Not everyone in the independence movement is thrilled by the Scottish Government’s Growth Commission report. Mildly left of centre and fiscally timid party produces mildly left of centre and fiscally timid economic report, shock horror. Imagine that eh, the SNP hasn’t come up with an economic plan that adopts all the measures favoured by the Socialists or the Greens. The Scottish Government hasn’t developed an economic plan that’s all about me me me and my favourite analysis. Cue a lot of stamping of feet and throwing of dummies. Cue some anguished articles in the overwhelmingly anti-independence press, and a far larger number of gloating articles in that press about how the independence movement is split and divided.
That’s not to say that the plans favoured by the Socialists or the Greens are not as worthwhile or capable of persuading people to the cause of independence as the SNP’s plans, of course they are. Personally I find some aspects of the Common Weal’s proposals for kick-starting the economy of an independent Scotland rather more appealing than some of the points made by the Growth Commission. But the point is that this independence movement is a broad movement, above all it’s a grassroots movement.
By definition not all the players within a grassroots movement are going to sing from the same song sheet. By definition a mass movement is going to contain people with whom you disagree. That’s kinda the point of a grassroots mass movement. That’s our strength, our beauty, our appeal. There’s something there for everyone and no one person or party can own our movement. This is not Nicola Sturgeon’s independence movement. This is not Alex Salmond’s independence movement. This isn’t Robin McAlpine’s independence movement. This isn’t my independence movement. It isn’t Loki’s and it isn’t Jonathon Shafi’s either. It belongs to all of us, and we don’t all have to agree on everything.
The Growth Commission report is a discussion document, not holy writ. You’re not supposed to agree with everything in a discussion document otherwise there is nothing to discuss. It’s a bit like being asked for your opinion but immediately stomping off in a huff because the person asking your opinion hadn’t telepathically absorbed your point of view and didn’t already know what you thought. If the Scottish Government had published its paper and every single person within the Yes movement had said – well yes my thoughts exactly, I’m neither going to criticise it nor make suggestions for improvement – then we would have been accused of being a cult. The entire idea of a discussion document is to act as a basis for discussion. So why react to it as though someone has slapped you in the face with a sterlingisation proposal and announce with outraged harrumphery that you’re disassociating yourself from the movement?
In travels across the length and breadth of this country, I’ve met thousands of people in the independence movement. Every single one of them, without exception, wants Scottish independence because they recognise that there is much that is wrong with this country and it needs to be fixed. They recognise that successive Westminster governments which have presided over and created the rampant inequalities and social injustice which blight this country are not going to fix the conditions upon which British rule depends. But where we all differ in this movement is in our ideas of what we want to achieve with Scottish independence and how we want to go about achieving it. I have my vision of the better land that an independent Scotland could be, it may not be the same as yours.
It has to be said that there is a certain section of the independence movement which is more concerned about ideological purity than it is about independence. They’re putting the cart before the horse. It’s all very well demanding that an independent Scotland must have swings and a roundabout and they must get first dibs on them, but the point is that we need to get the land for the playground first. Once we’ve achieved that. Once we have secured the land, then that is the time to fall out about swings, roundabouts, or chutes.
The irony is that those who preach ideological purity are no different from any one else in this campaign in their desire to achieve independence for pragmatic and practical ends. We all want independence in order to make this country a better place for all its citizens, to make Scotland a better place, a peaceful country that’s a beacon of hope and progressivity. Independence is the starting point, it’s not the final goal, and the ideologically purist wing of the movement is no different from anyone else in this campaign in that regard.
It’s just that some people insist that this movement, this campaign, has to be run according to their preferred set of ideological goals and if it isn’t then they’re going to carp on the sidelines and devote as much if not more time and energy complaining about and criticising other independence supporters than they do attacking the British state and establishment which has produced the unacceptable Scotland that all of us want to change. It’s like fighting with someone who has a different idea of what the cure is rather than tackle the underlying illness. They want a mass movement, but at the same time they want everyone else to agree with them. You can’t have it both ways. This is a mass movement aiming for Scottish independence. We’re not playing at student politics here.
This is not a call to everyone to agree all the time. It’s not a call on everyone to shut up for independence. It’s a call for people to stop attacking others within the movement with whom you have a different point of view about how to achieve a better Scotland. Because the only people who benefit from that are those who don’t want any of us to achieve a better Scotland. The only people who benefit are those opponents of independence who gloat and smirk about divisions and splits within the independence movement. When you attack other supporters of independence because you disagree with their tactics or their vision of the better Scotland we can win, the anti-independence media doesn’t give you airtime or column inches because it wants to promote diversity within the Yes movement. It does it because it wants to weaken and discredit us.
The way we can achieve independence within this mass movement is for all of us to continue to put forward our own hopes of the better Scotland that shimmer before us in a beautiful vision. If you are going to attack anyone, attack those opponents of independence who tell us that there is no such thing as a more beautiful Scotland, that this British state is the best we can hope for. When you attack other independence supporters, all you’re doing is making it more difficult to achieve your own dream. That’s precisely what the British state is depending on.
Let’s not forgot that we all own this movement, and it’s respectful diversity and debate within this movement which will produce respectful diversity and debate within the better Scotland that we’re all campaigning for.
Mapa Gàidhlig na h-Alba / Gaelic Map of Scotland
The Gaelic map of Scotland is now available, the cost is £15 plus £7 P&P within the UK. Please note P&P outwith the UK is more expensive. P&P to Europe is £10, P&P to the rest of the world is £15. If you require multiple copies of the map, you only need pay once for P&P, up to 3 copies of the map which is the maximum that can fit in one postal tube.
You can purchase a copy of the map by Paypal by clicking the donate button at the end of this page and entering the requisite amount. Please also include the address to which the map should be posted. If you prefer another payment method, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for alternatives.
Please note that the map is currently at the printers and I won’t be able to start posting maps out to buyers until the week starting May 28.
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.
Wee Ginger Donations & Speaking engagements
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