DR Elliot Bulmer makes interesting points about the response of Conservatives to independence and their role in independent Scotland (Tories see an indy Scotland as a place to fear, January 12).

The first premise, that the status quo is not an option, is becoming clearer by the day; UK Unionism no longer tenable. Paradoxically, the Toryism of the UK party’s contemporary right-wing political dogma will be one of the principal drivers motivating many to vote for independence. Years of assault by Tory fiscal austerity and policies victimising the working poor and those on benefits and fixed incomes will encourage many to relish the opportunity to select a different way forward through independence.

READ MORE: Tories are fearful of independence ... let’s ask them to share their plans for it

Unionists’ reticence for such a future is understandable. However, while I’m unequivocal about my disdain for right-wing Toryism, as with Scottish Labour I consider the electorate’s disgust of them being little more than a branch office – serving their Westminster master’s interest rather those of Scots – will dissipate after independence.

Like Dr Bulmer’s example of South Africa’s truth and reconciliation process, as we build a fully inclusive society the views of all sections of the political spectrum, working and campaigning together for the common Scottish good, will be equally essential and valuable; that’s how the consensus most Scots envisage would be built, with each section of the community’s voice essentially represented.

How many electoral defeats for the party branch offices in Scotland will it take before the lesson hits home? Don’t they now need to recognise their futures lie in Scotland and working for our common good, and away from the insanity of England striving for political and economic isolation?

In Glasgow on Saturday the Scottish people spoke again. In refusing a Section 30 order, isn’t the PM declaring to the entire world that Britain eschews democracy; the Westminster “mother of parliaments” little more than an empty shell of a lost and now sham democracy, stolen by a minority-elected dictatorship aided and abetted by the appallingly undemocratic first-past-the-post voting system.

For the next referendum it’ll paradoxically be true that we certainly will be “better together”; Scotland’s political parties working together better in an independent Scotland, representing all and in the interests of a’ Jock Tamson’s bairns.

Jim Taylor

ONE more time for the Labour leadership candidates at the back – our nationalism is very much internationalist.

In recent days we’ve heard multiple Labour leadership candidates – Jess Phillips, Lisa Nandy, and Ian Murray – condemn Scottish nationalism as incompatible with the values of internationalism and cross-border collaboration and solidarity. It’s an incredibly lazy take that is typical of politicians who dismiss Scotland as “up there” and who have the most superficial of understandings of the current state of Scottish politics, and the motivations and values of the majority of the independence movement.

The nationalism embodied by the Scottish independence movement at large and the nationalism which has given rise to Brexit and the far-right in England could not be further from each other. One needs not look further than the leadership of the respective movements to see this clearly. During the election campaign Boris Johnson said that “for too long immigrants have treated the UK as part of their country”. That rhetoric is in stark contrast to the immediate reaction of Nicola Sturgeon and other SNP leaders to the Brexit vote back in 2016 – which was to reach out directly to Europeans to say “this is your country, this is your home, and you are welcome here”.

I’ve spoken to countless Europeans living in Scotland and the rUK at the time who said that hearing the leadership of a country reassure them that they remain welcome in the country they’ve chosen to call home had a huge impact on them psychologically. Here in Scotland we have a concept of “New Scots”, which means that if you choose to make Scotland your home, then you are Scottish without condition and are invited to be an active participant in our civic society. No clearer is this concept than in the fact that one of our SNP MEPs, Christian Allard, is a French citizen who moved to Scotland more than 30 years ago.

In fact, there is nothing stopping a New Scot ultimately becoming the First Minister of our country, and this is something that we should take huge pride in. I went on a trip to Germany in November as part of a European youth NGO and was speaking to a Polish-Austrian writer who had previously studied in Scotland. On this subject he said “it is very rare in the modern world for there to be a potential new country that invites people from across the world to actively contribute to the building of a better nation”. This is something that we must not allow ourselves to be gaslit on by politicians who lack even a base understanding of our politics and values.

There’s no solidarity and internationalism to be found in a larger country telling a smaller country that one it’s not allowed to have a say in what kind of country it wants to be. It’s exactly the sort of thing the Labour party would be condemning were it not taking place on this island.

Fraser Wilson
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