I think some people are worried there won't be enough space, I've been to the Beltane Festival on Calton Hill - a moderately surreal experience if I'm being honest - where something in the region of 12,000 regularly attend with space to spare.
Obviously there are differences between the two; the Beltane Festival is a night time event and involves a fair bit of nudity, (note to self - don't Google images for Beltane at work again.) Whilst one hopes at the Independence rally all attendees remain fully clad - swapping kilts for the grass skirts favoured by Beltane-goers though - seems a fair exchange.
|Red arrow shows last year's venue, the blue arrow shows Calton Hill - its a good bit bigger.|
(I know, my skill with MS Paint knows no beginnings.)
On the one hand, I hope the hill does overflow on to Waterloo place, it would send a strong message to the Scottish Media who are so keen to treat support for independence as nothing more than an itch it can't quite scratch. I mean, I already believe there are swathes of people who, very quietly but no less implacably, are going to vote Yes. But it'll do no harm to put on a bit of a show - let people know the independence movement isn't the also-ran the execrable Scottish press would have them believe.
Meanwhile, we can expect the usual doom and derision from the 'Better Not' crowd, Ruth Davidson seems to be projecting Tory shortcomings at the moment so will no doubt say the rally 'lacked vision and aspiration', Willie will be terribly polite but no less derisive (and no bugger will bother what he says anyway.) Johann will gurn and spit out a stream of consonants with no separating vowels, no one except Margaret Curran will understand because she is the only other speaker of that particular dialect.
Over all, the BT mob - privately mind - will seethe because they can't produce anything like the level of enthusiasm for their cause as we can for ours. That won't last though, they'll remember their campaign ethos; 'hold on to the no votes we have and keep everyone else petrified.'
More than anything, what this rally will do is further normalise the idea of self determination. People will see a parade of folk just like them heading for Calton Hill, hopefully some of the optimism and positivity will rub off and they will begin to doubt the litany of fear coming from unionist politicians and the no campaign.
Ask any one who knows me and they will agree - I am a miserable bastard. But I'll tell you, its hard work maintaining the facade. I am optimistic for Scotland, I really am. While we all have personal challenges that occupy and sometimes drag us down - you're a lucky rarity if you don't - it doesn't have to be that way for the country.
Not wishing to bang on, we have a unique opportunity approaching next year, the chance to make a life-affecting change. I have zero tolerance for the 'it'll-make-no-difference' brigade because it absolutely will, how could it not? There is a tangible difference between the politics of Westminster and the politics of Holyrood. Westminster is complacent & imperious with age - it thinks it can do anything it likes, and frequently does. Holyrood is a young representative parliament which hasn't had the time to get jaded.
Is it perfect? No of course not, But to paraphrase Mrs Howden - if you don't like something, it's right fucking there on your doorstep, unlike Westminster which does its best not to be.
I'm looking forward to the march, I think I may also attend the party the night before, although I wouldn't be singing right enough*, that would be cruel. I'm also looking forward to being around like-minded people again, its refreshing and encouraging at the same time. Hopefully the folk over at Wings Over Scotland will get organised with a venue to meet beforehand, I don't comment often - there are enough to be getting on with - but it would be nice to put names to faces.
Other than that, I look forward to the token unionist unfurling a Union Flag and the hoots of good-natured derision he/she or they will attract.
* Unless enough wine is taken in which case I could be persuaded into a plaintiff rendition of Eric Carmen's seminal hit - 'All by myself'. (Dedicated to David Mundell and by extension, after Sept 2014, Westminster in general.)