Believe, act, become

Neal Ascherson has written an interesting article in this week’s Sunday Herald. It echoes a belief that has always served me well. Neal writes that the way to achieve independence is to act as though Scotland already is independent. By believing and by acting on our self-belief, we make a reality and bring it into being. To believe in your goal means to act on it, and when you act on it you demonstrate to the rest of the world that it is not only possible, it is a good thing, a necessary thing.

Many years ago not long after I had come out as gay, I met an older gay man who had been campaigning for LGBTQ rights for decades. It was back in the 1980s, and homophobia wasn’t just widespread, it was practically compulsory. The gutter press was regularly filled with hysterical stories of perverts and AIDs risks seeking to undermine and destroy civilisation. I came out so long ago that we were still arguing about the B part of the LGBTQ alphabet soup, the veteran of the campaign I met had done so when it was still illegal to be gay. Just living his life as a normal human being put him at risk of arrest and imprisonment, but that’s what he did anyway, undaunted, unafraid.

This veteran of the equality campaign told me that the campaign for lesbian and gay rights was a civil rights campaign, a campaign to demonstrate that we were just as good as straight people, that human rights were our rights too. What he told me stayed with me, a valuable lesson that has served me well. He said – if you believe that you’re the equal of anyone else, act as though you are, and by acting as though you are equal, you become equal. So I acted equal. I became equal, and equality then became an established fact. Believe. Act. Become.

The greatest shackles of all are the ones we place on ourselves. When you believe and act as though you are equal then homophobia is no longer your problem, it’s a problem for the homophobes. If someone can’t deal with who I am, that’s not my problem, it’s theirs. That was the path to liberation. Oppression and restriction of liberty rely on your consent, remove your consent and you’re no longer complicit in your own oppression, you’re already free.

I had children with lesbian friends at a time when it wasn’t commonplace for lesbian and gay people to have families. We didn’t do it because we wanted to prove a political point, we did it for the same reasons that anyone wants to start a family, but we were aware of the political import. We didn’t wait for anyone’s permission, we ignored the overwrought editorials in the press that said that people like us shouldn’t be “allowed” to have kids. We did it anyway. Straight people didn’t require anyone’s permission to start families, and neither did we. Nowadays no one raises an eyebrow at the idea of LGBTQ families. We believed. We acted. We became.

My partner and I had a humanist wedding ceremony which wasn’t legally recognised because equal marriage was just a pipedream then. We legally joined our surnames together. We took power of attorney for one another. We did it anyway. We believed we were a married couple, we acted as though we were a married couple, and we became a married couple. We were far from alone. Lesbian and gay couples all over took similar steps. Now equal marriage is widely seen as a right for everyone irrespective of their sexual orientation. Well, except for the DUP in Northern Ireland. But even there they are now seen as unjust and unfair dinosaurs desperately trying to pretend that it’s still 1957. Equal marriage is now an established fact of life. You start with belief. You act on your belief. Your belief becomes real.

This is a lesson that the Scottish independence campaign must take to heart. If we believe in independence, we must act independently, and then we become independent. If you sincerely believe in Scottish independence, you should act as though Scotland is independent, and dare Westminster to stop you. Scottish independence isn’t Scotland’s problem, it’s Westminster’s.

Westminster tells us that broadcasting is a reserved issue and we’re not allowed a Scottish national broadcaster. That doesn’t mean we can’t create one anyway. Westminster tells us that we must abide by its racist and unfair immigration policies. That doesn’t mean that we have to concede and cooperate when the Home Office seeks to deport our friends, families, and neighbours. We can develop proposals for land reform, for tax reform, a land tax, proposal for fair and dignified social security policies, for community action, for sustainable development. We can work on regional plans which will demonstrate how the issues and concerns of each part of this diverse and distinctive land can benefit from independence – autonomy plans for the islands, development plans for the deindustrialised towns of the Central Belt, plans to repopulate the depopulated hills and break up the great estates. A transport plan, an energy plan, a plan for housing, a plan for agriculture and fisheries, a plan for education. We can create plans for what independence looks like, and then as far as possible act on those ideas. By acting on them, we bring them to life and we make them real. And then we become independent.

Independence starts in the head. Self-determination starts with the self. Believing in independence means that you’re saying that you don’t believe in requesting permission, you don’t believe in asking for approval. You certainly don’t believe that you need the Westminster parliament or the British state to grant you authority. You’re independent in spirit, you’re independent in your soul. You can do it anyway. The fact you’re told that you can’t do these things is not your problem, it’s a problem for those who tell you that you can’t. Your authority is independent and you challenge the world to stop you. Scotland’s path to self-determination starts in your own mind and in your own heart. It walks on your feet, it strides with your legs, it’s a vision you see with your own eyes, it becomes real by your hand. Believe in independence, act on independence, and Scotland becomes independent. Believe. Act. Become.

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92 comments on “Believe, act, become

  1. Stephen Smith says:

    Completely agree with Neal Ascherson’s assertion that “the way to achieve independence is to act as though Scotland already is independent.” Where a deliberately disenfranchised person or people cannot gain control of their life in one fell swoop, then a steady taking back of what is rightfully theirs is common sense, until independence (personal or societal) becomes a fait accompli. No one political party can do it all for us, it will take the efforts of us all and a daily example that a better life is to be had free from the British establishment.

  2. […] Wee Ginger Dug Believe, act, become […]

  3. mumsyhugs says:

    What a belter of an article Paul! Your wee mantra should become the slogan for the next referendum and plastered everywhere on the likes of car stickers etc – Believe. Act. Become. – simple and memorable 🙂

  4. Paul Garbett says:

    Spot on Paul – and yes this ought to be adopted as the new slogan

  5. goberre says:

    Believe. Act. Become. Declare UDI. Sorted!

    • Marconatrix says:

      Indeed, if taken literally. But shouldn’t it have happened a while back when every Scottish MP bar three were SNP and when there was an actual majority at Holyrood in spite of the PR system devised to prevent that from ever happening? If that wasn’t a mandate for Indy, then what do you want?

      But that moment of ‘Peak Indy’ has come and gone 😦

      NS is busy with the Day Job. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a vitally important job, running Scotland. Someone has to do it, and it deserves to be done well. But isn’t it all a bit like the wee wifie in an old-fashioned marriage, running the home on the limited housekeeping money her husband, who holds the purse-strings, condescends to allow her.

      In short, has the Indy movement in effect been ‘Domesticated’ ??

      If I were to consume a mind-bending drug that convinced me absolutely that I could fly, should I then go and jump off a cliff? Don’t try this at home, kiddies, because tragically it takes rather more than raw belief.

  6. Contrary says:

    I already believe. Started believing a few months ago, that Scotland is already an independent country, legally, culturally and constutionally. There are only a few niggly little issues to sort out with Westminster now.

  7. Contrary says:

    *constitutionally – sorry, atrocious spelling.

  8. grumpydubai says:

    As individuals, we are doing so. What we now need is to address the various societal issues WGD has mentioned and how collectively we put this about to the ‘broad church’ of our fellow Scots.

  9. Elaine Gillies says:

    That is how New Zealand became independent. It just gradually began to take control of more and more of its systems. Seemingly they don’t have an independence day as they’re not exactly sure when it happened. Definitely a model for Scotland.

    https://teara.govt.nz/en/self-government-and-independence/page-1

  10. Macart says:

    See that last paragraph? THAT!

    Oh, and way ahead of you. 😀

    I’m a Scottish citizen. My parliament is Holyrood. My government is the Scottish government and one day at a time, one power at a time and one vote at a time it is becoming what it should be…

    … answerable ONLY to the population of Scotland. Basically the normal state of populations, nations and their governments the world over.

    We can of course hurry things along a bit if more of our population get behind this idea. The more who do, the sooner it becomes the reality.

  11. What a brilliant, rousing and inspiring exhortation, Paul. Thank you! “As I will it, so mote it be!”

  12. Les Bremner says:

    I have a four metre flagpole which, once erected, will fly a Saltire. People keep asking if I have permission.

    My reply is that I will categorically not ask permission to fly my country’s national flag. Full stop.

    • Lee MacDonald says:

      Brilliant article as usual Paul.

      My 4 metre flag pole has had a saltire flying proud since 2013, most people have been complimentary, the rest have been ignored.

  13. Born Optimist says:

    Great in principle but clearly unlikely to be put into practice. Could, for example, the various families who made the headlines and were deported in recent months have been protected by the Scottish government, and police? I would like to think it possible but given the nature of the concorde between Holyrood and Westminster I can’t see the former deciding to set itself up with powers currently in the control of the latter. I only wish…….but that would be UDI, I think, and cause more problems than it solved given the acrimony that would arise.
    I’ve been in favour of an independent scotland for at least 54 years and only recently began to believe I might see that goal attained but I think it has got to come when a majority of population have been convinced of the arguments (of which there are many) in favour of small, independent countries. In the meantime there are a lot of unionist shibboleths still to be dismantled. Work on them and spread the information to those who are dithering and I reckon I’ll have my Scottish passport before my demise.

  14. Jonathan Southerington, Deerness, Orkney. says:

    I think we need to reverse the concept of reserved and devolved powers. The Scottish Parliament should advise Westminster that hence forth reserved powers are those actioned by Holyrood and devolved powers are those contracted out to Westminster. Furthermore Holyrood should advise Westminster that any powers deemed fit to be returned to Holyrood by Holyrood, will simply be announced at Holyrood by Holyrood with a date stated for commencement.

    • Well worth a go! Take the initiative and see what Wastemonster comes up with in return! UDI by stealth, really.

    • What an excellent notion…

    • Peter A Bell says:

      Control over our health service to be “contracted out” to Westminster!? What substances do you have to be partaking of in large quantities to suppose that’s a good idea?

      The idea that you’re groping for is that the default position should be that ALL powers lie with the parliament actually elected by the people of Scotland. Unionists then have to make the case for handing certain of those powers, in whole or part, to a parliament in another country which the people of Scotland does not elect, and in which their democratically elected representatives are disrespected, sidelined, excluded and generally treated like shit.

      If, as British nationalists claim, we are ‘Better Together’, it should be a simple matter to sell this idea to voters.

    • John says:

      This is basically the model under which the Faeroe Islands operate.

  15. Jim Kydd-Corr says:

    A light in the dark, Paul. Thank you for this

  16. Les Bremner says:

    What is needed, and it is very surprising that we don’t have it, is a financial statement (albeit an educated estimate) showing money going to Westminster, money returning and therefore the money retained by Westminster. We can therefore tell Westminster that we are paying them to do tasks for us and they are not doing what they are paid to do.

    It is all a question of perspective.

  17. Back in the day ‘when I was a younger man’ (cue ‘Letter From America’) because I had relatives in Toronto, Vancouver, Philadelphia, and Maryland following the Lowland Clearances of the ‘sixties and ‘seventies, I was regularly hopping across the Pond every three or four years, ‘family-ing’. Australia, Italy, Germany and France have since become ports of call where a bed and a hot meal are guaranteed.

    When are we going to stop forcing our brightest to seek work outside Scotland?

    In the Good Old Bad Old Days, there was a smoking section on the aircraft, and because of an irrational fear of flying, and a puffer, I would spend most of the flight at the back, with my fellow neurotic nicotiniacs.

    One time I was seated beside an affable young man, who was smoking Gauloise cigarettes, which to my younger self seemed very cool and cosmopolitan.
    He spoke in fractured broken English, with a French accent, and I took the opportunity to practice my faltering French, which in those days was high school level and struggling, but was much to his relief.

    We were getting on great guns, so much so that I almost forgot that we were miles up in the sky over water, hurtling along at millions of miles a second; almost.
    I eventually asked him what part of France he came from.

    Oh dear, oh dear.

    ‘Je suis Belge.’

    Sensing my embarrassment, the lad revealed that he was taken as French many times, and drew the analogy with me, a Scotsman, being identified as ‘English’ in the States or on the Continent.

    It occurred to me that I have never been identified as ‘English’, or even ‘British’ on my travels.
    As some on here may recall. I have wandered the highways and byways of these isles for decades earning a crust.

    The accent is a dead giveaway, although a Geordie colleague of mine was pigeon holed as ‘another Jock’ in darkest Brighton, though, but, mind.

    Of the myriad hotels where I have laid down my weary bones, especially in the pre-computer days, I have always listed my nationality as Scottish.

    Curiously my English colleagues favoured ‘British’ when filling in hotel cards, or hiring a car.
    To them, ‘British’, and ‘English’, were interchangeable.They were born in England, and proud to be English, and why not?

    But they were also ‘British’?
    They ceded that Scotland was a country in its own right, but….

    Indeed watch any WWII movie with Jack Hawkins or Kenneth Moore in it, and ‘England expects’ dominates the by jingo speeches.

    Like you, Paul, I have been what I am, regardless,throughout my life. I am, was, and always will be Scottish.
    Holyrood is THE Scottish Parliament.
    By gradation we are slowly but surely ‘taking back control’.

    Of course we have 13 Blue Tory, 7 Red Tory, and 4 Jaundiced Tory MPs seem to have forgotten that they are Down There fighting Scotland’s corner, on behalf of the Scottish citizens who put them there.

    T May lays on an RAF ‘ plane at the cost of £20,000 to fly the DUP over to bung each and every one of their 10 neanderthal agitators £100,000,000 each to prop up her Fascist Government.

    Mundell laughs his head off among the Tory boo boys and insists that Scotland will not get even low hanging fruit from the Magic Money Tree.

    Yesterday the List Unionist MSP went off on 9 weeks’ paid holiday.
    They don’t even have constituents to bother with.
    Their year’s work has consisted of SNP Badding at Holyrood, and laughing or booing the elected Government as demanded by their three British Leaders.

    Rennie, Dugdale, and Davidson would close Holyrood tomorrow, because they will always be British, not Scottish.

    They are beyond help, denying their Scottish heritage, bought and sold for English/ British gold.

    A heart-warming piece, Paul; things do change, but only if we make them.

    • Well said, Jack. I was born English but if asked, here in Canada, from whence I hail, I answer “Scotland” without thinking twice about it.

      It annoys me intensely when filling out forms online for officialdom, that ‘Scottish’ is frequently not accepted as a nationality, nor ‘Scotland’ as a country of origin. I have far fewer teeth since we came out here, largely as a result of gnashing them when this happens. Which is not to say that it did not happen when I was still resident in Blighty, of course.

      • While clacking out the above, Wendy, and you can see by the Ypographical Terrors, too hastily for my own good, I was acutely aware that there are hundreds of thousands of English born Scots citizens who have honoured us with their decision to live, work, and bring up their families Up Here, and who contribute immensely to the multi-cultural bedrock of Scotland in the 21st Century.
        I am not arguing for Scots to develop the zealousness of ‘exceptualism’ with which some of the English chatterati have accused native born English citizens who happen to have remained in England, and no matter whether they are Leave or Remain, Unionist or Separatist, Tory or Red Corb, passionately want England/Britain to thrive and prosper.
        To me Scotland is a great wee country, and in my eyes ‘God’s Little Acre’, and will always be home to me and mine.
        I am an internationalist by instinct and repute, and that includes embracing and celebrating the culture and influence of our nearest neighbour, England.
        What we rail against is the political construct that is the United Kingdom, and its built in bias, that by sheer force of numbers, always means that the needs of the English partners of the Union will always outvote the needs wants and hopes of citizens in the other nations in the partnership;85% – 15% split will always mean that we are ‘ruled’ by the will of English citizens every time, and that many of us are sick fed up of it, and demand change.
        The empty rhetoric of Unionists, especially in the last decade when Scottish Self Determination becomes reality by degrees with each passing year, has been astonishing.
        WE have been threatened with vengeful retribution if we dare go it alone. The Big Boys in retail, finance, and industry, fronted by Scots born Red Blue and Yellow Tory Unionists, were the main bully boys and girls, gleefully predicting failure and global ostracism if the Nats somehow fluked it, and Scotland made its own way in the world.
        We have been promised Home Rule, lots of Frigates and the most powerful devolved Talking Shop in the Whole Universe; so we voted No, by some margin; only to have every promise and Better Together Pooling and Sharing vow whipped from under our feet literally minutes as soon as the result of the Referendum was known and David C announced English Votes fro English Laws on the steps of No 10.
        I suffer from ‘xenophilia’, if there is such a word, not ‘xenophobia’.
        As NS famously quipped;- ‘We are not full; All are welcome.’
        Brexit has concentrated the mind wonderfully, is all.
        I refuse to be ‘locked in my bedroom by the 85% who live Down There. It includes many Scots born Unionists, who declare that they are British First, and Scots second.
        Good luck to them.
        But we have never been a dependency of England, nor were we willing to accept colony status as the Natural Order of things.
        I intend to introduce my niece’s Portuguese born Canadian partner to the joys of my home made Irish Stew, an essential summer warmer in Clyde Coast early July drizzle.
        Who else could love Scotland so passionately but us Northern Cave Dwellers?

        • Marconatrix says:

          Jack, your last few lines actually had me LOL. Thank you 🙂

        • Macart says:

          Twas ever thus Jack.

          The lesson of the past few days?

          Irony.

          The intolerant relying on the tolerance of others so they can promote intolerance.

          • Sam, the latest appointment to May’s Brexit team is a far right nut, Steve Baker(?) who openly declares to rapturous crowds that he wants to destroy the EU completely.
            A good man to have on their negotiating team? Win some lose some, compromise, negotiate/ The Loon Yoons have taken over the asylum.
            It is reported that if the EU Referendum were run again, Remain would win convincingly.
            It is all going to plan.Our plan.
            Independence will be the ONLY option that Scots citizens have left to avoid catastrophe; and within the 2 year Brexit timetable.
            Tick effin’ tock.

  18. Hugh Wallace says:

    Bingo. Respect is never asked for, it is demanded. Those who are given the most respect are those who assume others will respect them. Only underdogs ask, plead, that you respect them. Scotland should act as if the rest of the UK respects our democratic right to self determination not go, cap in hand, asking for the British parliament to, pretty please, respect our rights to determine our own future.

  19. Isambard8Penumbra says:

    Judging by their track record the present SNP leadership is far too timid and voiceless to take on Westminster as suggested.

    Gone are the days when Alex Salmond simply issued an edict that Scotland had a government and not an “executive” as the unionists wanted to lessen it importance.

    Seems to me that we need a new and far more aggressive leadership now before we can expect a resurgance in pro-indy support.

    • AnnieM says:

      Alex Salmond and Angus Robertson should use their excellent skills to help the Scottish Independence Convention get the word out throughout Scotland, via the multitude of different pro-indy groups.

      It’s more important now than ever for a united front to get the message across.

  20. Anon says:

    As someone who only recently realised that they’re part of the “T” in LGBTI, the first half of that was seriously stirring to my nerves.

  21. Brian Powell says:

    Nobody on this thread has the slightest idea how they would do it.

    • Neil Anderson says:

      Thanks Enoch, sorry brian. Do you troll elsewhere? Silly question really, of course you do. Now, run off and wipe your bottom, it’s beginning to smell..

    • On the contrary, Sir. there are some excellent suggestions in this thread as to how this can be begun, if not ultimately accomplished.

  22. You do it your own way, Brian. By thinking first. I also made that leap a while back. As an example I refer to Holyrood as ‘The Government’ and Westminster as ‘The British Government’. Whilst I am ensconced in England for now, I am a foreigner in this land. Scotland is my country and it is already different from Britain in many ways. Britain is foreign to me, even though like Belgium and France we share some commonalities. I no longer possess a passport because I wish to have one for my country, not one imposed on me by some other country.

    I suppose reaching this point is what you might describe as “a revolution in the head”.

    • “I suppose reaching this point is what you might describe as “a revolution in the head”.” – It is. I came it from the other direction, being born in England and becoming a Scot by residence and marriage. There was a definite “epiphany” when I realised that I identified as Scottish and not British or English.

      • Robert Harrison says:

        How the English hate the forigeners they not any better on those of mixed race my late father was born and breed Scouser mother born and breed Glaswegian and thanks to thacther he moved us to England when i was only 2 years old then decided to have me educated there oh being a kid with an ayshire accent at the time i can tell you lot the English was bastards towards me absolute bastards you think up any anti Scottish insult i got it i always told my old man i hated England and wanted out but he was raised the old way of kids should be seen but not heard so i was blantantly ignored as a kid but i will say this braveheart got 1 thing right the English are only tough in groups like any bully they wont start trouble without there mates around solo they are gutless i know them 26 years of there bigotry and now brexit made it worse that country can fall tomorrow for all i care just as long as scotland not dragged with them

        • robert harrison says:

          now i think about its thats all england really is nothing but bullys trying to be bigger than what they are

  23. Jan Cowan says:

    Brilliant article, Paul. Couldn’t agree more…….and thank you, The National and the famous Ginger for a thoroughly enjoyable evening in Thurso on Thursday. That wee dog is most certainly a star!

  24. Alba Laddie says:

    Three words: Too f***ing nice. Once we shed this shtick of feeling we have to continually justify ourselves, then we’ll be more than halfway there.

    Personally I’d start with continually badgering Mundell to justify the bung to the DUP, and bring Ruth the mooth in on that discussion and ask her if she’s happy to accept responsibility for emboldening the Orange order and harvesting the billy boy vote.

    Take the gloves off SNP leadership, please?

  25. Guga says:

    WGD, for the benefit of rural and other geriatrics, could you please enlighten us on the “alphabet soup” you mentioned. I’ve figured out the LBGT bit, but what is LGBTI and LGBTQ?

    • Illy says:

      “I” is intersex (Folks born with bits of both/indistinct genitalia) and “Q” is Queer (supposed to cover the multitude of other categories like pan. When you’re dealing with at least a 2-dimensional plot (that a lot of people don’t realise is a 2d plot – they just see the clusters and try to label them all), lots of labels pop up, and it would be lunacy to try to add all of them)

    • Muscleguy says:

      Illy has it right. Human gender and gender identity, have one brain but a different body or the ‘wrong’ gonads or genitals show that such things do not fit a nice neat linear gradation.

      In the past babies born intersex would usually have one or other set surgically removed. They were ignorant about the gendered brain thing or that the owner might have ovaries as well as a penis, or a large clitoris which looks like one. The clitoris is just a small, penis without a urethra through the middle or much erectile tissue but all the nerve endings. Thus genetic variation allied to environmental variation can produce during development large penises, small penises, very small penises (a recognised ‘malady’) and large clitorises, some with tubes through the middle. There is no hard dividing line between a penis and a clitoris. We recognise the extremes but where the middle is nature doesn’t care about.

      I’m a published Developmental Biologist and I can tell you the genes that are switched on in males to lengthen the penis. Label the same genes in a female and they are on in a much smaller patch and for a much shorter time. Timing is a critical entity in a four dimensional animal like an embryo/foetus (more labels with no firm dividing line) and changes in timing underlie a lot of stuff, that long finger on an Aye-Aye? leaving those same genes on for a LONG time. Same with the extended fingers of bats.

      The genetic ways in which you can end up intersex or mixed up in various ways are manifest and we are still discovering more. There are manifest non genetic ways to ‘become’ gay too, have a lot of older brothers (you don’t have to be raised with them) for eg. But not every younger son is gay and not all gay men are younger sons. But then there are different sorts of gay men. Variety is the spice of life.

      The nice thing about the modern world is that we no longer arbitrarily decide to remove babies’ genitals. We tend now to let them grow up intersex and if they want to lose one set or the other when they are old enough to choose then we can facilitate that, or they can live as intersex and you don’t have to know about it.

      It’s a little sad that rural people don’t encounter enough of such people. You might but not know it, but more likely they flee the small minded and ignorant for the more tolerant and anonymous cities.

      • Illy says:

        “The nice thing about the modern world is that we no longer arbitrarily decide to remove babies’ genitals.”

        Not completely true. Circumcisions still get performed on babies for some reason. And that operation is straight-up genital mutilation. Also, some doctors still think they can tell which gender someone born intersex “should” have. But it’s certainly less common nowadays.

      • Guga says:

        Thank you for the information. We don’t see much of this at all in rural areas, though you can be sure that if it was around, most people would know about it. Then again, most people would not approve of it, especially in Free Church and Free Presbyterian Church areas.

        Personally, I am one of these people who doesn’t give a damn what sexual tendencies people have, or do not have, just like I don’t give a damn what religion they may or may not have. I just don’t like anyone to try to impose their views on me, particularly in matters of religion.

        I’m all for live and let live – and UDI.

        • Illy says:

          Just for the record: Trans and Intersex are nothing to do with who you’re attracted to/sleep with. Trans is a brain/body gender mismatch, and both trans and intersex are essentially birth defects.

          There’s a legitimate argument about whether they should be included with the LGB stuff. (But they are, for better or worse, for “historic” reasons)

          • Peter A Bell says:

            The human capacity for creating categories appears to be infinite. The pigeon-holes proliferate. But the pigeons are still just pigeons.

            • Well said, Mr Bell. Yes, sometimes it is difficult for straight old fossils like me to get our heads around the politics of sexuality and gender – and I am grateful for the education I have received in these threads – but really, why do we need to be able to “label” people? We are all just “people”!

            • Illy says:

              When you’re dealing with people trying to categorise the number of points on a line, you sometimes have to despair.

  26. Laura Dunbar says:

    Must be one of the best pieces you’ve ever written

  27. Muscleguy says:

    The problem of course is the increasingly dead hand of the craven SNP. Too many folk are waiting not for Westminster’s permission but for Holyrood’s permission. I understand the need to consult, to trial, but there are not enough consultations, not enough trials. We have our own legal system, if the power is not there, bloody create it. Call it something else but make it ours and make it work.

    They are defeated by Westminster. The police are down millions because of VAT, well stop sending the VAT, dare them to sue us. Highlight in court all the occasions you asked Westminster to change the designations but they haven’t. Pick fights.

    Introduce an LVT for local govt funding. So lots of funding is predicated on council tax and Westminster isn’t minded to change it. So find a way through, take them to court, do it anyway, because its the right thing to do. What happens instead? The SNP are defeated by this.

    Allowing ourselves to be defeated like that tells Westminster that is how to defeat our ambitions time and time and time again. Pick fights to highlight this. Do not go gentle into that good night.

    Increasingly I despair of the SNP. We can’t campaign for Indy because the SNP are busy trying to stay in the Single Market. I voted to stay in the EU Nicola, not just the bloody Single Market.

    Again they are defeated when they could come out fighting. They still, with the Greens, have a mandate but they pretend like they haven’t. So we lost Alex and Angus. Any battle worth fighting will have casualties. They knew the risks, they stood anyway. Salute them, move on.

    Get off your knees and fight SNP or we will find an Indy vehicle that works.

    • Patience , Muscleguy.
      The end is at hand.
      Brexit will be the game changer.
      Just a little bit longer.
      BTW, I agree with all of the above, in time.

      • Marconatrix says:

        Patience indeed, I suppose, but forgive my current ‘wobble’. I remember when the SNP had a single MP and she lost her seat. Then, going past the paper shop next morning, the headlines were of a late result, the SNP had gained the Western Isles. That felt like we were on the road to Indy, not just a flash in the pan. Of course it could have stayed at just a handful of colourful MPs (and later MSPs) something like the Greens, a welcome bit of added variety and scrutiny, but things went further, we got our Assembly/Parliament (second time lucky?) with the SNP clearly the party of Scotland, there and in London …

        But now somehow things feel bogged down, stuck. Patience? But I just want to cry out, “How long, O Lord, How long?”

    • Andy Anderson says:

      Could not agree more.

    • Lizzie55 says:

      I’m right there with you. I wonder where my bold SNP have gone. Like you I’m wondering why my vote to stay in the EU is now demoted to staying in the single market. If the Snp, they are by far the biggest Indy entity, don’t start fighting for Indy then this amazing opportunity will be lost. I get what Paul is saying wholeheartedly but there are so many things that need the weight of an Indy movement behind them to make independence viable and we need the snp to step up here. We need the snp to step up now and keep the hope alive, we are all hurting under this dreadful Tory government, it’s not just Brexit we need independence to happen for its also for the Westminster strangle hold and a vile Tory government as well.

  28. Andy Anderson says:

    Very good article Paul. Believe, act, become. I like this our new Indy slogan. Says it all.

  29. Perhaps we need to stop depending on the good or other intentions of the SNP. It’s time for the people themselves to take responsibility for Scotland’s future. The SNP have done the initial work of creating the ground where our development of a new nation develops its own momentum. From now on, the buck stops with the people.
    Start thinking and acting like our own place is hours and slowly it will become so.

    • Andy Anderson says:

      We can only do this by talking to the maybe’s and the no’s. No short cuts. It is hard sometimes but every doubt answered helps.

      Believe, Act, Become

  30. Peter A Bell says:

    If we could afford to wait twenty or more years for an alternative to the SNP to somehow materialise then Neal Ascherson might have a point beyond the rather obvious one that independence is a good in its own right. We don’t have that luxury. The Brexit process has constitutional as well as economic implications.

    Acting as if Scotland were already independent is a great idea, as far as it goes. But we also have to act in order to make independence a reality. And, like it or not, that requires the effective political power that only the SNP is in a position to provide. It is the lever by which we will prise Scotland out of the British state. There is no other lever. The British state will only be broken if the entire Yes movement puts its weight behind that lever.

    That is realpolitik. British nationalists are fully aware of the crucial role the SNP plays as the political arm of Scotland’s independence movement. If we lose, it will be because so many within that movement choose to deny the hard political reality of our situation.

    http://indyref2.scot/to-dream-or-to-do

    • Andy Anderson says:

      I woke up to Independence in 2013 after hearing Alex Salmond talk on TV. His talk made me think and start to research the subject. Without his minority SNP government having indy1 the rapid growth of the Yes movement would not have started.

      Without a pro Indy Scottish government in Holyrood the campaign will in my opinion decline.

      • Peter A Bell says:

        Don’t be shy, Andy. That’s not an opinion. It’s a statement of absolute fact. Actually, it’s an understatement. Without a pro-independence administration at Holyrood, there is absolutely no hope for the cause of restoring Scotland’s rightful constitutional status. And yet there are many in the Yes movement who not only seek to bring down the SNP, they actively campaign for British nationalist parties and candidates.

        Of course, as soon as you say this there’s a clamour of insistence that the SNP isn’t the whole independence movement. Some people feel the need to repeat this mantra at regular intervals despite the fact that nobody has ever suggested that the SNP is the whole independence movement. Merely that it is the only part of the independence movement capable of exercising the kind of effective political power which is absolutely indispensable if Scotland’s independence is to be restored.

        It’s not fucking rocket surgery! Lever! Fulcrum! Force! The SNP is the lever. The Scottish Parliament is the fulcrum. The Yes movement is the force. And yest so many flatly refuse to put these three essentials together.

        I don’t get it either.

        • well said, Peter.
          A tad Pied Piper Syndrome, perhaps.
          The SNP were instrumental in ridding us of the rats, after all They are the only political game in town to spearhead the political impetus at Government level required to take forward indyref2.

    • Saor Alba. says:

      I agree absolutely Peter. Very well stated.

  31. Aye Paul, believe you already have it and live it. I too think it’s a great slogan #BelieveActBecome

  32. A Spanish poet says:

    No hay camino
    Se hace camino al andar.

    (There is no path. We make a path by going)

  33. 2p3rf3ct says:

    I wholeheartedly believe, but standing in a maelstrom of lies and deceit. I have been here before. I did believe in another thing dear to me, and Snowden crapped all over it from a heavenly height.

    I walked away from that, but will not walk away from Scotland. There is a reason we need the ‘rather good’ SNP to guide us forward. There is nothing else.

    The trolls and doubters harangue the SNP for the slightest issue, while ignoring the blue whale in the room that stinks of UK corruption and stupidity.

    Selfishly, I want to party like its 1999 on Scotland’s independence day, and on the day of the vote, and on the day of rejoining the EU, and on and on …

    Its not for you and me reading this, unless you are below 20. It will take work, and a strong moral government and constitution. We will prevail, we who want change.

  34. emilytom67 says:

    I have always thought that was the way forward,Sturgeon and co ceded groung to the two comedians Rooth/Duglugs,the SNP should be acting and making decisions for Scotland,they have been too fearful and dithering,get intae them get it fcuking up them at every turn.

  35. John Low says:

    Yes, agree 100%.

    In my long lost youth, I never quite believed I was a world class athlete. My training buddy did, even though I used to beat him most of the time (initially!). He got to the Olympics – I, well, didn’t. Self belief is absolutely essential for success in any walk of life – creating self belief as a nation is exactly what we need.

    • Marconatrix says:

      But self-belief has to be combined with the ability to get the job done, otherwise it just produced arrogant pricks like e.g. Boris Johnson, or the local pub know-it-all.

  36. Gavin C Barrie says:

    Must share, said to me by an USA Army Reserve Colonel when I expressed concern over a proposed course of action to resolve an engineering/construction problem.

    ” Gavin, it is easier to get forgiveness than permission”.

    I absolutely agree, think and act as an independent nation.

  37. moonbucket says:

    This is the best thing I’ve read in ages about independence. Bravo to you asserting your rights and sharing your experience in belief becoming reality. A really strong message and one I will take forward.

  38. I read a tweet on my time line regarding the visit to Scotland by Justin Trudeau in July, suggesting perhaps it indicated encouragement for our Independence movement. So many countries, including those in the EU, have offered us encouragement towards indy, that I was suddenly reminded of a (very old) joke in which a drowning man sends a rescue helicopter and two lifeboats away, each time insisting “God will save me !!”

    Eventually God’s voice booms down from Heaven and says “For ****’s sake man, I sent you a helicopter and two boats, what more do you want me to do ???”

    I absolutely agree with your article Paul, we need to behave and live like an independent Scotland but we need the Scottish Government to lead the way, even in small steps as suggested. But what does it take ?

    I feel like the independence movement is shouting down at the SNP right now “We’ve elected three SNP Scottish Governments, two UK general election SNP majorities, the biggest number of council seats in 2017, 62% remain in the EU Referendum, the EU support us, other countries support us…..for ****’s sake, what more do you want us to do ???”

    The SNP are too bloody nice – time and again Nicola has Ruth the Mooth and Kez the Bewildered on the ropes in Holyrood, and I’m there waiting for the killer blow and…….whit ?? They’re still standing ? Is it because their erse’s are too sore to sit doon ? No, it’s because despite the talented, skilled people in the SNP who could produce facts, stats, figures and God knows what else, the opposition get away with lies and fantasy again and again.

    If I don’t see Mundell and Davidson with their heids in their hauns over the DUP Billions fiasco, then I will really start to doubt myself, let alone the leadership.

    But yes, live as an independent nation……..I can happily start that anytime, I just need to know my elected representatives are, if not leading me, then are following me close behind.

    • Deelsdugs says:

      Now that’s good Molly’s Mum.
      Why indeed are the SNP not standing up for what they, and us, believe in and allowing the media, the broadcasting, the bullies, their repetitive bias to go on and on and on…

  39. David Agnew says:

    Am already walking that path. Quit the BBC. Quit buying British news papers. Don’t watch UK terrestrial TV at all. On the few occasions i See the UK media, it feels like a foreign country to me.

  40. Ian D. says:

    Brilliantly simple! Simple brilliant!

  41. Gavin C Barrie says:

    I really do not agree with criticism of the SNP.In their time in government they have provided stability and introduced good social improvements to Scotland.

    So setting that aside, we, independence minded people need to assess how to go about persuading the meek among us to go for independence.I believe the Yes movement is the vehicle. We have no hierarchy to say “no you cannot do that”, Westminster’s silly contrived procedures have no relevance to us. We can challenge, we can ridicule, and we can think and act as an independent nation, and seek to carry the meek with us.

    Seems that there is a core 20 to 25% Unionist following in Scotland. so 75 to 80% is the target to persuade to embrace independence.

    Did you note the comments of the Australian rugby coach following the match with Scotland? ” We know that Scotland are a top team, it’s their media that talks them down”. Now why would the UK media do that? We need to talk ourselves up act accordingly.

  42. Marconatrix says:

    Sorry if slightly OT, but I wondered how Wales would fare if they found themselves ‘abandoned’ alone with a reactionary inward-looking Little England, so it was interesting to discover that there exists a Yes Cymru organisation arguing for Welsh Indy. See here :

    http://yes.cymru/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Independence-in-Your-Pocket1.pdf

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