Political internment is an instrument the British government has deployed against pro-independence and anti-imperialist activists since the mid-eighteenth century. In all of Britain’s former colonial and imperial possessions internment marks the transition between the two stages of state violence; between the official delegitimisation of anti-British aggitation and state-sanctioned murder and violent repression. Internment is the first sure indication the British state is losing the battle for hearts and minds, and it has long since lost that battle in Scotland.
This is how loyalism in Britain works. It does not need you to love it, want it, care for it. The super-rich British establishment has all the power because it has all the money. Democracy has no control over it because it controls democracy; it owns or has massive influence over the media instruments which ‘inform’ democracy, and so can rest assured nothing will change that it doesn’t want to change. And when it wins, as it always will, it will rub its triumph in your face. It doesn’t need you to like it. All that is required of you is that you know your place.
National belonging is not in fact native to the human condition. Nationalism is a psycho-political development with which both Wallace and Bruce were unfamiliar. When we ask how these heroes of our ancient past would react to Scotland today, we may have to prepare ourselves for the worst. Neither William Wallace nor Robert the Bruce would recognise their Scotland in our Scotland. They would not understand our language, that peasants elect other peasants to government — our democracy — would confuse them, and that we abandoned the Church of Rome...
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.
Luckily, we have a chance to make a change but it is one chance and we have to take it. If we miss this chance I fear Scotland and independence are lost. Our opportunity is the Alba Party. The Alba policy is to treat the election of a large majority of pro-independence MSPs as a mandate to open independence negotiations with Westminster. This is a far stronger position than meekly asking for a Section 30 ‘cap in hand.’ To get a mandate for independence, the Alba position is that this supermajority is a mandate for independence.
That cannot happen by a mantra of ‘BothVotesSNP.’ The more you have on the constituency, the less you have on the list, and vice versa. Common sense, logic and political acumen dictate that the way you manage the system is you vote for a pro-Indy party in the constituencies and for a different pro-Indy party on the list – that way, they are not competing with each other and you max the votes for Yes, for independence. And, whyever not?
It should be obvious that we must use every avenue at our disposal to win independence. One such avenue is the Additional Member System (AMS) used to elect MSPs to the Scottish parliament. There are two ballot papers. The first is to elect a constituency MSP. There are seventy-three constituencies in Scotland. This is a first past the post vote and the SNP are predicted to win nearly all of these constituencies. The second ballot paper is to elect regional list MSPs on this ballot and the vote is for the party. There are eight regions electing seven MSPs each.
Independence ‘at any cost’ and under any set of conditions is a profoundly dangerous idea, and there is no shortage of historical examples to help us understand this. There are, as I have said umpteen times in the past, different kinds of independence. Sure, it’s an extreme example, but North Korea is an ‘independent’ state, but there are few in Scotland today would prefer the conditions of life for the vast majority of North Koreans to life in a political union with England.