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By Jason Michael
It sort of feels like the independence movement needs a wee tonic right about now. There’s no mystery to this, we’re all in a bit of a slump. What we haven’t quite figured out is that we are the cure. We are the tonic Scotland needs.
It’s fair to say, and without any fear of contradiction, the general election has taken the puff out of our balloon. The map of the best wee country in the world went from all yellow to yellow with big chunks of blue, we lost some of the magical 56, and we feel like having a wee greit. No harm in that. But that’s politics. What is a touch more worrying is the level of defeatism around our campfires. We’re not defeated, and not by a long shot. Whatever we do, let’s not lose sight of that.
Other than half a million folk less than last time turning up to vote for the SNP, we won Theresa May’s stunt snap election. The real news is that she lost. In fact our win wasn’t even close; we hammered the yoons – again. Our 2015 stroke of luck was reversed and the political map has normalised. That is all. Yet the effect of the apparent electoral shift – which is just an illusion – has caused us to wobble, and it looks, if the navel-gazing on social media is anything to go by, as though our wee independence locomotive has stalled. That is worrying.
We need ideas. But more than this we need action and energy. We need to get pro-independence activists doing stuff. Ideas? 🏴—
Butterfly Rebellion (@Butterfly_Reb) June 12, 2017
As I see it, we are presented with a number of options. We can get on with the task in hand, we can delay our next big push until all this Brexit chaos is out of the way, or we can pack up, lower our flags and go home. What’s it to be? Complacency is toxic, and, whatever we decide to do, we don’t have forever to make up our minds. Social and political movements run out of steam and wither away all the time. There is nothing so special about what we have here in Scotland that makes ours an exception. So it’s decision time.
There are a lot of voices saying at the moment that we should simmer down and wait for Brexit to get dealt with first, but I think deep down we all know this to be a cop out. What is really meant by that is: Let’s give this enough time for the energy in the movement to dissipate without it actually being anyone’s fault. I’m not entirely wrong. Brexit is never going to be out of the way. Brexit, left in the hands of these Conservative imbeciles and their knuckle-dragging loyalist chums from Northern Ireland is going to be an unmitigated disaster, a catastrophe of biblical proportions that will shape – or misshape – the future of these islands for generations to come.
Wasting time while these morons undo the graft of peacemakers and statesmen like chimpanzees in a delicatessen will only hand the shadowy people behind the British establishment enough time to regroup and fortify their positions. By the time we feel like getting back up, the freedom we have on the internet will already be a thing of the past, and – in case you haven’t noticed – the internet is the only real weapon we have against Britain’s media machine. It will be a turkey shoot.
Nope, we have to get on with it now. We have an ad hoc leadership in the personalities behind the likes of Common Space and what have you, but – as the good book says – put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man. I have no doubt these are excellent and committed people. I have every reason to believe they are. But they are people nonetheless. We need leadership and we have to find that leadership within ourselves. So there are no events or groups near you? Simple: Be the leader you need to be and get something going. You are part of a group that is dwindling? Then maybe it needs new life, new faces, and new ideas. It’s not all about you. Maybe you are the problem. Listen to what others are saying and be prepared to put the needs of the movement over your position.
Our independence movement is running on fumes because people are running on fumes. The movement, be that locally or nationally, is nothing but the aggregate of the activity of each of its members – each one of us. If you are reading this and it is speaking to you, if it is reminding you of what’s happening wherever you are, then pause for a second. Take a breath and commit yourself to do something. No one’s going to hold your hand for you. It won’t start moving until we start moving.
Lesson One: Leadership Starts with You