No laughing matter… maybe

A guest post by Samuel Miller

I was looking forward to a nice Sunday with the feet up and maybe watching a box set of Laurel and Hardy’s best screwball slapstick. Had a bit of a hankering for some of the classics of comedy recently. Can’t think why. What I got instead was a nice Sunday watching a poor man’s tribute act of same, only without the humour or the slapstick. Also probably missing the talent, skill and charisma. (sigh) No, Sunday became one of those days where if you didn’t laugh, you’d cry. So laugh it was.

Aye. Turns out, our very own Secretary of State for keeping an eye on Scotland, David Mundell and the local branch supervisor Ruth Davidson, aren’t too happy with the idea of Ms May’s latest proposition for the N.I. border issue, or indeed any differentiated position in the Brexit negotiations. They didn’t toil in the mire of indyref 1, presumably throwing suspicious looks at burly men and keeping this sparkling and precious union together, only to see a border appear in the Irish sea. Oh no. They’re so miffed at the prospect apparently, they’d resign their posts and march off in a fit of righteous wossiname into the sunset. What their actual Scottish constituents think of this, I’m not entirely sure. (Rumours of the odd spontaneous ceilidh breaking out overnight and muffled laughter being heard from borders all the way up to Cape Wrath and beyond are completely unfounded.)

You might think that to say they’ve missed the point entirely over the concerns and priorities of the electorate is a bit of an understatement, but I couldn’t possibly comment. You might also think that Brexit happening at all in, y’know, SCOTLAND would be a bit more of a pressing issue to the population of SCOTLAND. That perhaps the Seccy of State for SCOTLAND and the branch supervisor might have a bit more concern for their constituents who happen to live in… SCOTLAND.

The more cynical among you might also be thinking that such an action, (should it ever come to pass), would appear to be somewhat of a dereliction of duty. ‘Course distancing themselves from a PM beset on all sides by folks out for her chair might not hurt either. Perish the thought on both counts. I mean, Treeza has been welcomed so warmly by Ms Davidson on a number of occasions and was quite the busy bee fighting the remain corner during the EU referendum. I’m sure they’re excellent chooms with a simply super working relationship. (The amount of dust in this room fair makes your eyes water)

How and ever, they needn’t have worried. Seems yesterday’s EU talks between Michel Barnier and Dominic Raab didn’t exactly go smoothly. The outcome? Well it was all a bit on-again/off-again throughout the day, as reports of done deal and no deal kept flying back and forth. The current situation, (so far as we know), is that Ms May’s plan, (once again), has been rejected. At this moment in time, it appears that the dreaded ‘no deal’ scenario looms just that wee bit closer as the parties remain deadlocked. The very bestest outcome of Brexit fudge, (bangs head off table), looking decidedly ropey to say the least. The pending cabinet meeting on Tuesday and the EU summit on Wednesday should prove to be fairly…. tense…. affairs.

Advisory note (cough): It’d be well worth readers’ time, at this point, to stock up on popcorn around now. You may not want to miss a second of what happens next and running short on snacks would never do. Also? After Brexit is finalised, stocking up on anything may prove to be a bit of a problem.

Probably also worth mentioning that for mahoosive swathes of the population, Brexit of any description may look beyond grim.  Soft, meejum, hard and any other buzz term you care to mention, would be basically the equivalent of putting lipstick on yer proverbial pig.

Just to recap and so far as I’m aware, there was no agreed definition of the terms of Brexit prior to, or during, the EU referendum. No exit strategy in place by either UK government, or the leave campaign. Not even a negotiating stance. The deal was subsequently described however, as going to be “one of the easiest in human history”. How’s that working out for them around now do you think?

More importantly, how is it working out for you?


This is it



Hi there.

You may have seen a piece this week in the National about the Scottish Independence Convention’s plans to try and help along with the rest of the movement reach our goal of Independence. It was an open letter from the executive committee.

However this is a personal plea from me to all of you.

I, like all of you, am passionate about a better future our country and I believe that the quality of people’s lives would be so much better if we were free from the chaos of Westminster. I also know that the tireless work of so many in the movement has continued from 2014 and it continues to build. The dream of Independence for Scotland has been kept alive by all the various groups who keep working, campaigning and marching. That work has been quite phenomenal at times.

The SIC has also continued to meet and organise as part of that bigger movement too. The last two years have allowed us to contact and include as many of the Indy groups out there as we can, to set up a proper structure in which to operate, initiate much needed research, set up a campaign group and organise two very large conferences and all done with no funding.

Now we’d like your help to get an official campaign up and running to allow us to help organise further.

The SIC is made up of groups from all over the country campaigning for independence. We want to pool our strength to bring together all the best bits of our movement. We’ve set up a crowd-funder ( to raise money for a small staff team to provide media, messaging and strategy support for the grassroots groups. This is not another top down “We’ll tell the movement what to do type” of organisation- I personally wouldn’t support that. This is a small staff team bringing skills and expertise, but more importantly, commitment to the cause, in an office that gives a central focal point of contact across the movement.

At almost every meeting or event I have attended over the past four years I have been bowled over by the self organising and work that is going on across the country. However I am always asked about a central place/organisation/hub that can distribute and communicate what’s going on with all the other groups. That’s what we aim to try and provide. We know there is huge commitment and expertise out there already so I envisage that there will also be many volunteers who will be a big part of the new office structure too.

We don’t know when the next referendum is going to be but we know we need to step up a gear and start this working now. (You can find out more details by reading the open letter at the end of this email.)

Here’s what I’d like to ask you do:- donate to the crowd-funder if you can – tell your friends and family – tweet and post about this on social media – share this email with anyone you think is sympathetic to the cause of independence.

There is a huge task before us and we will only achieve Independence if we work together. We need to listen to the people and convince them of the benefits and have as much of the detail and information that they need to get us well beyond 50%. I don’t doubt for a second that within the movement, and within Scotland, that we have the talent, dedication, intelligence and ability to do just that.

The time is now – this is it!

All the best and thank you,
Elaine C Smith


Please back and share this crowd-funder with everyone who believes in an independent Scotland –

Sauce for the goose

A guest post by Samuel Miller

Been a hectic few weeks out there for political anoraks. Not to mention fairly enlightening for those of us who believe that self determination is the normal state of affairs for countries and individuals.

A Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, (badly) dances onto a stage when most folk are either on their last crust or nerve and promising, not for the first time, an end to austerity (sobs). A leader of the honourable (?) opposition, calling for folks to get all radical and doing some nifty dancing of his own, mainly on the head of a pin. Probably hoping against hope, that no one notices the gaping chasms of ideology and policy within his own party. Seems to me though, that if Mr Corbyn wants radical? Well, you’d think it doesn’t get more radical than the peoples of Scotland choosing their own form of government. One which truly reflects their needs and wishes for a change. Just a thought.

Oh, and both have local branch managers seemingly only too happy to redefine democracy for a population. To, how to put it? Manage your freedom to choose as and when the need arises, or when you might feel it’s necessary. Why? You may ask. In order to maintain a political union? Or… Or preserve the entitlement of the state to define your politics, your identity and your lives for you? The right of the tail to wag the dog. Readers can make their own minds up on that one I’m sure.

Both head office leaders did, however, absolutely paint the perfect picture of UK politics as it is practised. Oh yes. Both of them apparently focused on preserving the right of the few to use politics to abuse the interests of the many in any way shape or form they choose. Both of them intent on preserving a system and a parliament which historically and arguably, doesn’t really do partnership or sharing very well. A practice of politics, system of government and a parliament which you’d think might be aware that its existence is currently, (and some would say deservedly), hanging on a very shoogly peg.

Also safe to say that UKgov’s current woes regarding Brexit, the N.I. border (backstop/no backstop) and party in-fighting won’t have gone unnoticed. Ten MPs holding a party of government to ransom. Who’da thunk? The ironies (and there are a few) shouldn’t be lost on any of us really.

The Scottish government’s and the majority of the Scottish population’s opinion in all of this?

Pretty much ignored really. For now. Not for the first time in recent history though, now is it?

“You know, it seems to me that one of the lasting casualties of Brexit is the notion that the UK is in any sense a partnership of equals.

Our vote to remain in the EU ignored.

The Scottish Government’s compromise plan to stay in the single market dismissed.

Our request for a role in the negotiations cast aside.

A raid on our parliament’s powers. And when the Scottish Parliament said no to that raid, the UK Government could and should have respected that decision.

Instead they took us to court. That’s not partnership. That is Westminster control.

Scotland deserves better.” SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon’s keynote conference speech, October 2018.

I mean, if one demographic within the UK can be considered for exceptional status, then why not yer akchul nation partner? What message is being sent out by UK gov here? (Bit of a rhetorical question really.) Pretty sure Scotland’s population had the odd agreement and assurance from the government of the UK which were meant to be furrivver n’ always too. Ensure stability and warm fuzziness going forward. That kinda thing. In this instance surely what’s sauce for the goose applies? The next few weeks should send popcorn sales through the roof.

I know what I believe politics should be and what I would hope it should aspire to be.

It’s about care. It’s about keeping those in your care safe, helping them to put bread on the table and keeping a roof over their heads. It’s about tending to their hurts. It’s about service and compassion. Not a lot of any of that to be seen in today’s media and an absolute dearth of it anywhere near a Westminster politician. They’re a bit busy stabbing each other in the back playing that game of theirs.

Reading more extreme elements of the press today, you’d be forgiven for thinking that compassion is in fact a very bad word. Suitable only for the more crazed fringe elements of the population. Not, y’know, a mark of decent, reasoning, civilized humanity. Oh, and that’s regardless of your political background or point of origin. The more cynical among you might presume what they’re really about has more to do with political expediency and survival.

When it comes to narratives? You write your own. People are defined not simply by the words they say, but the actions they take and the choices they make. Just so yer average policy wonk is aware? Compassion doesn’t need redefining. It doesn’t belong to a particular rosette, and you don’t require anyone’s permission to have some.


SIC letter to the independence movement

In this letter to the independence movement, the newly elected Executive Committee of the Scottish Independence Convention explain why the move to create a national campaign organisation can get independence consistently beyond 50% in the polls and give Nicola Sturgeon the backing of the majority of the Scottish people when calling for a referendum.

What’s a pro-independence campaign organisation for and what would it do?

The Scottish Independence Convention is a coalition of Scotland’s national pro-independence organisations, the pro-independence political parties and, through the membership of regional forums, of Scotland’s local grassroots pro-independence groups. It is just about to launch a fundraiser to start a national campaign organisation. But what is that organisation for and what would it do?

Be more than the sum of our parts

The independence movement is brilliantly alive with a flurry of grassroots activity all over the country. But sometimes we need to come together as one.

Coordination from a national campaign organisation should be about helping people build on each other’s work, reinforce what each other is doing. It is about providing campaigners with insights and information which can help them be better at what they are already doing. It is about being able to listen to what people say they need – and then giving them it. It is about giving people strategic direction which helps them to focus on what is going to have the biggest impact in the place they live. It is about never being ashamed to say that we all have more to learn, that none of us alone have all the best ideas. That together we can do more than we can individually.

Set the agenda, change the story, get people to look again

The work of the grassroots of the independence movement has been amazing and has kept the momentum going where other campaigns would have just packed up and left – but unless we do a better job of setting the national agenda, changing the story we hear in the media all the time and finding ways to encourage undecided voters to have another look at the case for independence, we will struggle to make the breakthrough we need.

People don’t trust newspapers or television news like they used to – but it is still the media (and social media) which starts most of the conversations most people have about politics. At work, at home, at the school gate, in the pub or the cafe, at the golf club or the sewing bee, on the football terraces or at the gym, most political conversations still open with ‘did you see…’, as in ‘did you see that stuff about how Scotland’s economy is below the UK average’ or ‘did you see that thing about how there’ll be no food after Brexit’. This is not the end of the conversation, but it’s where it starts.

The independence movement needs to be more on the front foot at making our stories the starting point for these conversations, because it is the conversations undecided voters have with each other which is the most important thing. We need to find ways to set the agenda, to change the story and to get people to look at our case again.

So how will a campaign organisation do that?

Get our visual communication right

As you know, in the modern world of social media the way we communicate with people is very often highly visual. The mood you set, the tone it contains, whether it implies authority or down-to-earthness or inspires fear or hope, whether it catches the attention or merges into the background – this can be the difference between being seen or not, being trusted or not, being liked or not. You know instinctively when it works – and you know instinctively when it doesn’t. The SIC has appointed a leading design company to work with the movement and with undecided voters to come up with a name, a design style and a full set of templates and materials to help us get our visual communications right. It will provide local groups and the national organisation with a toolkit to help us reach voters who don’t stop at street stalls, join marches or read political blogs.

Our goal is to help us connect with people who don’t like politics but are ready to look again at the case for independence.

Create a strategy

Sometimes people might worry that ‘strategy’ means central control. It doesn’t – it means looking at all the possible things we could do and working out which ones are most likely to achieve the outcome you want. Sometimes we think we know what motivates other people, but often we’re wrong. People are angry at the injustices of Britain, worried about the chaos of Brexit, afraid of an isolated or insular future. They feel these things, but feeling something doesn’t necessarily make you act. Strategy is about how best to understand people’s feelings and to work out what you can do to convert those feelings into action.

It means doing public attitude research, challenging your own assumptions, coming up with creative ideas, putting together messages and images and stories that make people think again, about initiatives and ‘stunts’ which link people’s worries to a clear case for voting for independence. It is about understanding their fears and finding ways to mitigate them. It is about finding out what it is the undecided or unsure voter needs to be confident to make a different choice this time. It involves hard work and creativity – but it is how campaigns are won.

This campaign organisation will offer this strategic capacity to the grassroots movement across Scotland.

Be better at communication

What you say doesn’t matter – it’s what people hear that matters. People may well feel insecure or worried or disrespected in modern Britain, but that does not mean that shouting ‘Britain is horrible’ at them is enough to make them choose independence.

Clever communication is about telling people stories about their lives which gently move them towards an understanding that this is not as good as it gets, that there is a better future for them. It’s about helping them to understand truths, but without barking statistics at them. It is about capturing their imagination with pictures of what could be. It’s about finding the language that lays bare for them the anger and frustration with the status quo that they already feel. No, the independence movement is never going to have the support or sympathy of the Scottish media. But clever communications tell stories that survive the attacks of our opponents, that live beyond us because people themselves remember the stories and tell those stories to others. It is these stories that change how people think.

With your help the independence side can start setting the terms of the debate.

Always be prepared, never take it lying down

The independence movement is under constant attack from powerful vested interests. Shouting ‘not fair’ is not going to stop them. Our only defence is to be ready for their attacks and to take them head-on with calm, clear, careful thinking. If they shout ‘England is Scotland’s biggest export market’, we need to say ‘look, a decent proportion of that is electricity exports which England definitely needs so don’t kid on you can manage without it’. We need to unpick the slogans they throw at us. We need to research and prepare answers to their allegations. We need to work to build up our own, better stories. We should never be caught on the hop without an answer. Rebuttal is not about saying the other side is lying, rebuttal is about telling an alternative story that is stronger and more persuasive. It’s time to do this.

If successfully funded this campaign organisation will find the best ways to offer rebuttal quickly, clearly and decisively.

Get things done

Campaigning is hard. Setting up events or initiatives or news stories takes time (as our volunteers who also work fulltime jobs know full well). Listening to what people tell you they need means you have to be on the end of a phone, that you have to get out and talk to people. Leaflets don’t print themselves, training doesn’t organise itself, media initiatives don’t just happen. We need people who are paid to dedicate the time into doing these things for and with others. You don’t win campaigns without people dedicated to winning campaigns. We need people whose responsibility it is to get things done. We need a campaign organisation.

The team

Our fundraising campaign is about raising the money to do these things. It is not about repeating the mistakes of the past – paying salaries that are far too high, wasting money on things that don’t matter, being too cloth-eared to the grassroots of the movement. It is about getting our visual communication tools right. It is about having a coordinator to do the work to develop strategy, a media officer pushing stories into the mainstream and social medias, a researcher making sure we have all the answers we need, a support officer to work closely with local organisations to listen to what they need and support them, an admin officer to get things done. We hope to be able to have a team of five people working every day to make Scotland an independent country.

But it can only happen if you support us by giving a donation. Stay tuned for news on this very soon.

With thanks,

The Executive Committee of the Scottish Independence Convention:

Elaine C Smith, Convenor

DaveThompson, Vice-Convenor (Christians for Indy and former MSP)

Rosemary Hunter, Treasurer (Women for Independence)

Mary McCabe

Iain Black (SIC Researcher, Yes Edinburgh North and Leith)

Maggie Chapman (Scottish Greens)

Jonathon Shafi (Radical Independence Campaign)


Stronger than fear

A guest post by Samuel Miller

I’m guessing that over the next few days there’s going to be an awful lot of hot takes on what First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said in her keynote speech yesterday. There’s going to be what she said. What she might have said. What others think she said and what some folks wish she would have said. Also? Fairly sure yer mainstream meeja will be doing their usual level best to bring you all the news that’s fit to wipe your nether regions with.

Me? I’m not going to do any of that. Nope. No siree. Nuh uh! For those of you who missed it though, I’m just going to link you to the actual words spoken and you can make up your own mind. That’s a bit of a theme with me as you’ll have gathered by this point. You come to your own opinions.

You’ll find the text of the speech HERE

Probably worth bearing in mind as you search the usual mainstream suspects for their words of wisdom (cough). The SNP are what? The second largest party of the UK by membership. The third largest party by representation in the HoC and the popularly mandated government of the devolved Scottish parliament.

Let’s see just how much coverage and more importantly, how prominent that coverage will be. After all, we are equal partners.  Aren’t we?

A One-Off Event?

A guest post by Samuel Miller

It appears some folk aren’t happy with them essenpee and their completely unhealthy obsession with that whole silly independence thing. A subject pro Westminster elements of the political class and meeja keep bringing up near every day, but y’know, fair enough. It seems they’ve grown bored with the whole idea. Bored, bored, bored, bored, bored. All of them bored to tears apparently and they’re not considering that a particularly offensive, insensitive and insulting stance to take in any way, shape, or form at all. Oh no. That would be a needlessly divisive thing to do after all and they don’t like divisive things on principle.

That would mean that for all their demands that around half the population respect NO meaning NO, and their right to raise or drop the subject as they see fit? They wouldn’t respect the rights and principles of others when they said YES and meant it, or when they wish to discuss self determination at a time of their choosing. Presumably it would also mean these parties wouldn’t be up for the right of people to change their minds and voice their concerns and opinions publicly as circumstances change. Why that would be downright anti-democratic, and I’m sure such a thought would never occur.

Mind you… When those others, (who aren’t bored at all), do respond with challenge to some political type or meeja pundit raising the whole (say it softly) i********nce subject in the negative, they’re no happy with that challenge either. Some people would be forgiven for thinking it’s a bit of a damned if you do and damned if you don’t conundrum.

Spare a thought for the poor souls at the pointy end of supporting UK politics though readers. They’ve spent over four years creating a narrative and saturating the meeja with essenpee baddery, you know. Almost every day of that period, some policy gonk or commentator has attempted to hold to account (or would that be undermine?) the Scottish government and/or the very idea that full fat self determination for the population of Scotland might be a good thing. That’s a lot of effort and do they get any thanks for it? There’s no damn gratitude in the world today.

Anyroads. It seems a cornerstone of this narrative, (that being ‘no appetite/demand for a referendum’), took  a bit of a dent on Saturday past… yet again. Aye, apparently there was a bit of a partaaaay in Embra where a few folks gathered to let those and such as those know that they have a somewhat different opinion on how things are working out. (Seein’ as how fair sized chunks of yer meeja and what constitutes the political class in the UK won’t represent them and all.) They turned up in their thousands to set the record straight on the whole ‘no demand for’ thing. They turned up to sing and laugh, to shout and cheer and to let the world know… their appetite for democracy is just fine.  That they have a voice of their own thanks and they know how to use it.

Now, I can understand if those folk supportive of the Westminster system of government are a tad concerned at the moment. Not only have their heroes arguably failed to deliver on the pledges and assurances they gave Scotland’s population in 2014. The government du jour have dropped the UK’s international political standing into a cludgie and precipitated the current Brexit catastrophe with, apparently, hardly a thought given to the economic or constitutional fallout. Their actions have endangered the N.I. Good Friday Agreement, the standing devolution settlements and they are also currently taking the Scottish Parliament, (and by extension the chosen representation of the Scottish electorate), to court over the Continuity Bill/power grab stooshie. Describing the outlook as a bit on the bleak side both economically and societally for the populations of the UK on the back of this? Well, I’d say that’s an understatement of epic proportions. What can’t be denied is that all of the above events are concerning for everyone, whatever their political or constitutional affiliation.

Still, if the pro Westminster political class, their meeja chooms and their public support are so confident that there is no appetite for a change of management despite ALL of this? If they believe they’ve done a bang up job of delivering for and winning over, the electorate with their warm friendly message of unity? There is a simple way of finding out. How about, (just for a laugh), imagining that you actually do care about ALL of the population, democracy and so forth? (Yes, even those people who don’t actually, normally, vote for you) How about… asking them directly? Radical concept I know, but given there’s been the odd update in circumstances in the past four years or so? Might be an idea.

Any plebiscite will do really, though I’d guess most would prefer a referendum. Take, IF YOU CAN, party politics out of the equation and all that. All those in favour of Westminster government need do is vote no, if that is their continued preference. If enough of the electorate agree with that? Then you get a second shot at delivering that vision of the UK going forward. That’s thon democracy thing in action by the by.

Hmmm. Unless of course, they feel their management approach has not been all that successful? Surely not?

What cannot be denied, is that there are currently ongoing changes in constitutional and economic circumstances which fly in the face of pledges and assurances made to the population of Scotland in 2014. That much is a matter of public record and a great many people clearly feel it should require an appropriate and democratic response. Might also be the situation that those who made those pledges and assurances answer some pressing questions the population may have concerning the bill of goods they were sold. An understandable attitude given the situation they find themselves in today, you’d think.

For me? I’d say that democracy isn’t a one-off event. The right to choose, to change your mind in the face of mounting evidence and events, isn’t a serving suggestion. It is an inalienable human right. If the winner of a public ballot can’t, or won’t, deliver on the pledges and assurances they made? It might be considered polite of them to explain why this might be the case. It might also be considered appropriate if they accept that the people they made those commitments to and who voted for them in good faith, have the absolute right to choose again.

One more thing and it really shouldn’t need saying, but to even suggest denying people that right, or that principle? That’s not a good look.

Worth a thought.

Clap along if you feel like you’re in a land with unlimited potential

A couple of years ago, an annoyingly chirpy song called Happy was never off the radio. One of its lyrics irked me, “Clap along if you feel like a room without a roof.” But I get it now. It means that your potential is no longer being capped. It means that above you there is no ceiling to keep you down, there’s only the sky and you can reach for it. That’s where the independence movement is just now, in a room without a roof. Clap along.

Yesterday’s massive march in Edinburgh and today’s huge attendance at the SNP conference in Glasgow demonstrate that there is an equally huge appetite in this country of ours to reach to the sky and grasp our potential. Compare and contrast the packed halls of the SNP conference with the half empty low ceilinged rooms of the Conservative conference last week. Compare and contrast the tens of thousands of marchers in Edinburgh reaching for the stars with the giggling gaggle of manky shirtit fearmongers. Compare and contrast the vision and dreams and poetry of an independence movement which looks forward to the future, with the pursed lipped resentment of a British nationalism that’s trapped in an imaginary past. Clap along if you feel that you’re on the right side of history.

The independence movement is far stronger than it was when the first independence referendum was called. The Scotland that first tentatively began to discuss the idea of independence back in 2012 seems like a different country now, because it was. Back in 2012 opponents of independence could credibly pretend that Scotland was a partner in a Union. That lie has been exposed. Back in 2012 the idea of independence was still regarded by many as a marginal notion that had no place in the mainstream of Scottish politics, and the goal of opponents of independence was to make sure it stayed that way. In 2018 no one can pretend that independence is not a serious option for this country, especially not those who are most opposed to it. Clap along if you feel like the winning arguments are ours.

But most importantly of all, back in 2012 we were just starting to learn how to do this, how to campaign for our country’s future. We were taking baby steps, now we’re running. The people of Scotland are now amongst the most politically engaged and informed of any country in the world. This country is filled with people who are experienced campaigners. All over Scotland, in every corner of the country, there are local groups and organisations making the case for independence in their own communities. We have a grassroots organisation and strength that opponents of independence can only look upon enviously and snark about from the safety of their Twitter bubble. They’re stuck on social media. We have the streets. We have the future. Clap along if you feel like we’re living in the real world where independence is normal.

In the papers there is still discussion about whether Nicola Sturgeon will be “allowed” to have a vote on Scotland’s future, and the consensus is that she won’t be. Either Scotland is in a Union, in which case it shouldn’t require anyone’s permission in order to decide its own future, or it’s a part of a unitary state and Westminster calls the shots irrespective of what the people of Scotland want. Opponents of independence can’t have it both ways. The sad reality for them is that Scotland doesn’t need anyone’s permission to have a vote on its future. Any election in this country can be transformed into an effective referendum on independence. This is not Spain. There is no constitutional bar against a plebiscite election. There is no constitutional bar against the Scottish parliament holding a consultative referendum without anyone’s permission. Clap along if you feel like you have a voice and you’re not afraid to use it.

The signs are that when Scotland does have its Scottish People’s Vote, that this country will vote to rejoin the community of independent nations. Even before any official campaign has been announced, support for independence is higher than it was in 2014, and that support becomes a majority in the event of a no-deal Brexit, and 50/50 in the event of Brexit. And that’s before the legion of experienced and enthused independence groups have even really got started. No wonder the British nationalists are so determined to prevent a vote happening. They’re terrified about the result, and rightly so. Because they’re going to lose. Clap along if you feel like a country with an open sky. Because we’re happy.

The biggest difference between the independence movement and British nationalism is that we have a monopoly on joy. When was the last time you saw an opponent of independence painting a joyful and happy picture of the great future that awaits Scotland as a part of the UK. When was the last time that you saw an opponent of independence detail all the heights and achievements that Scotland can attain as a subordinate part of a UK, governed by a Westminster that scarcely notices its existence. You never see these things, because committed opponents of independence are defined by fear, by can’t, by their low ceiling, by no. It’s the independence movement which looks up. It’s the independence movement which looks forward. It’s the independence movement which anticipates and aspires. They have fear, but we have joy. And that’s why we’re going to win. Clap along if you feel like you can laugh in the face of the scaremongers.

This is going to be my last blog post for a few weeks. I’m off to celebrate a real union while I anticipate the fall of the fake British one. Sam (Macart) will look after you in my absence. I’m off to get married in the USA to Peter, my partner of the past three years. A couple of days after the wedding in Portland Maine, we’re travelling back to Scotland along with his father and stepmother on the 28th of October, and it will be the first time that Henry and Francine will have visited Scotland. We’re having a second Scottish wedding reception in Glasgow on 2 November, a proper Scottish ceilidh. Normal blogging service will be resumed on 5 November. The plan is, in case you were wondering, for my new husband to come and live here in Scotland. That is most likely to happen next year.

So I’m happy. The future holds so much hope and so much potential on a personal level as well as for Scotland. The past belongs to the pursed lipped North Britons hidebound by fear and negativity, the future belongs to happy Scots, old Scots, new Scots, born Scots, adopted Scots, Scots by birth, and Scots by choice. Clap along if you feel that we live in a land whose potential is limited only by our imaginations. Watch while we dream the infinite. We’re on our way.

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