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By Jason Michael
NICOLA STURGEON AND THE SCOTTISH NATIONAL PARTY have won another five years in government in Scotland. While this is the result I was hoping for, it is not quite the result I wanted. We had the opportunity to win a supermajority which would both see an SNP government and an overwhelming number of pro-independence MSPs in our parliament that would make it impossible for the London administration to ignore our demand for another independence referendum without forever unmasking itself as an oppressive and undemocratic colonial regime. We never achieved this, and … well … that’s politics. Now we have to move on and work with what we have.
Sure, of course I am disappointed. I am frustrated at my efforts and the efforts of so many other dedicated independentistas being dismissed by our fellow independence supporters as ‘unionist.’ This is painful and has only further divided the independence movement. It wasn’t divisive in their eyes to continue to criminalise Alex Salmond — even after his innocence had been upheld by the courts. It wasn’t divisive in their eyes to write hard working people off as ‘misogynists’ and ‘transphobes’ because they supported a party other than the National Party. It wasn’t divisive to them to cheer when Stu Campbell announced his departure from online political activism or when Craig Murray was sentenced to eight months in prison for doing what many in the union-aligned media had already done. It is only divisive when those without the support of the SNP do it.
I am frustrated at my efforts and the efforts of so many other dedicated independentistas being dismissed by our fellow independence supporters as ‘unionist.’
We tried. We tried very hard. But, on this occasion, we failed. We cannot, however, be bitter. We cannot afford for bitterness to take over and sour the bonds which still unite us. It has never stopped being my belief that those who voted SNP one and two — the vast majority of them — voted the way they did because they wanted independence. In this regard, then, this election was a success for us all. This was still a solidly pro-independence vote which sends a powerful message to Westminster; that independence has not gone away and that the majority of Scots are now voting consistently for a pro-independence party.
What we must do now is look to the future, and that is what I hope to think about in this article — the future. At the beginning of this month, persuaded that giving both votes to the National Party would return a near-impossible majority, independence supporters voted for another five years of Ms Sturgeon’s painfully gradualist approach. This approach — a policy or non-policy of acquiescence to the London government — has, in terms of independence, achieved nothing in the last almost seven years. Nothing! With the endless talk and the ongoing official SNP disengagement from the grassroots of the movement, we have not secured a Section 30 order, we have not even asked for one, we have not gotten another independence referendum. In the starkest terms, we are no closer today to independence than we were on the 19 September 2014.
At the beginning of this month, persuaded that giving both votes to the National Party would return a near-impossible majority, independence supporters voted for another five years of Ms Sturgeon’s painfully gradualist approach.
People will always kick back and lash out when this is put to them. Of course they will — it’s depressing and disheartening. Yet, it is the truth nonetheless. Having now voted for another five years of the same, at least we now know what to expect from the Scottish government in the next half decade — absolutely nothing. But this does not mean that nothing is possible. Nothing has changed. We are still working towards independence, and democracy remains ours — and we can take it to the streets.
Recent events on Kenmure Street, Glasgow, showed us what is possible when people combine their efforts in direct action. The Home Office — the department of the British government tasked with terrorising immigrants — was, in short order, told where to go. Enforcement officers arrived in the street during the Muslim festival of Eid and in the middle of a global pandemic to remove two Muslim men the British state had deemed no longer welcome in Scotland. And, as we all know, the residents of Kenmure Street — ‘a mob’ as the British media described them — was for having none of it.
Crowds gathered from all around the area to support the people of the street, and soon the whole world was tuned in and watching one of the most beautiful showdowns in the history of recent popular dissent. Police Scotland was called to the scene, and rightly gauging the mood, came to the rational conclusion that its job was not to enforce London policy on our streets. The release of the men was negotiated and the doors of the van in which they were being held against their will were opened. How proud can we be of those people and that moment? This was direct action, this was the power of people who had decided enough was enough, and this is what the next five years should be all about.
Regardless of how I feel towards the current leadership of the Scottish National Party, the fact remains that this is a party made up of people genuinely committed to the cause of independence. No one is disputing this. Those who voted for the party too, voted because they are committed to independence. All of these people, as we read from them online before the election, were again prepared to give the SNP another ‘one more chance.’ Those of us already exhausted of patience for this nonsense were derided. We suffered no end of abuse. But we stood our ground, and if the SNP fails to deliver independence in this term we will have made our case and more people will vote with their feet. And this is why we simply must keep up and develop our campaign.
Those who voted for the party too, voted because they are committed to independence. All of these people, as we read from them online before the election, were again prepared to give the SNP another ‘one more chance.’
Gradualism qua playing by the rules set by the more powerful party does not work. So long as we play by the rules made by others, others will always have the power to change the rules. The alternative to this is accelerationism — the strategy of expediting the process by allowing it to continue as it is until it itself exposes the internal contradictions of its own system. We had hoped to achieve this by putting another pro-independence party into the mix. But, for the moment, this has not worked. Now we can take a different route. We can push the leadership of the SNP to deliver exactly what it promised — and in the time it promised to do it. By scuppering another pro-independence party, by saying that both votes SNP was the only way, the National Party has imposed on itself the limits set by the party it defeated: that independence must happen in this term of government.
As a democrat then, I fully intend getting behind Nicola Sturgeon as the First Minister and leader the Scottish electorate has chosen, and my plan is simple — to agitate, agitate, agitate. She knows that Westminster knows that she knows that Westminster knows gradualism cannot and will not work. Sturgeon wanted this chalice, and it is our job from now on — over the next five years — to make her drink every last drop. Our task is independence, not to keep her in her position, and so our job is to let her know in no uncertain terms that her political future depends on her actions in the lifetime of this government.
Where we have been in the habit of not giving the British government peace, we must now get into the habit of not giving the Scottish government peace. Every day we must be asking — no, demanding — that she set a date for the independence referendum. At every opportunity we must insist that she demand a Section 30 order, and that she be prepared to hold a referendum when London refuses the request. The next five years is about making a lot of noise, about becoming a constant headache to everyone — no matter who they are — who is standing in our way. Nicola Sturgeon wanted this, now she must prover herself and deliver or get off the pot.
Radio Saorsa | The Five Year Plan
6 thoughts on “Another Five Years”
I honestly don’t know what I’m going to do over the next 5 years (or more).
One reading of the election result is that a very large number of people want Independence & believe that the SNP are the party to deliver it. This suggests that they are not very well informed about the SNP or the voting system we use in Scotland. In other words, these people are sheep being herded by the SNP who are supposedly protecting them from the wolves of Westminster. But let’s all remember what fate ultimately awaits sheep who are protected from the wolves; shepherds & their sheepdogs are no true friends to the sheep.
Another reading is that the Scottish people know exactly what they want & have voted for it in increased numbers since last time they went to the polls. Scotland delivered a near carbon copy of the last parliament & we have settled in for another five years of devolution, Brexit & the status quo. We ‘hardcore’ Indy supporters recognise that the SNP is now the party of devolution & maybe we need to accept that the rest of Scotland does too & likes it that way.
I believe that the polls that show support for Indy at 50% (give or take) are misleading because they don’t show how important Indy is to the people compared to a whole variety of other things. To you & me, Indy is the cake that delivers a better Scotland for the people of Scotland but it rather looks like most ‘Indy supporters’ view Scottish Independence as the cherry on top of the cake. These polls never ask if people would prefer Devomax or Indy but I suspect that the former would win hands down.
Maybe it is time for the hardcore to sit back & let democracy do its thing. We can quietly build Alba/ISP/AFI/etc. & see if SNP & Greens deliver what the people want. We desperately need more pro-Indy parties in Scotland but whether we have any realistic prospect of pushing Indy through in the next decade I really don’t know. Sadly I don’t think Alex Salmond is going to lead us there & we need a new generation of political leadership to gain sufficient prominence because all movements require leaders. But nobody can lead a movement that exists more as an idea than as a reality so we need to focus on coming together as a genuine movement before we try to convince others to join or follow us.
I fully expect Westminster to enact legislation that makes it illegal under UK law for Scotland to gain its Independence. That’s not ideal but it is hardly the end of the matter as most countries that have gained their freedom from London can attest.
I’m 46 years old & always hoped to see Independence in my lifetime. I still do but I’m back to not anticipating it any time soon after my expectations were raised in 2014. 2021 has brought me back to earth with a bump & I’m still trying to process it & decide on what my next steps will be.
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Alba and ISP need to continue to build. And I agree we need to pressure the SNP to deliver on their promises.
However, I’m not sure Nicola will be the target for that. Does anybody expect Angus Robertson and his ambitious wife to wait even a year before taking over? Will that allow him to shrug off any promises made by a predecessor?
Should we be aiming to prolong Nicola’s leadership? Or to accelerate a change? Her reign has been characterised by centralised power. Should we be encouraging, and challenging, a wider range of MSPs, both SNP and Green?
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Reblogged this on Ramblings of a now 60+ Female.
As you say Sturgeon owns the result of the vote SNP 1&2 clarion call. It was her strategy to destroy opposition, even if that meant putting 46 unionist SMP’s in seats in Holyrood, and I believe even at the price of scuppering independence in the short term. She owns every bit of it and should be reminded of it at every opportunity. She has made her bed with the “unholy trinity” (I love that term) of the British state and that kind of deceit/strategy has a shelf life if it doesn’t produce what was promised to the electorate/indy movement. We, however, should not forget that “Independence” wasn’t paramount on the SNP’s election promises until ALBA and Alex Salmond demanded more urgency with regards to independence. Without public pressure I can see Sturgeon allowing independence to slip off the agenda in favour of her next crusade.
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very well said! it’s articles like this that keep the dream of independence alive. thank you!
I posted this comment on WINGS earlier and thought it quite apt for your posting Jason
18 May, 2021 at 5:46 pm
Breeks , Socrates, irrespective of what Sturgeon and her clown show characters decide on having an indy ref we will still be fucked
She has had 7 years to reflect on any mistakes made and has done absolutely fuck all to address or correct them, as we are ALL aware the unionists are STILL NAILING her with prior 2014 arguments and statements, all her FALSE bravado and assertiveness is for the morons who believe her pish and waffle
I have posted the same thing time after time , we REAL independence supporters on WINGS and elsewhere don’t need explanations , graphs or slide shows to convince us of the benefits of independence, we KNOW within our hearts it is the sensible and right thing for us and our country
BUT there are also the faint hearts for whatever reason who need assurance and convincing of the real benefits of indy ,they need the examples and contrasts of union V indy, how they will be better off or at least not worse off , but the cretin and her clown show have done nothing in the past 7 years and will do nothing in the next 5 years to produce ANY evidence to challenge or REFUTE anything WM and the MSM infer, or to even attempt to persuade or educate the faint hearts or undecided
That is why Stuart Campbell and WINGS has been targeted mercilessly by NOT only unionists but by Sturgeon’s sycophantic idolaters because the FACTS are posted here every day for anyone who cares to be educated and that is evidenced by the amount of unionist trolls and sturgeon trolls desperately trying to thwart and deny the facts being produced