Scotland is going to cost us dearly, and rightly so. The independent nation that we want to see is a country that is worth working for, and working for with every fibre of our being. We have been trained into passivity in Scotland, and we are the only people who can train ourselves out of it.

Over the last three years the independence question has remained the single most important political issue in Scotland. It is obvious that this continues to be a question the people of Scotland want an answer to, and not in the way we were bullied and intimidated into in 2014. By August 2015, less than a year after the independence referendum, support for independence had risen to 53 percent; an indication that, when ignored by Westminster’s propaganda machine, the majority of Scots are quite comfortable with the idea of taking ownership of their own country. What we can take from this is that, at present, between 45 and 50 percent of Scots are in favour of independence with perhaps a further 10 percent who are willing to be persuaded.


In light of this it is interesting that voter turnout for the pro-independence parties at the last election was down by 400,000 from the referendum – considering that almost 1.5 million Scots voted for the pro-independence parties at the 2015 Westminster elections (only 100,000 less than voted Yes in the referendum). Sure, the signs are there that we want independence, but as the reality of the longer route sets in we are becoming less likely to go out and vote. There’s no point complaining about this, as – to some degree – this is natural in a democracy, and thankfully turnout for Labour and the Tories was down as well. Yet it is true that wanting something and being prepared to work for it are two entirely different things.

If we really do want an independent Scotland, free to run it has we see fit, then we have to be prepared to do something about it, and this means more than simply going out to vote every few years. As much as the cliché is annoying, it is no less true – we have to be the change we want to see. Independence won’t mean very much if we Scots aren’t prepared to take responsibility for it; opting again to delegate power and ownership to the few. That would be no different from what we already have at Westminster.

Scotland is our country. We aren’t squatting in it or renting it from a slum landlord, so we have to get out of the habit of living in it as though we are. Having a place of our own means that we are in charge of cutting the glass and fixing the plumbing, and having a country of our own means exactly the same; we are in charge of it, and responsible for passing it on to our children and grandchildren. After all, this Scotland – the Scotland we want – is our inheritance and our gift to the future. The SNP is asking us to build a majority for independence, but this has to be so much more than just another political campaign. It has to be a social and cultural renaissance, rediscovering what it is to be the owners and guardians of something that is ours, and only ours.


‘Westminster is worse than I feared’ | Owen Jones meets Mhairi Black


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