Scottish Independence Referendum – The view from Moffat..

Its been a while!…Desire to go into print again was brought on by the Moffat Show yesterday..our annual agricultural/tents in a field/cattle sheep and pig exhibitors. Rosettes, wellies, tweed jackets, shepherds crook competitions..and a YES [for Independence] stall just down the row from the NO Thanks one.

Kids with YES and NO balloons..handing out leaflets and stickers to passers by, the odd conversation with undecided or just plain argumentative folk, going on in little groups around our stall.

Our first involvement with the YES campaign was exactly a year ago with Eryl handing out leaflets at the gate. What has changed since then?..a definite air of suppressed aggression from the NO people seeing my badge…at last the whole community seems to realise there’s a momentous decision coming up. Months of tramping round the town delivering information, holding street stalls and helping with public meetings -not to mention hundreds of Facebook comments and posts – have at least achieved that….my one comment on that…it reinforces my view that many NO supporters thought so little of their country [whether thats Scotland or the UK] they didnt bother to listen to what was happening…a jaundiced view perhaps..

What really stirred me up though was the conversation I had with a YES supporter who happens to be a farmers wife. She told me that the reason many YES supporting tenant farmers were afraid to put up YES signs in their fields, on their vehicles or house windows was that they knew the landowner/landlord was an ardent NO.They couldnt risk his disfavour. Great …21st century rural Scotland – not much has changed out here in the last few centuries then…Same old, same old – took me straight back to the many calls I got from those same estate tenants, when I worked for the RSPB – “Ive found a poison bait/illegal trap/dead eagle, peregrine, harrier, buzzard – please dont tell the police I told you, if it gets back to the landowner he’ll make life difficult.” Made me furious then, still does now.Criminals making decent folk frightened.

The above is real life in the countryside – no mention of any of that in the campaign and still completely unknown to our majority urban population..or even many villagers.The NO tent at the show had more than a sprinkling of tweed jackets and of course our local MP, the only Tory MP in Scotland. In the country it seems that we have a class divide in the referendum.

Enough politics for the moment..back to music and fishing…Great night in the Annandale Arms last night – with my Moffat Music Live pals playing at the request of a group of bikers who enjoyed our playing a year ago and asked the management to get us back for them.Much appreciated pints of Merlin Ales, Cider and Guinness helping produce our bizarre mix of americana, blues, country and trad folk – not for the musically nervous!

After a summer dogged by long periods of “drought” with the River Annan “down to its bones”, we had a welcome downpour on friday with another expected tonight…looking forward to a few days of good fishing…