IN the wake of last year’s No vote, tens of thousands of Scots joined political parties. It was the first sign that a population newly energised by politics would not go back to apathy. Since then, the official Yes campaign has closed up shop, but plenty of groups born of the indyref are still going strong: the Radical Independence Campaign (RIC), Women for Independence, Common Weal, Bella Caledonia, Independence Live, just to name a few. Some of RIC’s founders and supporters have gone on to develop Rise, an electoral alliance of the left.

So why do we still need a radical, non-electoral movement?

1. Cross-party cooperation.

Our political system is built on competition. As much as we may wish for consensus-based politics and cross-party alliances, the hard truth is that elections result in winners and losers. A non-electoral organisation such as RIC helps to build connections between people from a range of parties.

2. Speaking truth to power.

Acting as a pressure group, RIC can exert influence from outside the parliament.

3. Agreeing to disagree.

The beauty of not being a party is that we don’t have to agree with each other about everything. Of course we can focus on areas where we agree, but we don’t need to decide on a party line or policy agenda.

4. Escaping the elections cycle.

By necessity, political parties are wedded to the voting cycle. A non-electoral organisation can make a contribution around election time, but its main activities fill the spaces between elections.

5. Horizontal organising.

Our electoral process embodies hierarchy. Even in the most progressive parties there are still candidates, leaders, office-bearers, central committees. When we ask voters to make their choice, we try to persuade them that our candidate is the best.

Without the pressure to meet electoral commission guidelines or win votes, no-one has to be better than anyone else.

6. Thinking about the next referendum.

When the next referendum comes, all different kinds of organisations will be needed to win. It will be vitally important to have a radical, non-party political campaign group, committed to a Yes vote and to transforming Scotland.

Myshele Haywood
Radical Independence Campaign

Our foreign policy’s wrong and immoral

THE article by Kathleen Nutt (Don’t blunder into another conflict, SNP’s Stewart Hosie warns David Cameron, The National, November 23) included the quote from Osborne: “Frankly Britain has never been a country that stands on the sidelines.”

This is indicative of the likes of Cameron, Bush, Assad, Obama etc and their war psychosis. Why have we not heard any words that suggest that our foreign policy is simply both wrong and immoral?

Not once has it been plainly stated by politicians that we apologise for the catastrophic actions of Blair, Brown and all of their supporters (including the majority of Conservative and Labour MPs at the time) in backing the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq.

Nor have we heard any criticism from the elites concerning the gradual ethnic cleansing(since 1948) of the Palestinian people by the state of Israel and the creation of a racist and apartheid policy in that place, which is undoubtedly part of the problems in the Middle East.

In place of honesty we have a group of world leaders who embrace endless war and support despotic regimes,bolstering them with a constant supply of weapons guaranteed to increase our GDP. Very few leaders show intelligence and humanity (except Corbyn and hopefully Sturgeon and a few others) and possess an ability to understand the cultural and religious differences of the world’s populations.

History shows that the patterns of violence and ethnic cleansing lead to genocide and unless we have politicians who speak out and stand for honest discourse then we will continue along this road to the point were we destroy everything.

Alan Hind
Old Kilpatrick

GEORGE Osborne has negotiated spending cuts but he has made clear defence is not only protected, but will see an increase in spending.

The cuts made by the previous Conservative-Liberal Democrat Coalition have already brought about hundreds of thousands of redundancies with social services either slashed or abolished.

The Conservative government seeks to legitimise the decimation of public services with claims that public finance must be placed firmly in permanent surplus.

The chancellor admitted that public services must go and public coffers be emptied in preparation for bailing out the banks when the next economic crisis hits. The Tories have been overseeing a prolonged economic stagnation (the slowest post-crisis recovery on record) in which the extremely rich got much richer and the rest of us got poorer.

Alan Hinnrichs

CONGRATULATIONS to Cat Boyd, for the excellent presentation on the Offensive Behavior at Football Act (We can’t leave politics at the turnstiles, they’re a part of sport, The National November 24).

I am a season ticket holder at the ground of the Scottish Champions, my son is a season ticket holder at Ibrox Park. Now it seems that these two sets of supporters, who usually fail to agree what day of the week it is, are totally agreed that the OBA is a total nonsense.

Jimmy Johnston

I READ online about your kind hospitality (Welcome to Scotland, The National front page, November 17). It’s the sort of thing I’d expect from Scotland, and from a culture where hospitality is embedded in the soul.

Marina Fournier
California, USA

THE concept of “world government” is the only honest alternative to nationalism. The problem that people such as George Galloway have always had, when arguing against nationalism, is where to draw the line in order to delineate manageable and acceptable forms of government.

If nations such as the Scots, Irish, and Norwegians are to be “forbidden” from seeking the status of nation/state because the self-styled “internationalists” regard their ambitions as “narrow” or even “racist”, what do they offer as alternatives?

To date the “best” we have been offered is the EU, which is a “supranationalist” organisation where the largest, strongest states, such as Germany and France, dictate what is “best” for the organisation “as a whole”.

That “as a whole” argument should ring warning bells for every Scot, but particularly for those who have been actively seeking an independent Scotland for some time, as it is the argument that has been trotted out by the UK establishment for generations, as it increased its power base in the south-east of England.

If the treatment that has been meted out to the weakest countries such as Greece, Ireland, Italy, Spain and Portugal since they joined the euro does not tell SNP members who claim to want “independence” something about the true nature of the EU then it is because they choose not to listen and learn.

A country’s nationalism is what its population makes of it and the first lesson that those who fear the term need to learn is that it is not a synonym for racism, imperialism or colonialism, however much the self-styled “internationalists” claim that it is.

Perhaps it is high time those who claim to want Scotland to be “independent” defined what they actually mean and then have the courage of their convictions.

Jim Fairlie

CONGRATULATIONS on reaching one year old. Many thanks from an avid reader for doing much to lift the gloom and disillusionment that had descended after the loss of the referendum result.

The optimistic, upbeat nature of the paper and its writers towards independence and its pawky, irreverent style has been a refreshing counterpoint to the tired old song of the mainstream media which has continued its myopic deference to a cynical and shallow Westminster establishment.

James Mills