A subject that’s just a little tricky to ignore

September 18 was a famous day
September 18 was a famous day

By Ralph Mellon

I really was.

You might have thought (if you were remotely interested) that such a unique, unprecedented and historic milestone in our socio-economic and political heritage would have been a chocolate-smothered gift to somebody whose turn came up, only days after the poll, to fill a 700-word slot on a subject of their choice.

But I don’t ‘do’ politics. As one of my colleagues observes elsewhere on today’s FFP pages, ‘there are more important things to think about’.

As I’ve got older, the contempt I had for political debate and those who revelled in it has gradually been replaced by a casual curiosity about what they’re saying, and a desire to understand at least some of it – but I still don’t ‘do’ politics, and almost certainly never will.

Having ambled to the wrong conclusion a few days ago, I thought my turn on the First Person rota was last week.

So I was going to do up a barnstorming, rousing article, deep from the heart, about how September 18 was a significant day in all of our lives and we should remember it for a long time, and it was the day we had to take a momentous decision – to remember Jimi Hendrix, because it was the anniversary of his death.

A few other stirring events were recorded on that day through the years as well, such as Peg Entwistle fatally hurling herself off the ‘H’ in the Hollywood sign, machine gun-toting heiress Patty Hearst finally being nabbed by the FBI, the funeral of Chairman Mao and the births of Greta Garbo and James Gandolfini.

Perhaps even more seismic than all of those, however, was the release in 1978 of simultaneous solo albums by all the members of Kiss.

But, even to someone as politically ignorant as me, the referendum is probably too big an event just to let drift by, tempting though it is.

I don’t know, though. Halway through the column and I’ve still said nothing.

But no. It’s interesting how some predictable stuff has happened just in the few days since the historic poll.

The allegations of promises already being broken, claims that the vote was rigged, the desire to convert winners into losers, and vice-versa.

Plus, a wonder about how long Scotland would remain in the public consciousness and news agendas elsewhere, before everyday lives and routines gradually regained hold once again and the referendum became just a flickering memory.

The fact is, whichever way the result would turn out, plenty of turbulent times are ahead for our wee nation – mostly borne out of mutually damaging warfare.

The pro-Union chiefs are going to spend a lot of time fighting among themselves over how best to deliver whatever concessions we think we won in the run-up to the vote – just as the Yes followers, had they won, would be fighting among themselves over the best path to delivering independence.

Many believe also that the Westminster overlords might wreak merciless vengeance on our diminutive country for daring to have a referendum in the first place – regardless of the fact a hefty proportion voted against breaking away.

And the referendum, as with just about every major occasion or happening days, was defined and shaped to a massive degree by social media, and will be reflected on in that context.

It’s ironic that something which has wrecked the art of face-to-face conversation is held up as the prism through which we look at just about everything these days.

Yes, it’s liberating and a good device for some, but it has also shown, once again, that a large proportion of folk shouldn’t be allowed within 50 miles of a keypad.

If you could have your own wee independent nation, in which you were President, Prime Minister and general Supreme Being, how tempting would it be to make a ban on social media your first act?