Poem: Pride of Lions

Pride of Lions

and the newspaper said, ‘We are proud to be Scottish, but
we must ask the difficult questions.’

and the Laird said, ‘This family’s proud to be Scottish, but
but what about our right of succession?’

and the Rangers fan said, ‘We’re all proud to be Scottish, but
if you hate Alex Salmond clap your hands!’ (clap clap)

and the Archbishop said, ‘I am proud to be Scottish, but
do what the Catholic Church demands.’

and the Tories said, ‘We are proud to be Scottish, but
our Great British Empire would be lost.’

and Labour said, ‘We are proud to be Scottish, but
the SNP must be beaten at all costs.’

and the Lib Dems said, ‘We are proud to be Scottish, but
we agree! We probably agree!’

and a socialist said, ‘I am proud to be Scottish, but
we can’t abandon England to the elites.’

and the intellectual said, ‘I’m not proud to be Scottish.
Beneath every nationalism it is dark.’

and the soldier said, ‘I am proud to be Scottish, but
I would die for the Union Jack.’

and the young woman said, ‘I am proud to be Scottish, but
I loved the London Olympics.’

and the old man said, ‘I am proud to be Scottish, but
I’m tired, and it’s too optimistic.’

and the young man said, ‘Aye, I’m proud to be Scottish, but
whaur’s the money gonnay come fay? Eh?’

as an old woman, in silence, shuffled to the booth
in the hope of a better country.

Alan Bissett
Author, Performer and Playwright
alanbissett.com

Photograph by Peter Alvar

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About Alan Bissett

Alan Bissett is a novelist, playwright and performer from Falkirk, who now lives in Glasgow. His plays, novels and short films have won numerous awards, including a Scottish BAFTA and the Glenfiddich Spirit of Scotland Writer of the Year 2012. His YouTube poem 'Vote Britain' has become one of the key texts in the Scottish independence movement.

  • Peter S

    I love your novels Alan, but please stop writing such dirges about independence. It’s really, really boring and it makes your writing seem childish and glib. I’m not that bothered about independence one way or the other, but your caricature of those who disagree with you makes you appear intolerant and does your cause no good.

    • Alan Bissett

      I appreciate your honesty, Peter S, but I hardly think you can call this caricature. These are words that come from the mouths of unionists on a regular basis. The Tories really don’t want to lose the Empire; Labour really do want to beat the SNP; many people really did enjoy the Olympics. These aren’t caricatured positions. Unionists would tell you these things themselves. All I’ve done is simply lay some anti-independence arguments side by side and then suggested that none of them are, in any way, putting forward hope for a better future. Straightforward enough. That you call a simple list of anti-independence slogans a ‘dirge’ says it all about the unionist position, quite frankly.

      And while I’m glad you love my novels, and thank you for saying so, I can
      hardly remain silent on what is the single greatest political issue Scotland
      has faced for 300 years. I’m sorry, but I have children in my life that I want
      a better future for and I’m going to fight for it. That you’re ‘not bothered
      one way or the other’ surprises me. And to suggest that scepticism about the
      Unionist position is ‘intolerance’ when daily, in every newspaper and on every
      news channel, they attack the independence movement – a social justice movement – with incredible vehemence is, I’d suggest, a rather selective reading you’ve made. I can only infer that you believe that when Alasdair Darling goes on the offensive he too is being ‘intolerant’.

  • http://www.facebook.com/morag.lennie.5 Morag Lennie

    Unlike Peter S I really like this, and truly believe that the fate of Scotland lies in the hands of women, especially we old ones. ignore us at your peril Yes Scotland, the SNP Alex Salmond etc.

  • http://www.facebook.com/susan.lyons.566 Susan Lyons

    I like this too – I rather think lan says it as it is. All those sentiments I have heard over the last months and I have spent time discussing and arguing the point for independence with almost all the people mentioned, Maybe not a “laird” and i dont know any Archbishops…. but pretty much the rest of the list. Am not yet an old woman (although not far off sigh) and my blogs show that Im going nowhere in silence but it the hope of a better country that drives me too.