THERE’S no desire for another independence referendum, or so we keep being told. Scotland is perfectly content to be led down paths its people haven’t chosen. We’re happy to get the opposite to what we voted for. We don’t mind that during the independence referendum we were offered a choice between door A behind which was independence or door B behind which was safer faster better change, job security, EU membership, the guarantee that the NHS was safe, and a promise that Scotland would be an equal partner in a family of nations. So Scotland chose door B and discovered that what was behind it was sclerosis, job losses, leaving the EU, and an NHS that the Scottish Government can only protect by making cuts in other spending – a strategy that can’t continue indefinitely. And we discovered the promise that Scotland was an equal partner was just a blatantly cynical lie. Yet if we complain about this the Unionist parties tell us that we chose door B, that’s democracy, respect the result.
But we do mind. We do care. If politicians lie they need to be held to account. If you’re sold a product that doesn’t do what the seller told you it would you can take it back to the shop and get your money back. We don’t get any redress from the Union.
Ah but, the Unionists and their supporters cry, what about all the lies the SNP has told eh. Eh? EH? But that’s precisely the point. The Unionist parties and their supporters will have a chance to hold the SNP to account the next time there’s an election. But those same Unionist parties are telling us that there can never be another referendum. The Unionist parties don’t want to be held to account for the lies they told in order to win the 2014 referendum. Not only that, they want us to believe that it’s undemocratic to want to hold them to account for the lies they told. They want to lock door B behind us forever, and keep us in their dark room and feed us cereal.
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The betrayals and lies about extra powers for the Scottish Parliament were one thing. Brexit is a betrayal of a completely different order. Maybe Holyrood can wrest more powers from a future Westminster Government, but Brexit is forever. All those people who voted against Scottish independence, all those EU citizens who voted for Scotland to remain a part of the UK so that it would remain a part of the EU, they’ve been betrayed in the worst possible way. We’ve learned that the Union is nothing more than branding. Scotland isn’t in a Union, it’s been incorporated into a state that doesn’t respect us, doesn’t listen, and doesn’t care.
We need to organise. We need to act. We need to campaign. My first taste of politics came in the 1980s when I got involved in the campaign for lesbian and gay equality and HIV Aids awareness. None of us then waited for permission, and if we had we’d all have been dead by the time anything changed for the better. We didn’t sit back expecting a big political party to make the changes that were so vital. We did it ourselves. We did it without asking. We took the initiative into our own hands. That’s what Scotland needs to do now. So I’m not waiting for the Scottish Government to introduce a bill for a second independence referendum. I’m already campaigning to win it.
All across Scotland local groups are re-forming, Yes groups, Common Weal groups, Women for Independence and other interest groups. We need to get into gear now and we need to do it for two main reasons.
Firstly there’s the important reason that a single political party cannot win an independence referendum. We need party politics to get us a referendum, but we won’t win a referendum with party politics. Independence isn’t about specific policies of the SNP or any other party. Scottish independence isn’t predicated on the rate of corporation tax, whether we’re a monarchy or a republic, what currency we have, or whether we’re a part of the EU or not. Scottish independence is about one thing, it’s about the principle that the sovereign body in this land is the people of Scotland, and that people should be governed by a government that they elect and which is responsible to them and to them alone. It’s about establishing a reality in which the people of Scotland determine the path that Scotland takes.
Secondly we need to campaign in order to prove that there is a demand for a second independence referendum. We can’t sit back and hope that events will create the demand, we need to be active agents of our own destiny.
The new state that we seek to achieve will be shaped by the campaign that wins independence. We’d had 300 years of passivity in Scotland, but if we seek an independent Scotland citizens in which citizens engage, participate and are involved and active, we need an independence campaign in that same image. Independence starts with independence of the mind and independence of the spirit. If we need to wait for permission to start campaigning for that, we’ll never get there. Let’s get started.