Candles mean different things to different folk; women like smelly ones, or those in fancy colours with sparkles, glitter and wee mysterious speckles on the surface. Some of us light candles in churches, perhaps particularly abroad on holidays or pilgrimage, in special or hallowed places when we take time to remember those who have gone before us. And though candles can mark a passing, or a remembrance, they also represent hope, a welcome flicker of life in an otherwise dark world. I didn’t burn a candle in my window on Brexit night, because that event is not, in the history of Scotland, anything other than a staging post on the way to our independence. No matter how much we detest the prospect, had there not been Brexit, we could not have justified another push for an independence referendum so soon after 2014. Je ne regrette rien ce soir.
Flags are important symbols. We know and love the origins of our saltire, and when we think of Saint Andrew, and the manner of his death, our thoughts often drift towards Wallace, his execution, Bruce, his death, his heart and other events and relics ingrained into the psyche of Scotland. Naturally, regardless of our political persuasion, we in Scotland prefer to view our saltire as a joyful, peaceful emblem, in contrast to other flags which fill some of us with anger, dread or loathing. We didn’t bother with a saltire in the office window today. For Bannockburn, not the rout of the English forces, but the restitution of Scotland’s freedom, would not have occurred without Stirling Bridge and the desperation of Falkirk and its aftermath.
And stars – who amongst us hasn’t sought comfort, solace in the night sky? Don’t we all believe when we lose one we love that he or she has become represented by a twinkle in the heavens above? Since ancient times Man has navigated by the stars; they’ve given us points of references in their constellations as well as the similes and metaphors when we say we aim high, albeit that our feet may be soaked in the glaur and gutter. I don’t need to have the EU flag in my sights tonight for in my heart I can say, as I will all of my life, Independence or not, ich bin ein Berliner. Europe is part of me, and I am part of Europe – so are you.
And yes, of course I hope that there’s a European light on to guide us back. And I am determined that our Scottish saltire will be flown as the flag of an autonomous member state in the EU and the UN very soon. But I’m not relying on lights and flags and promises from outwith this land. For the greater challenge, and that which the people of Scotland must be ready for, and must meet, for ourselves and by ourselves, is for a new enlightenment to dawn, where our country, Scotland, is united as never before.
The real big light, the only one that counts, is that which we will light above our own heads; the illumination of this country will occur where we talk to each other like never before. I said it in 2014 – that was a transformative, everlasting campaign. We shared notions, ideas, hopes, plans, fears, – we’ve a base of strategists, campaigners, talkers, thinkers, doers, leafletters, writers, painters, cartoonists, musicians, dancers, pipers, drummers – come on Scotland, we’re one clan, we should have one goal, the promotion of this beautiful land as a place of peace, welcome, prosperity and fairness; we’re going to do it – because we have to – we don’t need dates, deadlines, juggernauts, we need warp speed with every shoulder to the wheel and charging forward with fire in our bellies and rockets where the sun don’t shine – wha’s like us????
Am talkin’ about a revolution, let’s make it happen!