Two years ago Westminster danced and cheered as the Union hourglass was turned over and they thought the sands had run out on an independence movement. They’d bought themselves a reprieve at the cost of a Vow, and words are cheap. Gordie Broon’s hot air comes at the price of an ego massage. Clap those hands stuck in the expenses till, rattle your crown jewels, wave your fleg. The Union was safe and all it took was another set of promises that meant nothing, another set of commitments with no intention to follow through. It had always worked before. This time they had to up the ante, to threaten more and promise more, but they got the result they wanted. Just.
It was a wee bit of a scare, but Scotland had given permission for the Unionist parties to get back to business as usual. So they danced and they cheered and they expected Scotland’s indy movement to crawl under a rock and hide from view as it withered and died. A Union flag fluttering on its grave. Respecting the will of the Scottish people became the mantra of parties who had no intention to respect the will of the Scottish people. Respecting the will of the Scottish people became the rallying cry of parties who refuse to accept there’s a Scottish nation to respect. The won their referendum by a bawhair and then thought they had licence to kick Scotland in the baws.
All that the Unionist establishment won two years ago was another pile of sand in the hourglass of the Union. They could have spent that time wisely. They could have shored up their support by delivering on their promises. They could have secured Scotland’s place as a leading member of a family of nations. They could have firmed up the sand and built the foundations of a lasting Union by delivering the home rule they had promised, by keeping Scotland safe within Europe. Instead they sneered and thought they’d been given a blank cheque. They told us that Scotland’s summer of self-realisation was really all about England, and they gave us English votes for English laws and English votes for Scottish laws too. They took their hourglass and hammered a great big hole in the bottom of it as the sand poured out and buried them. They’re the agents of their own destruction and the smell of their fear hangs over the land. They’re not dancing now. We are.
In 2014 there was an explosion of energy, enthusiasm and self-belief in a country that for generations had buried its hopes and dreams in a box marked memories of a history long past. Scotland changed forever in the summer of independence when the prospect of a different and better country shimmered on the horizon, so close you could almost touch it. We dreamt it into being with the force of our own will. A generation whose communities had been battered and beaten down by the gales of Thatcherism and the cynicism of Blair discovered that they could hope and dream. We learned that aspiration to a better life was possible for us too. We learned that if we wanted it we needed to do it for ourselves. It was a summer of life and a summer of learning. We learned our own power and the potential of the Scottish people. We changed this country. We changed ourselves.
But the Unionist parties didn’t change, and that has been their undoing. We stand on the brink of another independence referendum, the prospect of a better Scotland once more shimmers on the horizon. And it’s all down to the selfish self-interest of a Unionist establishment that couldn’t think further than its own short term interest. The took our hopes and our aspirations, and they twisted them to suit their own party interests.
Two years on and it’s the independence movement which is dancing. Two years on and it’s the movement to change Scotland into a self-assured self-determined nation that’s in the ascendancy. The leaders of Unionism aren’t dancing now, they’re howling with anger and frustration as they look upon the ruins of a post-referendum settlement that they broke themselves. They’ve been reduced to the lonely voice of Fluffy Mundell telling Scotland to embrace the opportunities of being torn out of Europe in a future that we have explicitly rejected. All that the UK offers is a future of disillusion, of deception, and disappointment, where Scotland’s wishes and needs are drowned in a vat of Tory bilge.
Two years ago we were promised a Scotland whose voice would be heard, which would be respected and self-respecting, which would govern itself and make its own decisions in partnership with close allies. That’s what the Unionists promised us. That’s not what they have delivered. It took just twenty four months for them to dissolve in the corrosive acid of their own deceit.
So here we are. An independence movement that’s refreshed and tempered in the heat of campaigning, hardened in its resolve and stiffened in its determination. We go into a new campaign with the support of half the population and the experience and skills to organise ourselves in the biggest grassroots movement that Scotland has ever seen. We have a digital media that’s active and vital, a thousand voices and a thousand songs. And we face a Unionist establishment that’s broken and discredited, tied by their lies and compromised by unkept promises.
Tomorrow on Glasgow Green, people from all over Scotland will come together in a peaceful and joyful gathering to show our support for a new Scotland, a better Scotland, a Scotland where the voices of Scotland are heard and the opinions of its people matter. We want a country where our political masters can be kept to their word because they will be accountable to the people of Scotland and no one else. We want a country where more than lip service is paid to social justice and equality. We want a country whose resources and skills are used to work in the interests of Scotland. And we’re going to build that country for ourselves.
The hourglass has turned again. The sands are running out on the Union.
Audio version of this blog article, courtesy of Sarah Mackie @lumi_1984 https://soundcloud.com/occamshaver/the-hourglass-turns-again-wee-ginger-dug-17th-sept-2016
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