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By Jason Michael

So often in the language political discourse we hear plans described as ‘road maps,’ a phraseology that positions objectives in our minds as distant locations; as things far away, marked by an ‘X’ on a worn parchment chart. This language, imaginatively, makes us all seekers or pilgrims on the way to a destination, and so long as we reach this destination, we are all content to be journeymen bearing our bindles and following the leadership of those who know the road. In national politics, however – and especially in the politics of independence, this is unhelpful. It forms in the minds of movement members a moribund sense of being a pilgrim people, making the journey and not the destination the purpose of our community and activism. But Scottish independence is about the win, not the game. Thinking our task a long road takes from us the essential truth that independence is about the land on which we now stand. Independence is not over yonder, but right under our feet.

This language of imagined geography is what lies at the heart of the story of the Exodus; an enslaved people led to freedom and a promised land over a wilderness for forty years. It is a story where the leaders – like Moses on Mount Nebo – never make it to the land flowing with milk and honey. Ultimately, this thinking becomes an eschatological adventure in which the destination is always getting closer but can never be reached because the identity of the people the journey has formed is that of a mendicant people, a people that can never exist in a land of their own.

Using this topological language singularly misses the point that our captivity is a reality on our own soil. We are not the diaspora. Our freedom is not a homecoming, but a transformation in the here and now – a revolution. There are no ‘stages’ and there is no ‘journey.’ Independence is here. It is something we have to affect, to make happen, and to do this there are things that have to be done. Thinking of our task as not a far-off campaign to which we must march but as a fortress we are besieging is a far more proximate imaginative conception because it puts us all to work; this is our citadel and we – we ourselves – must claim it and take it.

Yesterday, in a response to Pete Wishart’s description of his route map to independence and the stages we must reach before we can arrive at our destination, I pointed out the futility of further engagement with a British legal process and trusting in the moral goodness of the British government to do the right thing. We have our own law and legal right to be a free and independent nation, and if Britain was ever interested in doing the right thing it would have left Scotland, Wales, and Ireland before we felt the need to ask. Rather, Britain remains in our countries and has constructed laws to keep us in bondage precisely because it is doing the wrong thing. This is no longer a British legal question – it never was – and it is not a struggle dependent on English morality. Scotland, Ireland, and Wales have a moral right to independence and we have our own laws and legal cases to ensure it.

What matters now – all that matters now – is our actions and our resolve, and all this is perfectly summed up in the fullest expression of our democratic will. Democracy is not the long and tiring journey to independence. It is the key to independence and to everything else of good we wish to see in our country. Right now, there exists a majority in Scotland which believes the best thing for Scotland and for the future of the Scottish people is that this union with England, a union that has never served the interests of the Scots nation and people, should be ended. We have worked hard to build this majority and we must work hard still to increase it. England’s response will be England’s typical historical response to any challenge to its hegemony; refusal, intimidation, and violence. In fact, England has already responded. Throughout the Brexit process it has refused to listen to the will of Scotland, it has refused to grant another independence referendum, and it has refused the right of Scotland to seek the relations with Europe it wants. Its government and media have breathed threats to intimidate Scots into compliance; Britain has told one lie after another to convince us of our inferiority and of our inability to survive as an independent state. And yes, it has used violence. The presence of Britain’s nuclear arsenal in Scotland against our will is an act of violence, its theft of our natural resources and its reduction of Scotland to pauperism is an act of violence, and its endless gaslighting of the nation is nothing but violence. Britain’s record in Ireland – in very recent history – leaves us in no doubt of what Britain will do to maintain its control of our country.

From where does our salvation come? Our redemption is here and now! We must stop looking over the distant hills for a solution to our problems, the answers are not far away. We need not prepare for a journey. What we need is to prepare for a fight. Our bulwarks are the resolve of the Scottish people, and our siege engines are our votes, and our weapons are the actions we take to bring more and more Scots over to the cause of independence. There will not be a magic moment when the level of support triggers a referendum. The truth is the opposite; the more support for independence we win, the more the British government will resist. What this greater support will achieve is a more forceful English response – and that, sisters and brothers, is your golden ticket. The moment Britain bares its teeth the union cause in this country will at last melt like ice in a heat wave. And this is exactly what we have to do to make independence happen: We must force Britain to respond. When it does, the key will have turned and the door will swing wide open.

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Nicola Sturgeon: I want independence for Scotland in 2020


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2 thoughts on “Opening the Door to Independence

  1. Unfortunately, “roadmap” and the other related pieces of jargon have a much more mundane origin. They are all terms purloined from software development and by inference the successful tech companies of Silicon Valley, San Francisco and Seattle. They were first picked up by business people on the basis that if we talk like executives from Apple and Google, then similar levels of success and riches will be bequeathed to them. From there, government, in it’s quest to appear business-like and efficient adopted the whole corpus, hook, line and sinker. Now when you attend meetings it’s all ‘stakeholder’ this and ‘key objective’ that. Nobody uttering these words has the faintest understanding of what they mean, never mind the actually ability to put the concepts into practice and get results, but it sure does sound good and gives the glorious impression that somebody actually knows what they are doing.

    It’s the same reason Boris, Cummings and their band of Rough-riders want to remake Government in the image of the tech-utopians of California. Because otherwise they wouldn’t have a clue what to do.

    Liked by 1 person

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