Sunday 22 September 2013


Munguin and Humza Yousaf, Minister for
 External Affairs and International Development


I don't think any of us expected it to be that amazing. Well, I didn't anyway.  I've never been on a march before. I'm more a 'write about it' kind of person than a 'go on a march' kind of person. 

But I'd wanted to go last year, and couldn't because I'd previously arranged to take an old lady out for a run in the country that day! So I swore I would go this time, come hell or high water.

So in some convivial and comfortable company, Munguin and I set on in the car yesterday. And we hadn't a clue what to expect. Our companions hadn't been before either.

What we found though was better that we had dared hope for.

I don't know about numbers. At one stage the BBC said 8,000. Then they said "more than 8000". A police inspector there on crown control (not that control was needed from what I could see) suggested 30,000*. I'm useless at judging numbers so I don't have a clue how many there were. But there were a lot.

We were among the first to arrive
so Munguin got a badge
The atmosphere was amazing. People just seemed to like one another, maybe because there was a common goal. But all marches are, I suppose, have common golals, and it doesn't seem to me that they are as warm as this one was. People were talking to people they'd never met before, sharing stories, sharing biscuits and snacks. I saw no evidence of any trouble, nor of any drinking, nor indeed much litter (although with all the leaflets that were being handed out, I imagine that the hill will need a bit of a clean today). There were people of all ages. Kids I suppose who didn't have much choice, but teens, through to people who were clearly in their 80s or even 90s. The place was a sea of kilts. 

There were people of various ethnic backgrounds (lovely to see Asian Scots in kilts), and I was blessed by God and by Allah within a few minutes... not bad going for an atheist!

We marched (well OK, dandered) next to a group from Orkney, under their flag, and one of the ladies was telling me that there was a contingent from YES PAPA STOUR!. Among the more surprising banners we noticed one from Free Venice! 

Il y avait partout des affiches avec le mot "OUI", and I had the chance to say a brief "Bonjour" to Christian Allard, our first French-born MSP. 

Munguin holds top level talks with
Stewart Hosie and Shona Robison
respectively SNP Finance Spokesman
 and Minister of Sport 
It took a long time to get  everyone to Calton Hill. We sat three quarters of the way up where we could see the screens and hear the contributions and people kept on coming and coming and coming. The sound system was excellent and the speeches were inspiring, funny and kinda homely. Margo was brilliant. Elaine C Smith was awesome. The music was bang on. Just enough, not too much.

I'd never heard Dennis Canavan speak before, but he was passionate and I found what he said chimed with the way I felt. A kind of modernised Old Labour.  

If there was a downside for me, it was that despite the Munguin T-shirts and Munguin looking around all the time, we didn't meet any of you lot. And that was a disappointment!
Brilliant banner on the North Bridge,
right outside RBS

As the photos show, Munguin himself, was rather busily occupied having top level meetings with government ministers from Holyrood, opposition spokesmen from Westminster and the Rev Stuart Campbell, who gave him a badge, of which he is more than a little proud, but I'd really hoped to have a blether. (Talking of that word, did anything ever come of "Blether Together"?) 

Thanks to Shona, Stewart and Humza for good naturedly humouring our proprietor. He's having the photographs framed expensively for the boardroom!

So sorry I missed you guys, but there's always next year.

I don't know where they will hold it though. Anyone up for the top of Arthur's Seat?

* Police have now confirmed that the number was around 30,000.

And the best response from the No Campaign, in the form of the Scotsman,  was to publish article on an 8 month old report, saying that if we vote for independence, the rest of the UK will try to redraw maritime borders and it could take up to ten years to sort it out. It seems that they want our oil. It suggests to me that that has been central to London's argument all along.


  1. I did see some quite humorous home produced posters during the day. 'Sorry Darling but i'm leaving', was one and a few with similar wording. Amazing what you do with a home computer and printer these days.

    You needed sharp elbows to get down from the Castle to the start of the march but didn't make it in time to where the WoS people were meeting up. Maybe next year.

    1. There were some great posters, Marcia. I saw one with "Darling, je vous aime beaucoup...NOT"

      We only got there because Munguin's chauffeur was early and we were incredibly lucky with traffic, which can be a nightmare on any normal Saturday in Edinburgh, never mind one with a pile of extra people arriving.

      Hat's off to Police Scotland for keeping everything moving as well as they did. The High Street was packed. if you were up the top, I reckon that's probably where you had to stay.

      YES did a good job of organising, I thought, and the only real hold up was when we turned up the narrow road into Calton Hill. 10 people abreast had to slim down quite a bit. But hey, they had even had the presence of mind to put a screen at the blockage point so we watched a Blondie Tribute while we waited.

      And the company was so good, no one really seemed to mind.

      A word to the wise in Yes Scotland though. I saw the queues for toilets... I know no one expected that number of people, but even if we had had a third of the numbers the queues would have been LONG!

      I thought of that in advance and limited my liquid intake but I genuinely felt sorry for those who hadn't.

      Hope to meet up next year Marcia...

    2. The March and Rally is organised by Jeff Duncan and Anne McMillan. and not YesScotland.

    3. Yeah. Thanks for that a.haddow. I just found that out.

      Congratulations to them. I thought it had a big organisation behind it....

      We owe them big time.

  2. Glad everyone had a great time and I'm jealous of the high level politicos who got to meet Munguin. I hope next year we can have rallies in different cities. As a Weegie, I'm allergic to Edinburgh :-) And even more allergic to long loo queues!!

    1. Munguin says that next year, between cabinet ministers and other dignitaries he may be able to spare you a few moments of his precious time, if you promise not to steal him!

      Actually we were trying to think of a place that will be big enough next year. Although I don't know Glasgow at all, all or Edinburgh very well so I wasn't much use.

      There was an overspill on Arthur's seat this year, as a pic on Wings shows. Camperdown Park in Dundee was be an excellent place for the rally. But the march might cause problems because it is on a main road well out of the city centre.

      Still there are ways round that and I hope the organisers will consider it. If not Ancrum Park, or Victoria Park maybe... with Balgay Hill between them, both could be used.

    2. I'm sorry I didn't see Munguin. I was looking out for him but it was hard to find anyone in particular in such a huge crowd.

      There was nothing on Arthur's Seat! That was a photo of the area behind and to the side of the monument, where they had set up rows of chairs in front of a large screen for the mobility impaired to watch in comfort. The appearance of being on Arthur's Seat is an optical illusion of the photograph.

      Great day!

    3. Ahhhh... thanks Rolfe for that explanation. I was a little perplexed about that...

      Yes, Munguin is sorry he didn't see you but, like you say, the crowd was huge, and although we may have seen a few photographs of people, we're never quite sure...

      I saw someone who looked like Doug Daniel, but without a beard... so I didn't speak, then I discovered that he's shaved his beard off!


      Oh well...maybe we'll catch up next year!


  3. "The Fools On The Hill"

    Day after day, alone on the hill
    Alex with the foolish grin is keeping perfectly still
    But nobody wants to know him
    They can see that he's just a fool
    As he never gives an honest answer
    But the fool on the hill
    Sees the yes vote going down
    And the eyes in his head
    See the world spinning around

    Organisers of the rally said around 20,000 people took part in the event, however Police Scotland give a much lower estimate of 8,300 on the march and 6,000 at the rally.
    With a year to go to the referendum, estimates of turn-out varied from the 8,300 figure put forward by Police Scotland to the far more optimistic 20,000 to 30,000 attendance claimed by the event organisers.
    Police estimated that more than 8,000 people took part in the march.

    Organisers said that between 20,000 and 30,000 people had been involved in the day's events

    A witty statesman said, you might prove anything by figures. (Quote by - Thomas Carlyle)

    "This is a historic day. It marks one year to go until I get to stand here and warmly celebrate with everyone in this room that Scotland has chosen to reaffirm its place in our United Kingdom and elected to continue working in partnership with our neighbours. I expect to be standing in front of a UK Labour conference audience as Scottish leader of a party that has persuaded most Scots that our future lies in partnership with our neighbours."

    Johann Lamont

    1. She was an English teacher?

      Thank heaven for kids that she went into politics. It might have done the Labour party no end of harm, but it saved a pile of kids learning poor English.

      I think, by the way, that Yes people want to work in cooperation with our neighbours... England, Wales, Ulster, Eire, Iceland, Faroes, Norway, Sweden, Denmark... We just don't want to be ruled by any of them.

      I suspect that if we had to pick a set of politics to be ruled by, rather than our own, we would likely, of all our neighbours, chose English right wing politics last of all.

      As for the numbers, Niko: Does it look like 8,000 to you?

      But if you want to believe that only 25 people took part, please yourselves.

      Burying heads in sand never got anyone anywhere.

      When are you guys going to have a rally?

      But I think your 'Fool on the Hill' was really funny. LOL at iot. Very good. You couldn't even get 400 along to YES Glasgow's launch in a city with well over a million people!

      You couldn't even get 200 along to YES Glasgow's launch in a city with well over a million people!

    2. Tris, I've had discussions over on Wings in the past with numerous people who have all suffered the ignominy of having Lamont as their teacher and every one to a man and a woman have had the same thing to say about her teaching abilities...........she was worse than useless!

    3. Glad she wasn't my teacher, Arbroath.

      "a historic" ?

      "I GET to stand here"?


  4. I was there Tris.

    I was accompanied by my partner, her eldest daughter and soon to be three year old grandson. You couldn't miss me I was in a wheelchair!

    We had arrived in Edinburgh early enough to get to the gold post box where Wings were supposed to be meeting but when we got there there was no Wings flag. Being confused, I know it's not difficult to confuse me, we went for a wee daunter along the High Street but still couldn't see "the flag." Thinking he was late we returned to the box still nothing so we dauntered back up the high Street on the Albanach's side this time. This time I did meet someone from Wings but we couldn't stop really because we'd have been blocking the pavement. We just moved up a wee bit and 'parked' in Jackson's Close!

    We joined the march just ahead of the Women for Independence banner. I heard someone say the reason the march halted at the bottom of the hill was because they were waiting for the mobility bus to get clear at the top. Mind you waiting at the bottom wasn't too much of a drag though, White Rose and Dirty Harry both put in excellent performances in my view.

    1. I knew you were going Arbroath, and I was looking out for a wheelchair. Must have missed you by not much though.

      Never mind. We were all there and that's what matters most.

    2. Arbroath, I missed you!

      Funny story. I'd forgotten about you being female, and just remembered the bit about being in a wheelchair. Just as RevStu was showing up, there was a chap in a wheelchair right there on the pavement. A couple of people asked each other, "is that Arbroath", but there was no time to ask the chap himself because Stu pulled the badges out of his pocket.

      A sort of scrum ensued, and I was caught behind the wheelchair. My arm wasn't long enough to get a badge, and Stu had turned away to the side. Seeing them rapidly depleting I practically fell over the wheelchair and got my mitts on one. I then reached back, saying "chap in a wheelchair needs one," secured a second, and pressed it into his hand. All the while thinking this was probably our very own Arbroath 1320.

      The scrum gradually eased, and then the organisers came to tell us to move into position or we'd be left at the end. And I never saw the guy in the wheelchair again. I think I may have given one of the coveted silver Wings badges to a complete stranger who just happened to get caught in the scrum!

    3. Och well, Rolfe. I'm sure the guy appreciated it.

      They will be collectors pieces in a few years.

    4. Aha Tris!

      I see it's your turn to suffer from stutteritis! lol

    5. Thanks for the thought there Rolfe, it's is very much appreciated even though I missed out on a Wings badge and meeting others from this site and Wings. :-(

    6. What was that Arbroath??????

    7. WHIT?

      Did you s s s s s say something Tris? lol

    8. LOL It's Ok, I'll clean it up, again!

  5. You should have been at the Albanach Tris.

    The Wings over Scotland crowd.

    There was plenty evidence of drinking there...

    1. Ha ha... I suspected that there must be somewhere, with you and Urchin... What I meant though was no one was swigging on the march or on the hill... or at least I didn't see them. And there was no one rolling around drunk.

      Sorry I missed you though...

  6. Apologies Tris we didn't 'park up' in Jackson close it was Fleshmarket Close we parked up in. Oops! lol

    1. LOL Arbroath... I wasn't looking up closes for you LOL

  7. niko,
    when are you lot having your march? Then we could really compare numbers on a like for like basis couldn't we. We could also compare the different groupings for Independence at our march, against those groupings for The Union at your march. I wonder which would most resemble and reflect your supposedly avowed progressive politics of the left?

    Bankers for continued Union, Landed Elite for continued Union, Arms dealers for continued Union, Newly ennobled for continued Union, Political hopefuls for continued Union, Abject poor for continued Union?, CND for continued Union?, Socialist monarchists for continued Union? etc etc.

    Really looking forward to the police report post Union march as well.

    Maybe you could save a lot of trouble and have it policed by the The Northern Irish Police Force as they are British after all, and have the most recent and detailed experience of policing passionate Pro Union public Marches.

    You are passionate about the Union aren't you Niko?


    1. Yeah Braco. They could all shout out.

      "What do we want? More of the same.

      "When do we want it... It doesn't really matter. The Tories are sending it now. So we'll not have any say when we get it. It will come when it suits George Osborne.

      Mary Doll reckoned that we've only had 1/10th of these Tory cuts forced on us so far.

      Wait for what they are going to do to us. Same as they did the last time I reckon. Ruin us.

      But as Danny was wont to say...They couldnt have done it without the Liberals!

    2. And in those circumstances Tris, what exactly will we hear from niko, Dean and their fellow traveling Unionist first, 'Socialist' second, BetterNO campaigners after a NO vote (god forbid!).

      Will they really have enough of a brass neck to bitterly complain and shed cold crocodile tears over the brutal treatment of our poor by the big bad Tories (of whichever colour) down in Westminster?

      Going by past experience, of course they will!

      Maybe it's just an age thing, but that kind of cynicism is really starting to make me feel sick these days.


      P.S. Thanks for the article and photo's, I really enjoyed it. Unfortunately couldn't be there myself, as I am not home yet, so you're blog helped ease my frustrations (a little). Cheers.

    3. Well apparently Braco, the shadow Scottish secretary is worrying her pretty little head about the fact that if we get independence the Labour party will be broken up.

      This is quite complex, because according to them they broke it up a couple of years ago when Ms Lamont became the leader of all of Scottish Labour.

      This however was not true because she was not allowed to be involved in any of the issues over Falkirk, whether it discipline of their current MP or dealing the debacle that followed. Interestingly, she couldn't have made much more of a mess of it all than Miliband did.

      But anyway, Vinegar Maggie has said that Alex Salmond will break up the Labour Party which has been going for 115 years.

      I doubt it has occurred to her that the original Labour Party wouldn't recognise the war mongering greedy bastards that the Labour leadership has become. If they saw Tony Blair they'd immediately assume he was a Tory.

      I would imagine that they would delight in losing the fat cat money grubbing spivs of Westminster for some genuine Labour people, like Dennis Canavan.

      He talks the same language as Labour of old. She on the other hand, might as well be talking Ancient Greek.

      But isn't it typical of them to worry about Labour. Never mind the bloody people Maggie. just you worry about your seat in the House of Lords.

      I'm so pleased Munguin's helped ease the frustrations. It's great to get a wee compliment like that! Hope you'll be there next year.

  8. Unfortunately I had spent the day of the march resolutely working my way through two bottles of red wine at a flat warming party.

    Glad you had a nice time, and good to see Munguin getting out and about!

    1. A well, Dean; these things have to be done!!!

      The don't make wine to be wasted.

      Thanks for your good wishes, though. It was a fun day, and wee Munguin had a great time. Of course there's no speaking to him now he's had a taste of the high life.

    2. PS, I hope your head is better. Red wine is the devil for hangovers!

    3. Painkillers are soooo my best friend right now! I'm telling you, this hangover sucks more than Kim Kardashian!

    4. Ah Dean...will you ever learn?

      Yesterday, in order to avoid queuing for toilets I forewent all liquid intake, except one coffee first thing.

      By the time we were finished and stopped on the way back to the carpark I was dehydrated!

      As Jutie says below I did see loads of people disappearing into the bushes. I suspect those who met inside (rather than outside) the Albanach probably watered the vegetation on Calton Hill more than it's been watered all summer.

  9. Good to meet a few Wingers at the Albanach, and on the march. The bushes on the hill were well watered. :-)

    1. Yep, even as we were arriving there seemed to be a lot of people disappearing over the back and reappearing...

  10. tris and other hill people

    Its always the powerless who jump up and down
    on the street have a rally wave flags that sort of thing !!!!

    The powerful can just sit at home picking their toenails
    safe and sure in the knowledge they are the winners.


    All day to drink two bottles of red wine
    ' Lightweight '

    1. Well, I suppose that's true, Niko. It's all we have. Whereas you unionist guys can just get something through the House of Lords or the Privy Council and it happens. mr Cameron has so much power.

      How were your toe nails anyway?

      Hows Taz?

  11. Tris

    I was at the rally but could not find you and the wee rascal.

    Was in the march just behind the WoverS Flag. Said hello to the rev and shook his hand.

    Maybe we will meet next year, at the YES celebration.

    1. Yep Dubs, we sure will.

      Don't tell Munguin I said this... but I think the Rev Stu is a bit more influential in all this than he is, so you probably got the better part of the deal there.

      Anyway, as I say, the most important thing is that we were all there...even if in different parts of the crowd.

      We all counted.

      This year I was with Munguin and three friends. Next year I'm going to come with 2 car loads full. I hope everyone else tried to bring double this year's contingent. 60,000 would be even nicer.

  12. Niko's lot had a march in Glasgow that day. Literally dozens turned up, there were three arrests and More sectarianism

    1. They'd be the ones that were looking for the Better together Glasgow launch in that half empty 450 seat theatre.


  13. Would be great to get a link to an official statement from the police re 30,000. I know it was easily 30,000. Hilarious when you consider last year they estimated what was 12,000 + at 5,000. We even had some UKOKs saying " I was in Edinburgh and nothing happened they are all lying." The UKOKs are shit scared they are losing and they know it.


    Yours sincerely HenBroon

    1. Hen,

      I hear that the police, when they have budgeted manpower for 8000, kinda stick to that number, so that they don;t look like they got it wrong!

      It obviously pleased the Beeb to stick to that, although they must have knows that they were lying. What can you say. Them BBC tells lies.

      Yes Scotland have said between 20 and 30,000, I think.

  14. Just in case you have not seen it Tris, here's a link to probably the best video yet about the wee saunter in Edinburgh on Saturday.

  15. Ever wondered how the word about Scottish Independence is being spread around the tourists of Edinburgh Tris?

    Well I reckon this COWARD could well be involved in spreading the smear in my view!

    1. Hiding in Greyfriars

      No one would listen to him ...

      Truth is out there to be seen.

  16. "when are you lot having your march?"
    I dont think I could handle 52 rev IM Jollys and their wives (all called Euphemia) marching after a hearse with plumed horses and a top hatted man telling us
    were doomed were all doomed ala private frazer

    1. LOL ROTFLMAO...

      What a picture... all with anti-virus suits on.