So that’s it then. The sun has risen but the darkness falls. The nightmare has happened. The nightmare is here. Two Unions lie broken. Last night England broke the Unions, and chose for us. Chose to take us into the dark forest, chose to take us off the path we wanted to travel. England and Wales have voted to leave the EU and Scotland has voted to remain. Every single council area voted to remain. The union is divided but Scotland is united, and here we are again, sitting at the back of a bus that’s being driven to a destination that we’ve said we don’t want to go to. We cling on as we drive off a cliff. We shout from the back seat but no one listens. We hold our heads in our hands and we weep in frustration. That’s the best of both better together worlds. That’s the price of Union. That’s the cost of selling our souls. It can’t go on. Wind the clock. Set the alarm. Waken.
It’s a price that’s too high. It’s a price that deprives Scotland of any choice and any meaningful say in its own destiny. It’s a price we cannot pay if we want to remain a nation. It’s a price we cannot pay if we aspire to be something better than we are. It’s a price we cannot pay if Scotland is to soothe its wounds and salve its conscience. It’s a price we cannot pay. It’s a price we will not pay. The clock is ticking on indyref2. The clock is ticking on the union.
Britain’s leaving the EU and Labour says it’s all the fault of the SNP. According to those Labour politicians who are not genetically programmed to take responsibility for their own cock ups, it’s the fault of the SNP for failing to rouse the populace to sufficient enthusiasm for Labour and the Remain campaign’s pish poor pitch for Europe. Scotland voted uniformly to Remain by a margin considerably greater than the margin that counted as a supposedly decisive majority in the independence referendum, but Labour couldn’t persuade its own voters to support Remain in the North of England. Everywhere across the UK, except in Scotland, the Remain vote was reluctant but the Leave vote greater than expected. And this, allegedly, is somehow the fault of the SNP. That’s Labour for you, getting its excuses in early while the clock is ticking on indyref2. Who’s side will you stand on Labour in Scotland? Will you stand with Boris and Nigel, or will you stand with Scotland? The clock is ticking.
Are you going to preach to us about solidarity Labour? About solidarity with a state which has rejected solidarity with the workers of Europe? About solidarity with those who seek to transform Britain into a low wage low rights economy drifting off into a damp and cold mid Atlantic, aping America without the benefits. It’s time to realise that solidarity is not suicide, that pooling and sharing doesn’t mean drowning, that broad shoulders can crush. Where’s your solidarity with Scotland? The clock is ticking on the Union.
Britain is leaving the EU and it’s taking Scotland with it. Scotland voted to Remain, but just as Scotland is getting a Tory government despite returning a single solitary Tory stuffed toy, and just as Scotland had to go through an EU referendum because of that Tory government, now we’re going to be ripped out of Europe against our express will. This is British democracy, no choice for Scotland. This is the best of both worlds that Better Together promised. These are the broad shoulders of Britain, carrying Scotland away to a place we don’t want to go, bearing down on us and crushing the breath from our bones. It’s up to us now to say no, to say no further, to say our voices count in our own land. It’s up to us to say that the clock is ticking.
We were promised a secure space within the EU if we voted to remain a part of the UK. Now we know that was a lie. Now we know that the Union was won on a false prospectus. Now we know that the jobs we were promised are not safe, the ships we were building will never sail, the democracy we were assured lies bleeding. Now we know that it’s not just the SNP who need to be held to account. Now we know the clock is ticking.
The Brexiteers crow that they’ve taken their country back from politicians that they don’t elect and who are unaccountable. But they have taken our country from us. They’ve consigned us to decisions made by politicians we don’t elect and who are unaccountable. Scotland in the United Kingdom lies prostrate and powerless. We cannot remain a part of a state in which we are permanently outvoted, outnumbered, outcasts from influence. A state that wants to retreat into a flag waving patriotism that’s inward looking and xenophobic. A state in which Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson are heros. We need to set the clock ticking.
We weep for the futures that won’t come to pass. We grieve for the dreams that dissolve in the dust of UKIP’s desert of hope. We cry out for something better, but it never comes. All that looms before us are the grinning faces of Thatcher’s children, threatening the few rights we’ve managed to preserve with the flames of austerity and private greed. There is nothing left for Scotland in this bonfire Britain. We need to build beacons across the bens, warning and illuminating the way to a better future. We need to set the clock ticking.
We need to reach out to our European friends. There is no future for Scotland in this disunited kingdom. There is no vision in the Westminster fog. There is no choice here for us. Our voices are lost, small, far and distant in the north end of the BBC weather map. We need to set the clock ticking on indyref 2. There is an escape. There is a way out. The rest of the United Kingdom has voted to leave the Union. We don’t need to follow.
Listen. The clock is ticking, and when it rings it will wake up a people.
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