“An assortment of social misfits”, that’s us. That’s how supporters of Scottish independence were described yesterday by the Guardian columnist, Kevin McKenna.
I wasn’t offended by this, although I’m sure it was intended as an insult.
When the UK political establishment that governs Scotland is like the one we have now, perhaps it’s not so bad to be branded a non-conformist. After all, things rarely change in the world without the imaginations of misfits.
But is that who we are? Let’s be honest – the independence movement hasn’t exactly been lacking in a few unconventional characters over the years. The early National Party of Scotland candidates were largely from the artistic community in Scotland. Hugh MacDiarmid, Wendy Wood – we’ve had our fair share of eccentrics; poets, writers, thinkers, ordinary people with extraordinary vision. Our recent list of ‘50 artists and creatives who support independence‘ shows how this has continued over the generations. Being a social misfit doesn’t limit your influence or ability. Quite the opposite.
Artists and creatives perhaps tend not to care, but for the rest of the population being a “misfit” is something strange and undesirable. It’s a tactic that’s been used a lot so far; “Nobody supports independence”, the papers say, “Nobody wants it but Alex Salmond”. It’s easy to feel isolated when you’re told nobody shares your view. And then it is easy to doubt what you believe.
I believe that Scotland is the misfit of the UK. We vote differently, we hold different social priorities. We have our own ways and write our own books and make our own art. It isn’t always appreciated but it’s ours. It’s okay to be a misfit. It’s okay to think and to dream of better things – someone has to.
So go on Scotland, embrace your inner misfit, vote Yes.
Be yourself; be whatever you choose to create.