‘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.
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.
Foucault, often viewed as the father of the Queer Theory which underpins the issues around gender we now grapple with, didn’t believe in anything as mundane as actual lemonade seas, he didn’t believe in any sort of objective reality at all. No, if you think the sea is made of lemonade — then, for you, the sea is lemonade. This atomised and idiosyncratic truth is actually all that matters, and anyone telling you that it’s nonsense is oppressing you by forcing their own version of reality on you.
Yes, there are serious issues affecting the independence movement, and independence politics is a passionate politics touching so many of us right at the heart of our identities. In an instant, arguments and insults are accelerated to accusations of treason and unionism. It was when I saw one prominent antagonist describe his fellow independentistas as ‘former indy supports’ that it really struck me that things have gone too far. We cannot continue to be this rigid and unforgiving. Independence demands the hard work and dedication of hundreds of thousands of people.
Any Assembly representing the entire spectrum of pro-independence sentiment – the majority opinion in Scotland today – is sovereign by its very nature. Its establishment furnishes us immediately with a powerful instrument with which we can challenge both the British administration in Scotland qua the Scottish government and the British colonial hegemon in London. Without reference to Westminster and unencumbered by any obligation to negotiate with the British government, a truly independent Scottish National Assembly representing all...
If the Scottish National Party succumbs to this crisis – as it may well do – then we are looking at independence being cast a considerable distance into the future. Either the SNP will have to rebuild and regain trust or – having untangled independence from this one party – we will have to start afresh from the beginning with a new party or parties and work ourselves back up to the level we are now at. During all this time the British state will be constantly at work against us.
Division is an essential component of every healthy democracy, and efforts to end division and contention in political discussion invariably produce the same two cancers in the body politic. In the leadership it fosters an authoritarian attitude which tends towards autocracy and even totalitarianism, and in the mass movement it creates a sheepish dogmatism by which the individual abdicates his or her responsibility to think and reason for his or herself and fuels the impulse to reject every contradiction as heresy. Every so often we get glimpses of these things...