Politics is all the rage right now in Scotland. A couple of years ago the government of Scotland was given permission by the English government to hold a referendum on national self-determination. Permission was granted for this not because of some sense of loyalty on the part of the English Conservative leadership to democracy or the consent of the people of Scotland to be governed from abroad, but because the Prime Minister of England believed that the referendum didn’t have a chance of being passed. He will never make that mistake again. As the date for the referendum approached the polls told that the will of the Scots for separation had passed the midpoint, and Westminster began to panic. Labour and the Liberal Democrat came together in common cause with the Conservatives to turn the tide that was fast turning against them north of the border. With the full weight of the press and the media, and an astonishing campaign of intimidation and fear mongering they managed, by the skin of their teeth, to keep Scotland in the union.
No sooner had just over half of the population of Scotland said No to independence at the ballot box than the victors were caught laughing out loud at the gullibility and cowardice of the Scots. Their fear campaign focussed on older people – people like my own grandmother – with telephone calls, asking them worrying questions about their pensions in the event of an independence vote. People were afraid; they were harassed and bullied into acquiescing to the will of an apparently all-powerful Westminster. What the strategists behind this appalling campaign failed to take into account was the fact that time moves on, and that the people of Scotland will have other opportunities to express their sovereign will. Today is the first time since then that Scotland goes out to vote in a general election, and already it is not looking good for the Westminster alliance of Conservatives, Liberal Democrats, and Labour. Of the 560 seats in the House of Commons 59 are assigned to Scotland’s Westminster constituencies. Labour doesn’t stand much of a chance against the rising tide, and whatever happens it is clear that the National Party will make significant gains. Our hope now is that these gains will give us enough clout to restart the push on independence again.