Scottish punks draw inspiration from Tommy Ramone.

The death of Tommy Ramone reminds me of how my taste in music changed almost overnight, just as it did for one of my heroes: John Peel. But this also reminds me of something else. The Scottish people are waking up to just how stifling a dusty old straightjacket the United Kingdom is.

Rebellion is in the air in exactly the way it was during the flourishing of punk rock when I was a teenager. Looking back, some of the things I did make me embarrassed. I was young. All teenagers learn from making mistakes. I reveled in tastelessness, finding plenty of that to pogo to at Ramones concerts.

If it pissed off my parents and teachers, so much the better. This sense off kicking against the status quo is part of what will nourish and revitalize Scotland’s independence movement. Look at some of the Ramones songs: Beat on the Brat; Now I wanna sniff some glue. They seem tasteless and positively written to create controversy. This is as old as Dada, and every creative movement in the arts going all the way back to the Ancient Greeks, and no doubt long before that. But it is this tastelessness of youth that creates the acid in our cultures digestive system that keeps civilization healthy.

Part of the so-called ‘cybernat’ trolls (not all of it, by any means; but part of it) is nothing more nor less than tasteless jokes that are not to be taken seriously. It is us (especially our youth) letting our hair down.

Sarah Smith, Jo Coburn, Alistair Darling, John Beattie et al know this. Their problem is they have a sense of humour bypass. This would not be a problem if the official YES Campaign did not surrender to the BBC’s phoney indignation, demanding scapegoats for innocent jokes.

There needs to be a positive and rational debate within the YES Campaign about the role of humour. Let’s debate what is beyond the pale and what is not. And don’t tell youths to shut up just because they made a bad call once or twice. Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.


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