CommonWeal are starting a ReBuild initiative to address how we move forward post-coronavirus.
Here Mary McCabe tells us her thoughts on the subject:
There are two schools of thought about the world post Covid-19.
One: Plans to overhaul the system or to reform the constitution are navel-gazing. We must get back to where we were before considering radical change. If we ever do…
The Other: The place we were before, with the UK Government sacrificing Health and Social Care in England on the altar of profit, prioritising jingoistic wars over the war on poverty and ignoring the suggestions of the Scottish Government to take a different route was how we got in this mess.
Mary McCabe, co-convenor of our P4Indy National Group writes:
Many of you will have heard of the Radical Wars which swept across West Central Scotland in the early 19th century and which culminated in the 1820 Scottish Uprising. This is a little-known episode of Scottish history, with the reports of what happened suppressed at the time and to some extent suppressed ever since.
Because 2020 is the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Bonnymuir and the trials, executions and transportations which followed, there had been lots of plans this year to stage commemorative events in local communities. These have mostly fallen foul of Covid-19 and the lockdown.
The aims of the Radicals were political as well as economic and included better wages for weavers, the universal male franchise and independence for Scotland. The play is performed (there are folk-songs as well as drama) by senior citizens.
The quiz was provided by Liz Thomas. The team of Anne Clark, Mary Stuart and Vi Williamson carried off the prize with a perfect score of 26 out of 26.
Act 2: Drama: “Coulda Been a Contender”
This was a tragi-comedy featuring thespians Isabel Cooney (of the famous pink hair), Liz Thomas, Brian Watson, Sheena Stephen and Mary McCabe. There were surprise guest appearances from Willie Rennie and Jo Swinson (on her way to join Ruth Davidson in Never-Never Land). Despite the total lack of rehearsal the performance went well. Here’s a short extract (the incident of the £50 note is based on fact):
Willie (patting Jo’s arm): Och Jo! Look on the bright side!
Jo: Is there a bright side?
Willie: It’s true we lost one seat in Scotland, but we… we won another seat in Fife!
Jo: WRONG thing to say!
Willie: We …we…didn’t lose every single one of our deposits…
Jo: Pah! (pushes him away). That reminds me…
Willie: (Puppylike, panting) Yes, Jo? What is it, Jo?
Jo: I need to write a receipt for this donation from Don Luigi DeAngelo of the Cayman Islands. Go and buy a pen at that stall.
Willie: All my money fell out my pockets this morning when I was walking on my hands for the BBC.
Jo:(Snorts contemptuously) Here.
Willie: A £50 note! I can’t hand that over at a stall. They won’t have change.
Jo: What do you mean? (Looks at note) Do notes come smaller than that?
Willie: (to stall holder): Can I buy a pen?
Stallholder: Here you are….wait…whit’s this?
Willie: £50 note. Smallest I’ve got. We don’t weigh ourselves down with chingle. Sure we don’t, Jo?
This is a play which (unlike Ms Swinson) is set to go places. I hear that a famous Hollywood producer has already expressed interest.
Act 3: Song
Four members of the Pensioners for Indy Warblers (Bill and Meg Lindsay, Mary McCabe and fiddler Anne Cumming) performed an updated version of the Warbler theme song “The Union – a Tragedy”. The audience cheered, stamped feet and clamoured for an encore. (See here for the original version of The Union – A Tragedy)
Unfortunately the Warblers in their modesty had not anticipated such a request. As they huddled together to come up with a number which they all knew well enough to perform without notes or rehearsal, Meg Lindsay stepped up to the plate with a song composed there and then. “Now independence it is coming” (to the tune of ‘Now the summertime is coming’) She performed it as a solo, accompanied by Anne, to thunderous applause.
Act 4: Santa
There was another surprise guest when Santa Claus turned up to call the raffle prizes. The fact that in height he resembled Robert Littler, one of the regulars from the Thursday stall, was one of life’s coincidences. The good quality prizes – no recycled Xmas presents from nineteen-nineteen – included a bottle of Glenmorangie bearing a signature from the First Minister and with its own back-story to tell. Also author-signed copies of three of Mary McCabe’s own books: EverwindingTimes, Stirring the Dust and Two Closes and a Referendum.
In the intervals between activities Sheena Stephen provided a background of music from Scotland. England and Ireland: the Beatles, the Corries and the Clancys. The Bacchus provided a large spread and the bar was open all night.
With 31 attendees our first Greater Glasgow Pensioners for Indy Christmas Party made an overall profit for our funds. It won’t be our last! Mary McCabe