Today Scotland is going to the polls, again. Once the votes are counted we will all know where we stand in relation to the independence question. This isn’t another referendum, but it is a test of our staying power on the issue. London is watching us, and with opinions varying on the SNP, I have decided to stay the course.

When it comes to the question of Scottish independence I have one loyalty, and that is to Scotland. It doesn’t matter to me who delivers Scotland back to us, all that I and a great many other people want is independence. Since getting involved in the Yes campaign, since the referendum, and since becoming a signed up SNP party member and part of the Butterfly Rebellion, there has been a growing level of uneasiness with the SNP. What has to be said here is that this was always to be expected. Like any political party it is just a collection of people with a collection of ideas. They were never being to be perfect, so what makes us think that another party or set of ideas will make the perfect recipe of independence?

Even now as the country goes to the polls a second referendum on the question isn’t on the manifesto, and this absence troubles me. Yet when I listen to other people’s opinions it becomes clear that not everyone who wants independence eventually wants another referendum right now. One way or another, this has to be taken into account in a democracy – the promise of another divisive independence campaign might scare folk away. That, I think, right now, would be fatal. So, in the hope that this lack in the SNP’s manifesto is an attempt to consolidate for the long game, I am staying where I am. This is not to say that I respect any less my compadres who have lent their support to other pro-independence parties.

Actually, it’s the whole independence-eventually mentality that upsets me the most. It upsets me more than unionism, the truth be told. In light of the fact that so much of the Yes campaign was fought on a social justice and equality platform – feeding Scotland’s children and ending poverty, what sort of position is wanting food eventually? When the Edinburgh government provided baby boxes to ensure every newborn had all the necessities she or he needed (a beautiful and heart-warming policy) I got emotional and distressed. Our country has babies who are born into poverty!

We know the roots of injustice and inequality in Scotland: A Westminster neoliberal state apparatus that has starved Scotland to inflate “the City” – and that city isn’t even in Scotland. There is no eventually about my desire for a free and independent Scotland, but I don’t get to dictate when and how this will eventually happen. So we need to keep making the argument, and we need to keep that discussion infused with the sense of urgency it requires. It’s for this reason that, for the time being, I will remain behind the party of my choosing. We have to see if we can gain and maintain a majority in both Edinburgh and London for independence. It’s our task to make separatism the default setting of Scotland’s political and public opinion.


Mhairi Black on Scottish independence and Jeremy Corbyn


030 029 008

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