Where I’m from, that word means, hit, beaten, brought down. It describes how I feel perfectly.
Last night Gordon Craigie from iScot magazine, who has been writing an article about our situation, called to let me ken it’s finished, and to double check all the facts etc were right. So he read it to me over the phone, as he’d written it out. I listened to our own story as others will hopefully read it and Gordon never knew the tears were pouring down my face and I’d to stifle making any sounds beyond the correct, polite, responses. (sorry Gordon, if you ever read this!).
All along he has been incredibly kind, never once making us feel like just another statistic, or that we simply didn’t matter. In fact it hit me how much kindness I’ve had from “ordinary” people. Who turn out to be, after all, extraordinary in their capacity for kindness. I hope folks do read it, whether it’s up on their website or in the magazine. Not because I want attention but because the outside world, and other Scots, NEED to know that it doesn’t matter how good a government you think you have, if there’s a “bigger picture” and you don’t fit in it, you WILL be sacrificed. Cannon fodder in the political war. And they won’t give a damn about you.
That’s our position.
And when I put the phone down, I’d to go lock myself in the bathroom a while and sit holding in gasping, silent sobs so as to not alarm Alice.
Because, it’s floored me, all this. Brought home to me just what our situation is. I’ve been with Frans for ten years or more, married for seven. He’s the love of my life. The fact he is a European shouldn’t bother anyone, matter to anyone, and we never thought it did.
Until, England. England’s xenophobic knee jerk “throw them all out” Brexit vote.
And THIS is what it’s done to us. Made exiles of us, split our family. If anyone reads this and they’re reading it at home, take a look around you. You’ve probably got your belongings around you, like we have. A favourite chair or sofa. Pictures on the wall, books lining shelves you spent many happy hours reading. A home is MORE than just a roof, it’s where you’re most comfortable, where you’re happiest, with your family around you, if you’re lucky enough to have both.
We have that. And England is taking it all away from us. And Scotland is letting them. Not the Scottish people. The Scottish government. The First Minister and her MPs. The ones that could have, instead of rolling over on this, fought Westminster by telling them firmly that we are NOT going to be thrown out of our own country, because we belong to Scotland, not England.
I will always, now, consider them cowards. And I know that offends the politicial sensibilities of so many Scots who have blind faith in them and likely always will. No doubt I’ll be attacked for it.
But when you are at the stage of losing home and family, you cease giving a fuck, frankly, what others think. For me, it’s the truth.
Our First Minister is busy telling Scotland and the world “All Europeans are welcome in Scotland”. We even had two of the same letters to our home telling us that , which was like rubbing salt into an open wound.
Well, what about us, Nicola? My man is European and YOUR government is letting him be thrown out of the country because nobody will liaise with the Belgian authorities, or attempt to find a real solution to our problem. I asked. Hell, let’s be honest, I openly and privately BEGGED til my own pride and dignity was in the dirt. I’ll do what it takes to protect my family. Wouldn’t anyone?
I hope what England has done, is doing, ends with Brexit. That Scotland goes free of it and finds her own strength, because she needs to.
But I’ve no illusions now, about the SNP, the only vehicle there is…currently…for independence. No illusions about how little the individual Scot matters to them, or the so called NewScot they are busy welcoming (all except my Flemish husband) or those Europeans who, feeling the strain of Brexit and lack of protection for them offered by Scotgov, are leaving Scotland in droves, heavy hearted.
You, Scotgov, must bear at least a portion of the blame for this situation. Because, you didn’t find a way, didn’t have it in you, to protect those you are busy lying to by touting “All Europeans welcome in Scotland”.
And I’m still crying. I ken in my gut I’ll never be a Scot again. Somehow, I know it. Independence won’t come in time for me. This is the place of my ancestors. In *this* place I called Home, I know every contour of the landscape, every way the sunlight falls and unrolls across it from dawn to dusk. I know the morning birdsong and the evening gales off The Minch, and the lambs bleating to their mams on the hills. I KNOW this land. I LOVE this land. Until now, I belonged to it.
And the Scottish government have let English politics evict me from it. Another Clearances.
Scotland, take a lesson from this. You are so busy believing they, and they alone know when the time is right to try for independence. Listen to YOUR gut, your instinct. If it isn’t telling you we’re rapidly running out of time, then your heart and mind is closed to what is happening to our country.
I’m still crying. And even when the tears dry up, I’ll spend the rest of my days in a land not my own, still crying.