Covid19 Compels Us to Fight Harder for Independence not Postpone it

The unionists defending the UK are yesterday’s people. The tide of history is now sweeping in one unstoppable direction and that is towards self-determination for Scotland, Ireland, and Wales.

A week ago, I was invited by RT to comment on the campaign for a second Scottish independence referendum amid screams of outrage by assorted unionists that pressing ahead with plans for independence during the Covid19 pandemic was outrageous and irresponsible. I shared the panel with socialist MP George Galloway who suggested rebuilding Scotland after Covid19 and protecting jobs was much more important than independence. I highlighted that rebuilding Scotland, tackling poverty pay, protecting our NHS, lifting children out of poverty in Scotland were indeed the priorities but none of those aims are realistic while Scotland remains chained to the Westminster system of greed, privilege, inequality, and corruption. For Westminster represents the millionaires, not the millions and that is why independence is both necessary and urgent.

In the face of four separate national election victories for the party of Scottish independence since 2014, a European election victory and scores of council election triumphs on top of an incredible nineteen successive opinion polls, risen to twenty two days ago, indicating a clear majority of Scots now support independence I labelled those who wish to prevent a second independence referendum as ‘democracy deniers’ akin to the Trumpites in America who refuse to accept the result of an election.

The Unionists Are Yesterday’s People

Almost 80% of under 24-year-olds support Scottish independence and 70% of under 35 year olds. The older citizens who combined to vote down independence in 2014 are now less opposed to such change in the face of a right-wing British nationalist government under bungling and dishonest Boris. They realise that the unionist promises of continued EU membership, shipbuilding orders, renewed economic stability and significantly increased fiscal powers for the Scottish Parliament were simply false promises, lies wrapped up in an emergency Vow, cobbled together to save the union but without integrity or credibility.

Boris Johnson Not EU Membership is Biggest Factor in Independence Rise

It is worthy of serious note that the single biggest factor driving more and more Scots towards independence is not the prospect of returning to the EU but Boris Johnson himself as he embodies the selfish, greedy, untrustworthy, incompetent and uncaring Tory philosophy which Scotland has electorally rejected in decisive numbers since 1955. For over sixty-five years Scotland has voted against the Tories but ended up being governed by them regardless for forty-five years during this period just because England voted Tory. In December 2019 Scotland wholeheartedly rejected Johnson’s Little Britain agenda wrapped in the Union Jack of arrogant chauvinism but England bought it. Unionists are welcome to that poisoned chalice of intolerance and hate but Scotland wants none of it.

The Labour shamefaced alliance with the Tory unionists returned with a vengeance only two days ago when it was revealed former New Labour chancellor Gordon Brown is to join up with rabid right wing Tory Michael Gove to plot a strategy to defend the British Union. Are these characters wholly bereft of principles and brain cells? Not only is Gordon Brown a tarnished and diminished politician on the back of his false Vow promises in 2014 but the alliance with the Tories in the Better Together campaign in 2014 saw Labour electorally annihilated in 2015 in Scotland when their number of MPs was reduced from 41 to only 1. They have never recovered. In 2019 they won only one Westminster seat in Scotland. They are doomed if they continue such an unholy alliance.

The unionist panic is epitomised by the developments in the last couple of days. Tired and tarnished Brown is wheeled out despite the fact his influence in Scotland is less than negligible while in the face of opinion polls showing Johnson is the biggest single recruiting sergeant for Scottish independence, he is breaching all the Covid19 travel restriction rules to visit Scotland this week for a speaking tour designed to shore up the British Union. Whoever is devising the Save The Union strategy right now I applaud you. Keep up the good work.

Johnson Visiting Scotland Won’t Improve Support for His British Union

In one single act of stupidity Johnson is undermining the already weak unionist argument that Covid19 is the only priority and all other issues should be side-lined. Not only is he dragging the whole independence argument right into the forefront, he is prepared to flout Covid19 restrictions the rest of us are sticking with to do so. What an arrogant and stupid sod.

Second in the list of issues driving Scots to the cause of independence is Johnson’s shambolic handling of Covid19. He and his government have been exposed as callous Conservatives who were too focused on the economy to prioritise caring for the population, so their response was slow, their lockdowns confused, their test, track, and trace system a privatised disaster and their mixed messages life threatening.

Over 100,000 UK citizens have now lost their lives to Covid19 and Johnson and his Tory government are responsible for that shocking number making the UK amongst the worst in the world. While countries like New Zealand are hosting rock concerts without restrictions because they are now Covid19 free Britain is only now considering border checks which tackle the very real travel-related spread of the virus.

As of yesterday, the cumulative ten-month Covid19 death toll in Australia was 909, Thailand 73 and New Zealand 25. The UK total was 97,939. Tory Ministers daily take to the airwaves to blame everyone and everything but themselves. They fail to accept what is increasingly obvious to most Scots. They are to blame for the record death toll and horrendous grief combined with the economic uncertainty and educational upset. Indecision borne from lack of care and compassion has resulted in a serious health challenge becoming a disaster for millions and their record during this challenge has been woeful on many fronts.

The praise being showered on the vaccination efforts is justified but the critical factor here compared to the test, track, and trace farce is not being highlighted enough. The vaccination effort is being managed and coordinated by the publicly owned NHS, not outsourced to a collection of private firms’ intent on making money not protecting people. That is why it is successful.

Covid19 Mishandling Has Undermined Support for the UK

Yet in the face of one of the worst death tolls in the world, a shambolic series of responses to the Covid19 pandemic and regular bungling and incompetence at the highest levels of the Tory government, a Westminster voting intentions poll published yesterday by ‘Britain Elects’ places the Tories ahead on 42%, five points ahead of Starmer’s New Tory Labour party and two percentage points higher than last months’ poll. Labour is down a percentage point.

This one poll illustrates all that is wrong with the unionist bleats from the likes of Galloway, Brown, Sarwar, Starmer and the rest of the non-Tory ‘democracy deniers’. The choice facing Scotland is starker than ever. Four more years under the iron heel of Johnson, Gove, Hancock et al punting their neo-liberal economic tripe which underfunds public services and forces more and more workers into poverty pay and insecure employment contracts – or an independent Scotland based on a radically different set of values and principles.

The political consensus in Scotland is different from England. We are more committed to properly funded public services. We reject the immoral and illegal nuclear weapon arsenal stored in our waters by Westminster. We believe in trade union rights and proper pay for workers. We are welcoming to those from other countries who seek to come and live and work amongst us. We are implicitly anti-Tory. The Covid19 pandemic has not caused poverty, inequality, and under-funding of public services. On the contrary it has highlighted and accentuated poverty, inequality, and under-funding of public services.

The desire to break free from the UK and build something better in Scotland has reached fever pitch reflected in the twenty successive polls of support for independence but the dissatisfaction with the UK has spread to the North of Ireland and Wales. Support for re-unification of Ireland is at record levels and running neck and neck with those who support the Union with a clear majority now in support of a re-unification poll within five years. While support for Wales breaking from the UK is now at one in three, a record level.

May Election Must be The Independence Election

Faced with such support for independence on the one hand and disarray within the unionist camp on the other it would be politically criminal for the SNP not to drive home the independence message and secure Scotland’s freedom as quickly as possible. An eleven point plan was published by them the other day but although trailed as a road map to independence, it is in reality only a road map, a contorted and bumpy one, to another independence referendum. It does not rise to the challenge of today or the opportunity to exploit unionist weakness and failures. The Scottish people were taken into a union with England without their consent in 1707. There was no democratic content to that decision. However, it was a voluntarily union, not a forced marriage with contracts of retention built in. The Scottish people retained sovereignty and that sovereignty means we must never accept a Westminster or Boris veto over our right to self-determination.

Ballot boxes are the accepted language of democracy across the world. Whether they collect election votes or referendum votes. In May Scotland has a perfect opportunity to escape the crippling chains of Westminster that prevent us from building a truly better, fairer, more productive, and peaceful nation. That opportunity is the Scottish election. It must be the Independence election.

The SNP and all parties who support independence must put independence front and centre of their manifestos. They should appeal to those who support independence but traditionally vote for other parties, to suspend their loyalties for this one election and deliver the necessary mandate for Scotland to declare her freedom and seek international recognition of her new independent status. A defined twelve-month negotiation on our UK withdrawal plan must then be announced and the final agreement put to a confirmatory referendum for the Scottish people to decide. That is democracy and that is what the unionist democracy deniers fear.

Over to you SNP. Make May’s election the Independence Election and if we collectively secure victory for the independence supporting parties with over 50% of the votes cast have the courage to announce our independence and begin the withdrawal negotiations. The international community will recognise our new status built on such a rock-solid democratic basis. Let’s go for it. Strike while the independence iron is hot.

This article holds the views of the author and not neccessarily the views of Solidarity as a party
Posted in Articles, Tommy Sheridan's Columns.

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