Rip it up and start again

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I CAN’T get a song out of my head – not because it’s number one or on an annoying advert and not even because it was on Eurovision.  My earworm is Rip It Up and Start Again by Orange Juice and it’s on constant repeat as I walk the corridors of the Scottish Parliament.

Given the Glasgow band’s single was released in the year I was born, there’s something a bit strange going on over and above its insane catchiness.

By Jennifer McKiernan 

I CAN’T get a song out of my head – not because it’s number one or on an annoying advert and not even because it was on Eurovision.  My earworm is Rip It Up and Start Again by Orange Juice and it’s on constant repeat as I walk the corridors of the Scottish Parliament.

Given the Glasgow band’s single was released in the year I was born, there’s something a bit strange going on over and above its insane catchiness.

I think it’s the sentiment of being unhappy at imperfection, uneasy with a dissonance between heart and head and angry enough to raze things to the ground and begin afresh.

I love the fact Orange Juice were building on the Buzzcock’s punk hit Boredom – released on the UK’s first independent record label by the Mancunians as a kickback against the power-hogging London scene.

We in Scotland are swindled by the same complacent disdain that refuses to share the spotlight unless it’s on London’s terms. 

The fight for equality and social justice at Westminster is moving at the pace of a bad sludge metal band when we need the machine gun riffs of the Ramones.

Although Holyrood is closer to equality than Westminster, as I’ve said in my previous opinion columns there is still much further to go.  Accusations of whitewashing and dictatorial control of committees designed to hold the Scottish Parliament to account indicate the Holyrood system is so deeply dysfunctional nothing less than reconstruction will allow the people to speak to power.

Nothing in the Better Together campaign moves us close enough to the revolutionary action needed either – tinkering around the edges with further devolution won’t cut it, whereas a written constitution could.

The most uncertainty is over funding arrangements and, just as punk pioneers had to borrow cash to fund their dream, I expect to take a financial hit in the short term.

But I’m willing to pay for independence because it will bring about the radical shift we need in our moribund political system.

A functioning democracy needs to engage every stratum of society in the way the Yes campaign has done – not for party political reasons but bigger, brighter ideals that reinvigorate debate.

On the week of the 15th anniversary of the Scottish Parliament, it’s time for DIY – not so much ‘here’s three chords: now form a band’ as here’s your choice: now form a country

Jennifer McKiernan is a political reporter with the Evening Express
@jnnfrmckiernan