Tweet Follow @RPJblog
By Jason Michael
MORE PEOPLE IN SCOTLAND support independence than support continued union with England. This was the finding of a poll carried out by Deltapoll for the Best for Britain campaign which found, when the 10 per cent of don’t-knows were removed, 52 per cent of Scots think self-determination is the best option for our nation’s future. What this represents is a seven-point swing in favour of independence since the 2014 referendum and the beginning of the end of the road for the campaign for the union in Scotland. Atop all the lies told by Better Together during the referendum campaign, the revelations of electoral fraud and dark money, and the relentless anti-Scottish media campaign waged by the BBC in Scotland, the prospect of a no-deal – “Armageddon scenario” – Brexit has finally woken Scots up to the realisation that the union is not good for them.
Stephen Gethins, the Scottish National Party’s Westminster spokesperson on Europe, accurately captured what was happening in Scotland as a result of Brexit when he commented:
As the deeply damaging consequences of a ‘No deal’ Brexit become clearer, as Scotland’s economy continues to outperform the UK, and as people grow increasingly concerned about the future under Westminster rule, support for Scotland’s ability to take its own decisions in an independent country will only grow further.
It is much the same in the north of Ireland, with 52 per cent saying they would prefer a united Ireland to a Brexit which would see the complete ruination of the six counties’ economy and its effective isolation from the rest of the island of Ireland. What Brexit has exposed – both in Scotland and in the occupied counties of Ireland – is that economic and social security, as part of a wider European project, outweighs tired old notions of loyalty and Britishness. London’s attempts to construct a one-nation Britain around the isolationist rhetoric of Brexit and British independence have fallen flat. The Scots and the Irish are, it seems, more pragmatic than Westminster has thought.
Independence is on the rise. 🏴 thenational.scot/news/16683660.…—
The National (@ScotNational) September 03, 2018
The good news for those of us campaigning for independence is that it now looks increasingly unlikely Theresa May and the London government will back out of the no-deal scenario. Not to mention the amount of face that will be lost by such a display of weakness and instability, those in power in England and many powerful people behind the scenes stand to lose immense sums of money if Britain now fails to leave the European Union as it plans. The dog of British politics – with even the official opposition supporting Brexit – is well and truly being wagged by its tail, and there doesn’t look to be any real way of correcting this state suicidal process.
It is now time for the SNP and the Scottish government to up their game. This boon to the independence cause was not created by their efforts and there is still a way to go before the Article 50 negotiations are over. Now would be a good time for the First Minister and her government and party to press this advantage by going on the offensive against the British government and the BBC. They now have more support behind them and behind the idea of independence than at any time in modern history. This is clearly not an opportunity to waste. When Holyrood reopens for business parliament should, I suggest, be used as the stage from which to call out the chaotic and dangerous antics of the British government and the clear examples of unionist lying and manipulation in the BBC and in the mainstream pro-union media. Making the case for independence must now be the single most important priority of the First Minister and our pro-independence MSPs, MEPs, and MPs.
Time is now of the essence and a two-point lead in the polls is not a safe bet; not considering the legal and illegal advantages we know the unionists to have. As we approach the Brexit deadline it is imperative that every effort is made in every corner of the independence movement to bring this up to or above a 60-40 lead – something which is well within our reach.
What the unionist cause has is money – and lots of it, what it lacks is a genuine and committed grassroots movement. Its money is useful insofar as it can influence the media, buy the support of well-positioned individuals, and astroturf the hell out of social media, but beyond this – in a national political debate – it is pretty useless. This is where we have the greater advantage. Moreover, we do not have to produce the winning formula. Organic nationalist support for independence is about as high as it will ever be, meaning the extra help we require has to come from those who will support independence for pragmatic economic, social, cultural, and political reasons. What’s winning the majority of these over to the idea of independence isn’t so much the efforts we are making, but the prospect of Brexit and the campaign against Brexit being fought largely in England.
What this is, is a fair wind. Our job in the independence movement is to make sure that our sails are fully out to catch this wind and help more people in Scotland make the necessary mental connections and so make the transition to Yes. What we have seen in the polls over the past decade is that support for Scottish independence does not tend to dip significantly, but, over time, steadily rises. This too is an element in this fair wind political game board. Of course, this trend can be reversed, but that is unlikely to happen so long as Brexit is on the fast-approaching horizon. Before we reach Brexit, then, we must secure at least that 60-40 lead – making it all but impossible for the unionist campaign to defeat us when we have another shot at an independence referendum.
News of this movement in the polls is indeed excellent news, but it is still not enough. Yes, we should celebrate it. We have worked really hard for this, but now is not the time to get complacent. Now is the time to drive home that advantage and give ourselves the best possible numbers for an independence referendum once the true cost of Brexit and continued union with Westminster has hit home. We are closer that we have ever been. Let the knowledge of this encourage us to work harder and better. We are almost there – but we’re not there yet.
Hopes growing for Scottish independence after Brexit