Stewart Bremner image from here
What do we want? Independence!
What do we want? Independence!
When do we want it? Not right now!
Screeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeech! Halt! Tumbleweed............................................... Whiiiiit?????
Yip, the time is not right. As much as I want Scottish independence from the UK and want it like yesterday, (or rather wanted it from a YES vote back in September), I am terrified of having another indyref and failing again - because there is NO 3rd time lucky. We lose the next one, that it. Done. Settled. Blown. Stuck shackled to our master (by choice) certainly for the rest of my lifetime, and that is something I am not prepared to gamble.
This opinion is shared by a growing number of others too. In the past 48 hours I have read 3 or 4 blog and news articles suggesting the same. The Lallands Peat Worrier blog and The Common Space, are 2 of the best that I have read. We have to and MUST bide our time.
Yes, of course we foresaw the future of the UK and all that is unravelling before our very eyes, prompting memes such as
to go viral (I myself have re-posted it either on Facebook or Twitter). But whilst we ranted and posted and told of what a united future would hold, it simply was not enough for enough people to either care about (because it didn't affect them directly) or they didn't believe us, or thought that indy would be worse. We all had our crystal balls out foretelling the current state of the union, at the same time the naysayers and nawbags ridiculed us or demanded more answers, more clarity, more information. The future we saw in the event of indy was guess work - we had an idea of what it would look like, give or take, and we were prepared for some hardship and struggle for what would become a far better future, which was met with derision and scorn. We constantly defended our vision of both outcomes; we were under constant scrutiny, yet the same was not the case for the "other side". All that was at stake was the "status quo" which, lets be honest, went unchallenged in the mainstream media channels. They were not scrutinised or demanded to give their vision of an independent Scotland other than to say how awful it would be, then move on to stating the case for remaining united. The Establishment never aired their "Plan B" had we indeed won. Voters who always, for instance, vote Labour without thinking about it, never knew what their party's vision of Labour in an Indy Scotland would look like. Going forward, that situation can't be allowed to happen again.
Alex Salmond, love him or loathe him, was quite correct when he stated on the Andrew Marr show on Sunday that a 2nd referendum was "inevitable". Nicola Sturgeon has maintained her position that there will be another referendum called once the people of Scotland decide and that it would take a "material change" to the current situation for that to happen. Plus her party would need to be re-elected with a referendum in their manifesto - and therein lies the problem.
All over the internet I see calls for the SNP to have Indyref 2 in the 2016 Holyrood manifesto. The date of which 2018. The army of SNP MPs sent to Westminster shows that we want it - except that it doesn't. I know voters who voted SNP in the General Election who voted NO in September, and were there to be another referendum tomorrow, they would vote NO again. Why? They hate the Tories and didn't trust Labour, they wanted a voice for Scotland represented in Westminster and believed the SNP could delivered that en masse. But they remain unconvinced by the answers to the arguments given in the last indyref campaign. The SNP MPs have to prove themselves in Westminster. And as much as it pains me to say this, the people who believed the tripe sold to them by The Vow, the media, the fear mongering bullshit that was Better Together/UKOK/NO Thanks need to actually live through the next 5 years and experience the consequences of exactly what that means. They may not be affected by the budgets (personally, my household I will be £128 per year/£10.60 a month better off - woohoo, thanks to the increase in the National Minimum Wage *not living wage*) but I would guarantee that they will know someone who is. The upcoming In/Out EU referendum is another biggie, along with the changes including the proposed abolition of Human Rights Act, fracking and TTIP, war in Syria (or anywhere else over the next 5 years that "poses a threat" to our shores, real or manipulated,) our internet freedoms, freedom of speech, the NHS, the bloody royal family, etc etc are all things we all have to live with for the next 5 years, like it or lump it. I know, I know, NO voters didn't vote for a Tory Government (apart from in Dumfries), but lets face it - no matter who we voted for, Scotland's numbers do not elect or prevent election of any party in Westminster - even with all 59 MPs. So whether they wanted Tory or not, we were always going to get what was decided elsewhere on these islands, and we all have to live with that because we are still part of it.
Now, all the horrors coming from Westminster are indeed an affront to humanity - not just the austerity max measures, but also what the hell is happening with the Chilcot Report and the covered up peadophilia? Our MPs will oppose the government and Labour will abstain from having an opinion (unless they side with the Tory's again). At the end of the day, it is what it is, and there is really not much we can do other than get angry and protest (for now, until that too becomes illegal). The treatment of our MPs both by the Chamber and by their public mouthpieces (MSM) is a disgrace. I often wonder if it's done deliberately to provoke and to get a reaction either from the MPs or Scottish electorate? Regardless, it's working. Hence the calls for the next referendum, which are coming in fast and furious every time the bold Dave or his lackeys (Osborne, IDS, Johnson, May) open their mouths. And they know fine well that should the ref be back on the table, that NO would once again win. But of course, it doesn't do to practically criminalise the poor and marginalise and infer that anyone not of white christian bloodline is a potential terrorist - where's the fun in that? Oh no, Dave lit the touch paper yesterday with this (as reported in The Guardian : Dave Cameron rules out second referendum) :
“I think it is important that a referendum is legal and properly constituted and that is what we had, and it was decisive, so I do not see the need for another one.”
*disclaimer - this is not wholly Scotland specific*
The calls for not only a new indyref on the SNP manifesto, but more urgently is that call for UDI (Unilateral Declaration of Independence). I have never been comfortable with this suggestion. I have joked that right, bugger this, it's time for UDI, when I'm angry with what's happening, but UDI as a solution? No no no!!! When the country is split (and not in our favour) we can't just declare UDI - that's not democratic in the least. That IS a war in the making. As a former boss of mine used to say regularly "two wrongs don't make a right", and I agree.
So what are we to do? Getting the timing right is vital. I don't want to be singing along with Janis Joplin's lyric "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose", because we've left it too late. I truly believe that Westminster will happily 'let us go' once they have bled us dry of our natural resources and wealth; once we are no longer useful to them. Why else would they want to keep such a 'draining and self indulgent' country tagging on their shirt tails? Too soon is equally disasterous. In the days following the vote last year, when we were all regrouping, I watched a youtube vidoe of Robin Mcalpine of the Common Weal. I liked his plan then, and still do now. His proposal was not to include a referendum in the 2016 manifesto, but keep it until General Election 2020, and be out of the UK by Christmas 2020. Here is that video:
Key points to the plan were/are:
1. Clean out unionist parties from Scotland in GE 2015 - done!
2. Creating better services and foundations, ie every local authority in Scotland to set up a mutual bank, other projects with energy too
3. Split the vote in 2016 - use the list vote for pro indy parties to create strong pro indy Scottish Parliament
4. Create a solid case for indy - starting with proper case for Scottish currency -NOT include indyref in 2016 manifesto," but instead use the years between now and next GE to put out that plan of what indy could be and work a low level campaign, building on and up so that we have the majority that by the next GE we stand on a full ticket for early referendum"
5. General Election May 2020, indyref Sept 2020 out by December 2020.
Point 4 above is so important - a solid case for indy. The White Paper left too many questions unanswered for too many people. We need to reach those of whom aren't engaging online, but relying on MSM, predominantly the over 60s. Harsh critique but one of the things that really pissed me off when talking to some older people about why they voted NO, or were planning on voting NO was because of history (I'm not pissed off with those that were scared, a great many people were scared, Better Together did a sterling job on that one! Blair Mcdougall even admitted following the vote that fear was the only tactic to use to win) - the history of the SNP, their personal history or blinkered/unwavering beliefs, when infact they were voting on a future that ultimately wasn't theirs. Now, not all older people voted NO (obviously) one of the most pro-indy supporters I know is about to celebrate his 70th birthday, while a number of my friends, old school peers and family members chose NO also. We must find out why and what change do they want to see or what would make them change to YES? These people need answers, proper answers, not wishy washy gloss, not argy-bargy it'll right itself in the end. Where we were happy to figure the details out after, not everyone shared that same optimism and we have to respect that. We must learn from the mistakes of the previous campaign before embarking on the next, because the next time is our last time.