I’m not about to give a running commentary on what independence will mean, but let me be absolutely clear, independence means independence. We’re going to achieve an independence that will be a bespoke deal for the people of Scotland, not an off the shelf independence which might suit some nations which are not as great as ours. We have an ambitious vision for a Scotland which achieves a saltire style blue and white independence that’s in the interests of the whole country. A patriotic independence in which the whole country can pull together towards a glorious future in which we take back control. Make no mistake, we’re engaged in a historic process.
That’s the kind of meaningless verbiage we’d be getting if Theresa May was the leader of the SNP and was the Scottish Furst Meenister. A shapeless planless pitch which substitutes a content-free waffle for anything which approaches a route map for getting from A to B, or any explanation of what B actually consists of and why we should get there. But Theresa May isn’t the Furst Meenister, that would be Nicola Sturgeon, and she’s a very different kind of politician. She’s got a plan. It’s just that her plan is one that the Unionist media doesn’t like very much. Because it’s a plan to gain independence for Scotland, and a plan about what Scotland can do with that independence once it’s been achieved.
I was out yesterday evening, but got home just in time to see a pair of London based media commentators on Sky News press review metrosplaining Nicola Sturgeon’s supposed decision to give up on the entire idea of Scottish independence. Because when the Furst Meenister sets out exactly what she’s been saying since the very beginning, that she expects the British government to protect and defend the interests of Scotland within the EU and ensure our continuing membership of the single market with all that entails, this all of a sudden becomes an announcement that she doesn’t want independence after all.
There’s no demand in Scotland for independence, said the meedjasplainers whose experience of Scotland is limited to traipsing from one concert venue to another for a week or so during the Embra festival. But they did manage to read some headlines in the Telegraph and Severin’s reportage in the Guardian, so they’ve got their fingers on the pulse of the corpse of Unionism. I’m so glad they’ve cleared up that troubling issue of another referendum for us. And there was me thinking that ordinary Scottish people understand Scottish politics better than the metrocommentariat. How mad is that eh?
Despite the headlines in a Unionist media that’s desperate to hear what it wants to hear, absolutely nothing has changed since the day before yesterday, before Nicola had her wee conversation in the BBC Radio Scotlandshire studio. Scotland remains as much on course for a second independence referendum now as it was earlier this week, despite all the fond hopes of posh pundits. This is after all the same media that wants us to believe that the SNP doesn’t really want a independence.
That’s the same SNP that the same Unionist establishment would have us believe is entirely motivated by an atavistic hatred of England and the English. Although when those asserting this are asked for evidence of their claims they can only prove their case by insisting that words mean different things to what everyone else understands them to mean. You know, like when an independence supporter complains about the Westminster parliament, this is really a racist attack on the entire English population. Or when an independence supporter expresses support for the Gaelic language this becomes a coded instruction to take a machete to English monoglots. So when these people tell us that Nicola Sturgeon has given up on the idea of independence, we need to take it with a mine’s worth of salt. Oh God, I said “these people” and that is probably a coded racist slur against the English. I’ll go and flagellate myself with a copy of the Daily Mail just as soon as I’ve finished writing this diatribe.
The line taken by the Scottish government has always been that taking Scotland out of the EU and removing the rights and benefits that residents of Scotland – both UK and EU citizens – enjoy as a result of our EU membership would be a cause for a second independence referendum. In her interview on Friday what the Furst Meenister said was that if that scenario can be avoided, then there won’t be a second independence referendum because then there will be no cause for one. That’s exactly what she’s been saying all along.
The problem for the Unionists who claim that Nicola is backtracking is that she’s batted the ball very firmly back into their court. What she really did in her interview was to make it clear that the Scottish government is prepared to be reasonable, flexible and is open to sensible negotiations in order to protect the interests of the majority in Scotland who voted to remain a part of the EU. Nae other bugger is standing up for the interests of the remainers. If the Tory government refuses to play ball, which is as much of a certainty as Ruth Davidson passing by a tank and climbing on it for a photo-op, then the justification for a second independence referendum comes very clearly from the failure of May’s government to listen to Scotland. It means that after receiving a litany of rebuffs from recalcitrant reactionaries in Westminster, the Scottish government can go to the Scottish people and tell them in all honesty that there is no other option but a second independence referendum.
It’s not a Union if one important partner in that Union isn’t listened to. It’s not a Union if one important partner in that Union gets ordered what to do. It’s not a Union if one important partner in that Union has made repeated and reasonable attempts to negotiate and reach a mutually acceptable compromise but has been consistently ignored and insulted and treated like a child. So when a second independence referendum is called, it will be obvious to one and all that the only way in which Scotland’s voice can be heard, the only way in which Scotland’s wishes will be respected, will be for Scotland to stand as an independent nation. Because if Westminster refuses to allow Scotland to choose its own destiny, then Scotland will make its choices for itself. Theresa May will have no one to blame but herself, and no amount of her meaningless waffle will change it.
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