AS of the General Election on December 12, followed by Scotland’s enforced exit from the EU on the January 31, Britain now belongs to the Tories.

Boris Johnson and his elitist cohorts believe they “own” Scotland. He insists that the people of Scotland have no democratic right or route to self-determination. Alister Jack, Secretary of State for Scotland, goes further saying that Scotland should never ever have that right, however many mandates, however many votes!

This Tory government is now at its most ideologically extreme. Almost all of their moderates have gone. This is a party publically disowned by many of their most respected senior figures – Kenneth Clarke, John Major, Dominic Grieve and even Michael Heseltine. This is a party who may well be in power for the next 10 years and they know it. This is a party overwhelmingly voted into power by England but even more overwhelmingly rejected by Scottish voters.

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The people of Scotland are right to be fearful. They know beyond doubt that Scotland is about to be crushed and silenced by this hard right, uncaring and dangerous government. The poorest and the most vulnerable in our society have the most to fear. Respected political commentators have drawn analogies with Germany in the 1930s.

For the ongoing existence of our devolved Scottish Parliament, for the very future of our precious Scottish nation and all its people, for the safety of our NHS, for the vision of a fairer, caring and more prosperous country espoused by our FM and the SNP government ... delay is no longer an option.

Dissolving this unequal union is no longer just a priority – it has become a necessity in order to avoid the dismemberment of our institutions and the turning to dust of all the hopes and aspirations of the next generation. Make no mistake – this emboldened Tory government intends to silence our voices. They will accelerate the plunder of our precious natural resources and will ride roughshod over our democratic rights. They will try to obliterate our unique, distinctive and internationally recognised “Scottish brand”. They are doing so already with their policy of plastering Union Jacks on all things Scottish.

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So now is the time, before it’s too late, for each and every sovereign Scot who holds our nation dear, to demonstrate our pride and belief in the nation we are. Engage, listen, persuade, communicate, smile, organise, promote and share this vision of hope. If we do all that, we have the right to expect our leaders to lead us forward, with passion, bold courage and imagination.

The time is now for Scotland to take its rightful place as a normal independent country amongst the global family of nations ... no better than others, but certainly as good. We have so many friends out there willing us on. Since 1939 more than 60 countries have made that leap of faith and thrown off the shackles of exploitative Westminster rule. All have survived and flourished. Many had a fraction of our resources and not one – not even one – has sought to reverse that decision. Why on earth should resource-rich Scotland be any different? Independence is normal. If Scotland chooses to become a member of the EU they will assuredly welcome us with open arms.

So here is where we now stand in the march of history. At a constitutional crossroads as important as any we have faced in more than 300 years. We are so blessed and challenged to be that generation. So very many who have gone before and dared to dream are no longer with us. They surely are in spirit. We must not let them down. Now is the time for the sovereign people of Scotland to choose a different path. To choose our own path of our own free will. It is time to take these last brave steps.

If we do not, the moment will pass. Hope will wither and die and momentum ebb away. Our own history tells us that enterprising Scots young and old – the very best of us – will look further afield to build their lives. We need them here to build a nation. We have this wonderful brief moment to unite as a “one nation” Scotland and finally earn our longed-for right of self-determination. The wider international community will support us. Our own wider independent movement is waiting. SNP activists are waiting. We can do this. We must do this. Now IS the time. IT’S TIME TO GO.

Patti Nile
via email