Imagine for one moment, that you are having a perfectly normal conversation with 3 strangers you have never met before. There is nothing controversial being said,there is no argument or raising of voices above normal conversation level. It is all very peaceful and you are outside a hotel where you happen to be staying for the moment.
Imagine then, that some stranger approaches your small group, and then proceeds to tell you that you are to move, that it is not acceptable for you to have your conversation where you are, that you must move to the back of the hotel, to the hotels car park.
Imagine further, that when you object to being forced to move, that they then tell you that you are not allowed to speak to your new friends, and proceed to herd them back into the hotel.
You have just had your basic human rights torn up. The rights to freedom of speech, freedom of expression, freedom of movement,the right to liberty,the right to freedom of assembly and association,the very basic right of being free to have normal human interaction with others.
I think you might just be a tad upset.
But imagine now, instead of outside a hotel, you were in your own front garden inside your garden gate, and the same thing happened, some stranger just walks up and tells you that you cannot have your conversation, and to move to the back of your house.
You wouldn’t just be a tad upset, you would be absolutely outraged!
Well one day last week, that is just what happened to me outside the Britannia hotel in Stockport. (ironic that it should be named the Britannia hotel)
I happened to be living in this hotel for a week, and on one fine sunny morning last week, I was sitting outside the hotel in its driveway on a wall, having a cup of cofee and a small cigar, just taking in the sunshine.
I noticed three chaps sitting on the grass opposite me in the hotel grounds, and I don’t know what it was, but there was something different about them, almost as if they were out of place in some way.
I sat and observed them for a little while, sitting there just having a normal conversation among themselves, taking note of their body language, and how they expressed themselves to each other.
My curiosity got the better of me, and seeing as there was nothing better to do, I strolled over and started chatting to them.
” Hi, how are you, my name is Rod, are you enjoying having some nice weather for a change too?”
It is from this point on, that things start to get interesting.
It turned out that only one of them had a good grasp of the English language , and the conversation that followed mostly went through him, with him interpreting what the other two were saying to me when they wanted to interact with the conversation.
I asked them how they enjoyed living in the country, jokingly saying that I was a stranger in the country too (England)
“It is fine, we feel safe here, at least we can live our lives without fear, and nobody carries guns”
“Where do you come from?”, I asked. Kurdistan was the reply.
My jocular reference had him intrigued, ” If you are not English, where do you come from?”
” Scotland” I replied with a smile. ” I am only visiting England for a week”
“But surely”, he said…. ” you are the same people” “You share the same language, this is the same country, you have the same culture, you have the same politics”.
“Well actually not quite”, I said.
I then went on to explain that there were as many differences as there was commonality between us, that not all was the same.
We may share the same language, but the English we use is not exactly the same, Scots has the same root, and many of our words in common usage would not be understood without explanation to someone from England unless they lived among us, and that we also had other languages and dialects, such as Gaelic, Lallans and Doric. .
I explained that Scotland had its own Law, Education,and Health,and parliament.
There were also different political systems at play, even though we were all lumped together with the other British countries at Westminster.
We had a discussion of how things were for them in their own country, and we spoke of Independence.
They told us how very disappointed that they were that Scotland had not voted to be Independent.
“We were watching, the whole world was watching, and every people who wanted Independence were hoping that you would do it! You had the chance to do something we have not been able to do, to achieve Independence by democratic means, not by violence and having to fight for it, and You turned it down! Why? ”
He could not comprehend that the Scots should be handed the chance of being Independent on a plate, and refused to take it! How could this possibly be?
The conversation and exchange of views, and the education continued for a while,and we all found it most Interesting, learning about each other, finding out things we did not know….. and then it all went pear shaped!
We were interrupted by a large African gentleman, who told us to move.
When I questioned not only his right to make such an instruction, but asked who he was, he told me that he was the Assistant Manager.
Part 2 to follow
What happened next, had me more angry and outraged than I have been for many a long year.