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By Jason Michael
OUR UNIONIST FRIENDS think we talk about independence too much. The truth is that that we don’t talk about independence enough. Our political opponents want us to concentrate on the “real problems” facing Scotland, they want that we return from our flight of fancy and re-join them in the “day job” of making our country better. But re-join them? We were never with them. More importantly, they were never with us. They have no interest in making Scotland better. The misery of a broken, impoverished Scotland was their doing, and the brokenness and poverty continued because it benefited them. It is their desire to return us to this desolate reality. Making Scotland better, to them – those who held sway in our country for so long, means precisely that, returning things to their normal; the normality of unchallenged privilege and a nation fast asleep.
We can agree with them, however insincere their words, when they claim independence is not the solution to all our problems – it’s not. Independence will address one problem and one problem only, the abstract political problem of union. It won’t change the fact that people are poor, that life is often tough. The independence we seek is not a panacea, we’re not – or we oughtn’t to be – dreaming of a utopia. Every other problem we have will remain. They are right, and we should agree with them on this. But where we must part company with them is on the question of the road, the journey we will have to take if we are to make things better.
@SamLJPage But independence would be to visit the same problems on Scotland TWICE if Brexit ahead ... better to stop Brexit—
Christine Jardine MP (@cajardineMP) December 31, 2018
What they envision is a cul-de-sac, a dead end that will force us to about face and head back to where we first started – square one. The Conservatives want to take us back to their utopia, where their social and economic dominance will teach us our place. Unwilling and unable, as they are, to imagine a world without a class-based pecking order, they are incapable of seeing us as anything other than oiks – plebs at the bottom of the ladder, there merely to serve their needs. Labour’s Scotland isn’t even a cul-de-sac. It’s an overgrown dirty track. Under their control, Scotland was a Labour fiefdom; a largely uncontested set of safe seats where at Westminster everything was directed towards keeping everything the same and, in Scotland, where MSPs and councillors could nap – resting on their laurels. Always it was us who paid the price, living only to serve either privilege or celebrate idleness.
The vision of independence is one of a through road on which power is brought back to Scotland, enabling us to tackle the problems neither Westminster nor Scotland’s unionists have any interest in addressing. The bottom line is that we can do nothing to better Scotland without first returning state power to the country. We may be able to see the problems we face. We might even see the causes of these problems. But there is precious little we can do to change things without first winning independence and in so doing taking the power we need to effect the change we want.
Thus, while independence may not in and of itself be the answer to all our problems, and it isn’t, it is the key to solving the majority of the problems we have. Power is the prerequisite of change, and power demands independence. As we begin 2019, a year which right now promises to be the most chaotic and challenging in living memory, Scotland and the independence struggle face an existential threat in Brexit. Leaving the European Union – being taken from it by the London government against our democratic will – will be devastating. As bad as it is, Westminster-driven austerity will be like a walk in the park compared to what will be done to Scotland to keep England afloat. Devolution, which has proven to be a thorn in London’s side through the Brexit process thus far, will be put under immediate pressure. It is difficult to imagine London doing without at a time of economic crisis for the sake of respecting our parliament in Edinburgh. How many times in the past two years have we witnesses the British government ignoring the democracy of Scotland? Where will that unwillingness of London to respect us lead? In union, Brexit and all the hardship it will bring is the beginning of the end for the Scottish parliament.
🏴 Tories at Westminster have attacked devolution by changing UK law after the fact to undermine Holyrood’s cr… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…—
Ross Colquhoun (@rosscolquhoun) December 29, 2018
The year ahead is going to be a tough year. If Theresa May loses the vote on 14 January – her last hope of a deal with the EU, we are heading into a no-deal scenario, and likely the worst-case scenario. If we are to stand a chance of escaping this dismal fate then we must speak more, not less, about independence. Ending the union with England has become the single most important issue for Scotland; an issue that will determine not only the future of Scotland, but its political existence. Independence is no longer the choice between national autonomy and the status quo, as it was in 2014. This year independence is a decision between existence and non-existence. We have no option now but to take the road to freedom in 2019.
This is a national emergency and we do not have time to waste. It is quite obvious the British state is unprepared for Brexit. Many in Westminster and Whitehall are still living in cloud cuckoo land, thinking life will go on as before after 29 March. By mid-April the facts on the ground will have forced them to accept the awful truth. By then they will have fully realised the value of Scotland and our resources to the success of their project, or – more likely – the survival of the United Kingdom. Just as independence became more difficult after 18 September 2014, after Brexit independence will be made more difficult still. The British state will go to any length to ensure we stay.
We now know the details of Brexit. Nicola Sturgeon, the First Minister, and the Scottish government know the details of Brexit. This was what we were promised: That when the details were better known we would make a decision on independence or another independence referendum. So, here we are – right at the due date of that promise. It’s time. It is time we were on the independence road. If the Scottish government wants to delay longer, then it is up to us to tell our elected representatives that we have waited long enough. We have waited long enough.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon gives her 2019 New Year’s Message