I need to write this. Its not what I want to write, but I have to, for me. For some sort of closure.
2014-15 was in three ways a really shitty time for me. A time that redefined my relationship with my work and my politics.
In 2014, after two and a half years solid campaigning, I crashed when Yes lost the Scottish referendum. But I still had my political party. One that then decided (via its hidden leadership and their manipulations) to pour us all from a large bowl into a smaller cup in order for self selected cadre to lead us all into a war against the gargantuan SNP. To cut a long story short, both cadre involved in what became Rise, didn't like some of us opposing their manipulations of new members and they set their useful idiots on me to silence me/get rid of me. I fought for a while, as I was torn between my brilliant branch that I'd help build and maintain and campaign locally with, but by summer 2015, I had had enough threats and nastiness, and left (though after speaking to some members who said they would be fighting back in 2016,rejoined for a short time and was kicked out by the compliant EC).
And third, my work life crumbled. I am a teacher and had until three and a half years earlier been a long term supply teacher for my council. Without letting me know I was made permanent in the school I was supplying in. This school had two problems for me, a really old fashioned outlook on education, and a deputy head teacher who admitted she hated children and men. She bullied every man who came to the school, one student was totally smashed by her, yelling across classrooms at him and in the end he left, defeated and then left teaching. She found me more difficult. I was a Union rep. And I pulled her up a few times at some if her goings on. And represented her when she needed representing. But when the head teacher retired in 2014, and she got the post, my card was marked. She hounded me, and made me a nervous wreck following me and setting a new acting deputy on to me, who also followed me, and stood outside my classroom etc. The Head called me, “autistic,” and in fact said that all men were autistic. Anyway, I won't go through the litany of shit she threw at me and the children (who I spent my time protecting from her) and by Christmas 2014, I felt crushed. Work really shouldn't be like that, especially teaching and trying to make children's lives better.
The weeks leading up to Christmas I was just taking one day at a time. I was physically and mentally exhausted. On the last day before the holidays, I cried as I left the children down the path at home time. All I could think was, “in two weeks I'm back to this shit again.” I was torn between the children and my own health. I really felt I could not face the place again.
During the holidays, my family visited us in Scotland and everyone came down with the flu. I prayed that I would, and thankfully a few says before the end of the holidays, I caught it. I hoped it would last and last, but a week or so of being off work, I began to feel better, and panic set in. I knew if I went back there, this woman would hound me out of teaching. And noone on the staff seemed to want to stand in solidarity with me. So I had to admit defeat and go to the doctor. I was very clearly depressed.
I was signed off. And I went to my union. By summer 2015, I had been extricated from the school and started working with the superb colleagues I still share a school with.
I really don't miss my old party, but do miss the branch meetings in Kirkintilloch with Ron, Willy, Mary, Mark, Bill, Angus, Sonya Pamela, Allan and the others. I really don't miss the atmosphere in my old school, but felt at the time, I was abandoning those children.
In the past few weeks, my old political party is now again embroiled in an internecine fight regarding the same sort of nonsense. And the Head Teacher has been forced out of her post by her employer because of complaints over her conduct.
I can't disguise the fact I feel vindicated regarding the bullying I received in the SSP and in my school. Politically and democratically, I feel I am a fair person. The party I joined became something i didn't recognise. And regarding workplace bullying, I know I was right to stand up to that Head Teacher. If I set the ball rolling that took her away from the children she daily yelled at and the staff she bullied, I am happy.
The next independence referendum is ours.