the peo­ple, who took to the stage to de­liver largely the same mes­sage in be­tween ev­ery other singer and speaker on the ros­ter, fre­quently de­scribed him­self as ‘humble’.

Buy one of the singers’ CDs, he would humbly urge, as they were there at their own ex­pense.

Visit one of the stands sell­ing Celtic jew­ellery, book­marks, and cup­cakes with Saltire-shaped ic­ing, he im­plored. Did Wal­lace care this much for lo­cal traders? Some of the SNP’s more mav­er­ick politi­cians de­fied the party and joined Sheri­dan on stage.

San­dra White, MSP for Glas­gow Kelvin, had her own mes­sage for the First Min­is­ter.

‘We want an­other in­de­pen­dence ref­er­en­dum,’ she said. The dif­fer­ence be­tween a ref­er­en­dum and an elec­tion, she clar­i­fied af­ter­wards, is the lat­ter does not need a Sec­tion 30 agree­ment with West­min­ster. But her rev­o­lu­tion­ary ideas did not end there. ‘We’ve got to make sure we have in­ter­na­tional ob­servers who un­der­stand the proper way it’s done,’ she said.

Ms White had served as an in­ter­na­tional ob­server in Venezue­lan pres­i­den­tial elec­tions, and was ap­par­ently un­con­vinced the 2014 in­de­pen­dence ref­er­en­dum had been as above board as polls in the South Amer­i­can dic­ta­tor­ship.

She said: ‘I do have con­cerns about 2014. I’m say­ing do it prop­erly, with in­ter­na­tional ob­servers.’

Western Isles MP An­gus MacNeil sug­gested in­de­pen­dence may be closer than many re­alise – es­pe­cially those bur­dened by facts.

‘Friends, we are at a great mo­ment in Scot­land’s his­tory. Sup­port for in­de­pen­dence is over 50 per cent,’ he claimed.

Polling web­site What Scot­land Thinks shows back­ing for Yes has ac­tu­ally been con­sis­tently well be­low 50 per cent.

But such tri­fling re­al­i­ties do not dim Mr MacNeil’s op­ti­mism. ‘We’re go­ing to win eas­ily,’ he crowed.

Like Wal­lace, Alex Neil’s as­pi­ra­tions did not ap­pear lim­ited to the Scot­tish border.

‘Not only can we run our coun­try bet­ter than them. We can run their coun­try bet­ter than them,’ the MSP for Air­drie and Shotts claimed.

Maybe some­one should check the Northum­ber­land de­fences.

Although as the crowd dis­persed, the Yes bik­ers gunned their en­gines and the folk singers packed up their gui­tars, it ap­peared such ideas may be too far-fetched for Hol­ly­wood, let alone Holy­rood.

MORAL HIGH GROUND: Tommy Sheri­dan, above, lasted longer in ‘Free­dom Square’ yes­ter­day than the abortive at­tempt to screen Brave­heart, left, at the event

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.