At this point, the outlook for the Scottish independence cause is bleak. We have had a number of clear opportunities to set political divisions aside and put independence first. But we have failed to take these opportunities. The Scottish National Party has committed itself to the project of becoming a self congratulation society for the polite and mild-mannered, while the rest of the movement has been left to fester and stew in its own juices after getting absolutely nothing of what it wanted.
There can be no denying that the failure of the SNP to secure or even move us closer to independence resulted in the creation of the Alba Party. Before even Mr Salmond announced his return to the political arena, other pro-independence parties had been launched; all of them citing the same frustration. With the SNP able — even mandated — to move on independence but unwilling to, the formation of other pro-independence parties was inevitable. So, when Alba was launched, SNP and pro-independence activists who were sick and tired of the wait began joining.
The bottom line, then, is that we do not fit this definition of an indigenous people — and for good reason; it was not written with us in mind. Scotland is a developed European nation, and Scots are the dominant ethnic or people group in Scotland. In the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples the UN uses ‘indigenous people’ to mean a people or ethnic group subject to colonisation or settler-colonisation in a situation in which they are dominated by the coloniser group in their own territory.
Regular readers of the Random Public Journal will no doubt be aware of the personal crisis I have experienced in the aftermath of the last election. My desire to see the creation of a supermajority for independence in Holyrood was crushed. Once again the movement lapped up the honeyed promises of the SNP, and once again the SNP stopped talking about independence as soon as the election was over. This and the endless vitriol from gender critical activists online have driven me into a pit of despair.
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...
‘Someone on the internet said something mean about me,’ joked Paul Kavanagh a couple of years ago as he recounted to me his experience of negative comments online. And this is true; no matter what we do or say, there will always be someone lurking somewhere online — invariably hiding behind an anonymous profile — who will go out of their way to say something biting and nasty. Here we’re not talking about trolls. We have come to expect them and when we realise this is what they are up to we can dismiss them without much thought.
What I mean by evil here is not some supernatural dark dualistic power of cosmic wickedness, but a primal enemy of humanity and life; a system of imperial politics driven by avarice which seeks its own enrichment and aggrandisement at the expense of peoples and languages and tribes and nations. Every moment Scotland remains under its power it is weakened and corroded. Three hundred years has been enough already. We have awakened and we must not fall back asleep.
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.