They’re clearly rattled. There have been a number of articles in the British nationalist press about Saturday’s march and rally. None of which, you won’t be surprised to hear, are remotely positive. A mass demonstration of a minimum of 35,000 people in the streets of Glasgow, the largest pro-independence demo this country has ever seen, puts a lie to the comforting myth so beloved of opponents of independence that no one wants another referendum. Last Saturday, Glasgow wasn’t just full of people who do want another referendum, it was full of people who are going to be actively campaigning in it.
There are many thousands more who are equally committed to independence who didn’t attend, but even if we discount those, and even if we accept the police estimate of 35,000 and not the organisers’ estimate of upwards of 80,000, that’s still a massive body of Yes campaigners who vastly outnumber the number of door chappers, poster makers, and canvassers that British nationalists can put on the ground. No wonder they’re afraid of us. A people in motion is an awesome sight.
Ever since, we’ve had nothing but sniffery and snidery from the usual British nationalist suspects who are desperate to discredit the event. Much of their harrumphage is couched in supposed advice to the independence movement that if we want to win next time then we shouldn’t be holding events with mass participation. Because obviously the real way to win a campaign is to base your strategy on what people who don’t want you to win it tell you to do.
No really, they assure us, all these people who fill the pages of the press with paeans to Britainry and new ways of blaming the SNP for things, they really are persuadable about the merits of Scottish independence. They’re just trying to be helpful. I was musing on the democratic deficit, they tell us, and how Scotland doesn’t get what it votes for. There I was witnessing the contempt with which this Conservative government treats Scotland and silences us and refuses even to consult Scotland. I’m disgusted by the way in which Theresa May is using a referendum result which Scotland voted against in order to undermine a referendum result which Scotland voted for. I was struck by the recent paper from the Fraser of Allander Institute which explains how Scotland’s income flows out of the country, and now realise that independence is the only way to ensure that Scotland’s wealth is used to benefit Scotland. I’m appalled by the way in which we’re being ripped out of the EU into an inward looking right wing nostalgia where xenophobia is official policy. I was struck by the paradox that the only way to preserve the values of tolerance and openness that I once associated with the British state is through Scotland leaving that state. So I was totally teetering on the verge of considering a yes vote next time round. But then someone on social media mentioned that they were sitting on a number 61 bus stuck behind someone pushing a big model unicorn down Renfield Street, and that was me put right off.
They’re not lying. All those people who spend their time and energy looking for myriad ways to tell us how bad the SNP is, and how much of a disaster Scotland would be without those nice people in Westminster to look after us, and how great it is to be British, they really are persuadable about the merits of independence. Honest. It’s churlish to doubt them. In the exact same way Nicholas Witchell is persuadable about the merits of republicanism, and Jacob Rees Mogg is secretly considering coming out as a supporter of radical lesbian feminists. Only in Scotland do we get concern trolls plastered all over the pages of our newspapers.
It must be terrifying to a staunch supporter of all that is red white and blue. There you are, telling yourself that we’ve passed peak Nat, that Ruth Davidson and her cheeky photo ops are saviours of the Union, that the window of opportunity for the independence movement is narrow and is closing fast, and then all of a sudden tens of thousands of people appear in the streets of Glasgow and put a big stick in it, wedging that windae wide open. Worst of all, you didn’t see it coming, because the press you rely on didn’t prepare you for it.
When you’re doing something that has provoked such a strong reaction in opponents who usually do their best to ignore and marginalise you, that’s an argument for doing more of it. What we’ve learned from the British nationalist response to a massive manifestion of faith in Scottish self-determination is that when enough of us take to a public place, in a peaceful and open display of our belief in ourselves and belief in our country, that we cannot and will not be ignored.
This year, Scotland sees a significant anniversary. On 11 September this year, it will be 21 years to the day since the referendum of 1997 when Scotland voted by a very large margin to introduce the devolution settlement that we have today, a settlement which is under threat by a Conservative government hypocritically preaching about the importance of respecting referendum results. Devolution is 21, but Scotland is being infantilised by a British state that has taken it upon itself to decide which of Scotland’s powers it will take back to itelf. We need to tell them that we’re fed up being treated like Westminster’s rebellious children and we will stand in defence of the rights of self-government that Scotland campaigned so long and hard to achieve.
The Scottish Parliament will be 21, but Scotland’s legislature is still being treated like a child by Westminster. Perhaps this year, on Saturday 15 September, the Saturday that falls between the anniversaries of Scotland’s two referendums, we should organise a massive march and rally demanding that it’s time that Scotland’s 21 year old self-government becomes a grown up, fully capable and able to make all the decisions about the direction Scotland takes. The time for childish things is past. We’re adults, and we want a grown up parliament in our country.
The Wee Ginger Dug has got a new domain name, thanks to Indy Poster Boy, Colin Dunn @Zarkwan. http://www.indyposterboy.scot/ You can now access this blog simply by typing www.weegingerdug.scot into the address bar of your browser, the old address continues to function, the new one redirects to the blog. The advantage of the new address is that it’s a lot easier to remember if you want to include a link to the blog in leaflets, posters, or simply to tell a friend about it. Many thanks to Colin.
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