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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.