For the first time in modern Irish history, the Irish electorate has been free to devote all its attention to Ireland and the many problems we have here – and many of those are hangovers from British rule or products of the post-colonial mess England left in its passing. Our efforts to pacify Britain and convince it we’re more than animals – our inferiority complex – have created a quasi-collaborationist middle, professional, and political class which has failed Ireland, which has failed the 1916 Republic and its promise of ‘the right of the people of Ireland to the ownership of Ireland.’
Effective social and political campaigns, then, must be, by necessity, single-issue campaigns – or as near to single-issue campaigns as they can practicably be. This does not mean, as someone once suggested, that other important political causes are to be “sent to the back of the bus.” No one is saying other issues – like gender equality and the campaign to save the bees – are not important. Naturally, they are important – some crucially so. But the fact remains, that a campaign fighting every campaign is limited by finances, resources, and manpower (or people-power).
In hiding behind this myth that we, “middle aged men,” are “a-l-w-a-y-s” chasing women with pitchforks – like angry and uncouth villagers, the gender politicians are wilfully ignoring the truth. Men argue with men in politics all the time. This has nothing to do with the sex of the belligerents, but this fact is deliberately overlooked when the picture is drawn of a club of men – obviously all members of the same secret society, “the patriarchy” – rounding on a woman who is portrayed in the most sexist way; as weak, fragile, and defenceless, against their bullish behaviour.
Scottish independence, as a political aspiration, is not an ideology. It is an idea shared by adherents of a number of political ideologies. The independence movement is a broad church; a political spectrum that stretches from one lunatic fringe on the far-right, with such blood-and-soil nationalists as Sìol nan Gàidheal and its ilk, to the other on the far-left, with the pseudo-academic disco of Marxists, Trotskyists, and Bakuninists. This is a movement that is as politically colourful...
Throughout the independence campaign in Scotland we have seen numerous attempts to transform the Yes movement into yet another “radical left” popular cause, with self-proclaimed leftists trying to subvert and commandeer what is in essence a national project. Every opportunity they have had we have seen and read of them condemning the "flag-waving nationalism" of independentistas from every part of the Scottish political rainbow, and we have to put an end to this.
Gaining statehood, therefore, must not be seen as the end of the independence project. Independence is a process that begins in dependence and continues on to the very end of the life of the state. The problems we have now under British rule will for the most part remain after independence, with the only real difference being that we ourselves will have the freedom to provide Scottish solutions to Scottish problems – and the adversary then will be the same as we have now: International capitalism, neoliberalism, and the limitless avarice of the globalised plutocracy they have birthed.
Scotland’s sometimes pro-independence left is not particularly large in terms of numbers. It would not be a significant threat to the stability and cohesion of the wider movement if this element decided to defect en masse to Jeremy Corbyn’s side, but we must also consider the weight this group has on social media. At present it seems safe to say that half – if not, more – of the movement’s bigger pro-independence blogs define themselves as belonging to the radical left, but they have been losing traction in recent months. The defection of these certainly does pose a problem.
One response to this has been the creation of the “safe space,” a concept that routinely excites these right wing vloggers into apoplectic frothiness. What right, they ask, do these “snowflakes” have to a space of their own where they do not need to put up with our constant stream of vitriol and bile? They have presented the safe space as some sort of spatial free pass within the academy, the college, and the university, where the delicate can ride through towards graduation without anything they might find upsetting, offensive, or “triggering.”