We stand on the shore of the sea loch, and watch the tide go out. Now is the time to shelter the flame of hope from the howling gale. No has won through fear and threats of loss. But the dream is not dead, the dream still lives within the hearts and minds of hundreds of thousands who refused to be bowed by fear, who refused to succumb to the one sided stories of the self-interested. It is not a dream that will be forgotten. The flame of hope still burns within.
I’ve already lost this year. I’ve already had to grieve. But I will not grieve for Scotland, because Scotland still lives and hope still lives within me. I do not feel ashamed for the shame of others. Now is a time for building, for defending what we have built, for ensuring that the politicians keep their worthless words. We achieved so much with so little, we learned how to organise ourselves, and we must use those skills to maintain the pressure for change. I didn’t come this far only to give up now. It is only if you slink away that they will have won. We cannot go back into the shortbread tin. We have outgrown it.
It was always a big ask, to break through generations of apathy at the first attempt, to leap the prison walls of cynicism in a single bound. In the end we could not overcome the weight of a media almost uniformly opposed to change, and because of that a million minds remained closed and out of reach. We have a media overwhelmingly owned and controlled outside Scotland. A media that speaks for the established interests and is beamed into the shortbread tin, where it turns a debate on national self-determination into a warning about the price of car insurance. They ensured the debate revolved around money, and ignored morality.
For all Westminster’s talk of home rule, they’re keeping their paws firmly on the TV remote control. Now we all know why. It allows them to set the agenda. So we must build a new media, one that truly represents the diversity of this land and gives a space to Scotland’s voices, and take it beyond the internet, onto the TV screens, into the press, into every street, into every home. It must be owned and controlled within Scotland. We have work to do.
The Labour party must be held to account. No more can they claim to stand shoulder to shoulder with the poor and the excluded. No more can they claim to represent the working classes. No more will they leech moral authority from our struggles, sucking the life blood from change, managing the expectations of working class people. Labour is a creature of the bosses and the banks. It is the problem, not the solution. Labour cannot claim to defend us from the Tories after they and the Tories stood side by side. I will never vote for them again. Labour for Indy must consider their future. Perhaps it’s time for a new party of the left in Scotland. Independence cannot be the preserve of just one large party. It must be a broad based national movement, and be seen to be such. We have work to do.
I will scoff at the pride of those who are proud to be small, proud to be bullied. Proud not to think, proud to eat their cereal. And I will have the pride that comes from knowing that I stood with my sisters and brothers and dared to hope and dream of something better. The hoping and dreaming doesn’t end here. It has only just begun. A set back is not a death, a defeat is not annihilation. This is not the path over the mountain, but we have learned how to climb. We must climb to another path. We have work to do.
I have work to do. I must build a new life for myself. I must learn to be me after decades of we. But hope still burns within me. My life with Andy has left me strong enough to face the challenges that lie ahead, it gives me the resolve to build a new future. These past few months and years have given Scotland the strength and resolve to face the challenges that lie ahead. We will survive. We will flourish. We will strengthen our roots and grow.
No struggle for civil rights or reaching for self-determination achieves its goal easily. There are losses along the way. Take time to mourn and cry. Take time to grieve and weep. But guard the flame of hope within you, it is the cure for your wounds. It will see you through the dark nights. It will give you the resolve to go on. The future still waits for you, and it still burns bright with hope.
The tide goes out. The tide will return. Stand on the shore undaunted and unafraid, building for the future, and waiting the tide’s return. The high tide will come again. But we have work to do.