THE most recent Radical Independence Campaign (RIC) meeting by the Angus & Mearns branch was attended by twice as many people as the most recent meeting of RIC Edinburgh. That is, apparently, not unusual.

Despite being in an area with no big city and holding meetings in smaller towns, we find ourselves in the unexpected position of being, it would seem, in some ways the strongest RIC group.

Now, there are reasons why Radical Independence, nationally, isn’t the vibrant campaign it was in the heady days of 2014. Without that focus of an imminent referendum on independence, and the anticipated subsequent campaigning immediately afterwards for the independent Scotland to take a radical course, some supporters falling away was only to be expected. Plus, of course, there was the attempt by a few RIC members to found a new political party.

As it happened, that attempt went nowhere. But the attempt was divisive because it went against the non-party-political nature of the campaign. Nevertheless, some of us remain confident that fairly inactive RIC groups in Aberdeen, Dundee, Glasgow and elsewhere at present will be revived and become very active when a target date for a new referendum on independence is announced.

Radical Independence Angus & Mearns isn’t party political. We don’t, as a group, support any political party. Obviously we’re in favour of independence and, as that radical bit in our name suggests, we want a lot more than just a change of flags. But we don’t have a party line that people have to follow. What works for us could work in other areas.

Tories and their British nationalist allies narrowly won the 2014 Scottish referendum on the false basis of what have since proved to be lies.

We have the “changed circumstances” to justify a new independence referendum, and we’ve had them for some time now.

The 2018 marches and rallies in Dumfries, Inverness, Stirling, Glasgow, Dundee and Edinburgh, with many more planned for 2019, prove independence is very much a live issue. There is no excuse for further delay.

Declaring independence without widespread support would be a mistake. But during the present dire emergency, it’s also a mistake to have a gradual approach. Even if some people wish to compromise where possible, the neeps at Westminster are incapable of delivering on that.

So, instead of behaving like a dumbfounded animal frozen in the headlights of an oncoming vehicle, we should push ahead with a new referendum on independence without the slightest delay or hesitation.

There is a myth that the Scottish Parliament needs Westminster approval to hold a referendum. That’s simply not true. Legally speaking, there is nothing to stop Scotland from holding a “consultative” referendum.

That word consultative is a distinction without a difference. According to the English concept of parliamentary sovereignty, every referendum in the UK is “consultative” anyway, as Westminster makes the final decision. But in practice, ignoring a decisive referendum result is a difficult thing to do.

It is an illusion that business as usual is possible. In practice, the alternatives are either a new, democratic, independence referendum now, or all political parties being increasingly left behind by events.

Politics in England has become more violent. There has been a political assassination and the suspicion that English civil war could be more than just something you read about in history is growing.

The madness down south means decisive action is needed in Scotland. The decisive action is to call a new referendum on independence now.

We started the last referendum campaign with, according to many so-called opinion polls, around 30% of support. The Yes result was officially announced as 45%. If you start from 30 and you add 15, that is a 50% increase in support during, and because of, the actual referendum campaign.

There can be little doubt that, in any new referendum campaign, support for independence will again increase, but this time starting from a higher base camp, with a far smaller mountain to climb.

If this sounds like something you want to talk about, or even if it sounds like something you want to argue about (in a friendly sort of way) then get in touch with, or phone 01356-630329.

Dave Coull