From all over the country, from all walks of life, from all generations and from all progressive political parties and none over one hundred thousand ordinary Scots will do that extraordinary thing in the name of their children, their communities, their place of birth or choice of home – they will assemble in Glasgow and march for independence.
They will answer the call of the grassroots independence campaign All Under One Banner (AUOB) and display for the whole world to see their rejection of more wars, more intolerance, more hate, more inequality and more rank hypocrisy and corruption oozing from the rancid pores of broken Westminster.
What was confirmed beyond any doubt on December 12th last year is Boris Johnson’s rabid right-wing Tories have no mandate to govern Scotland while the mandate to hold a second independence referendum is real, democratic and confirmed four times over.
IndyRef2 Mandate is real and Democratic – Johnson has No Mandate
It was first won by the SNP in Scotland’s 2016 general election, subsequently agreed by Scotland’s democratically elected parliament, re-confirmed by the SNP’s victory in Scotland at the UK 2017 General Election and re-secured with a resounding victory less than four weeks ago. England spoke on December 12th and sadly the words were from the songbook of the nasty, the racist and the chauvinistic nationalist. Boris Johnson’s victory was for reactionary and intolerant English nationalists.
The politics of Johnson and his motley millionaire crew are distinctly narrow- minded, ignorant, anti-immigrant and compassionless. They care not a jot about the terrible pain and suffering their austerity policies have caused. The list of casualties includes the 14 million living in poverty, the four million children within that number with reduced life prospects and opportunities. The 130,000 premature deaths as a result of their cruel and callous welfare policies designed to trim budgets to afford more tax cuts for the rich than to look after the disabled, the ill and the needy. The millions in employment who can barely survive on inadequate wages and forced to live in shoddy accommodation and rely on food bank vouchers.
Only the heartless could have voted Tory under such a disreputable liar as Boris Johnson. Sadly 25% of Scottish voters committed that heinous act and I have nothing but contempt for each and every one of them but 75% of Scots rejected them and hundreds of thousands who rejected the chance to become an independent nation once again in 2014 have now changed their minds.
Nightmare Scenarios of 2014 have Sadly Materialised
During the 2014 independence referendum campaign, politicians like Nicola Sturgeon were ridiculed and condemned as fear mongers because they raised the prospect of Scotland being dragged out the EU against its will and ending up with a Tory government led by Boris Johnson. Nonsense, the choir of unionists replied. Well, that nonsense is now a reality and every Scot has to make up their mind where their future now lies.
The EU is not a towering inferno of justice and equality in my eyes. It is a big bosses club which looks after the interests of capital and the unfair free-market system first, last and always. Many who are passionate advocates for Scottish independence also reject the EU like me, up to a third in many polls. However, 62% of Scots voted to stay in that EU and now will bear witness to their views and wishes being trampled on and ignored as Johnson races towards his January 31st departure date. Frankly many in England made Brexit an issue of principle. In effect, it was their vote for independence. While many intentions may be questionable the expectation that the Brexit vote of 2016 be respected was inviolable. Many of the two million Labour voters in 2017 who had no problem with his radical political manifesto couldn’t handle his party’s political chicanery in terms of honouring the 2016 vote and the 2017 Labour manifesto commitment.
I can live with an independent Scotland within the EU because I know I will have the democratic right to campaign for a withdrawal referendum after independence. I may lose that vote but I will be relaxed about it as long as Scotland takes that decision for herself, not England. Similarly, I want to get rid of the monarchy, and NATO and private ownership of oil, gas and electricity generation. Whether I and like-minded souls win those arguments remain to be seen but as long as they are decided democratically by an independent Scotland we will cope.
Scotland is Distinctly Different to England
Scotland’s political distinctiveness was reinforced categorically on December 12th. We as a nation are not inherently any better than anyone else but we have a communitarian core, a world outlook marked by compassion and fraternalism. We have no desire to go to war with any other nation. We don’t support unilateral extra-judicial assassinations like that ordered by Trump in Iraq last Friday. We opposed the illegal war in Iraq. We opposed bombing Libya and Syria. We oppose nuclear weapons. We are a country of immigrants, a ‘mongrel nation’ as the late and celebrated Scottish author William McIlvaney once famously described us. Perhaps that explains our more humane attitude and policies in relation to immigration and asylum seekers.
The Scottish independence movement is a rainbow alliance of well over a million with different dreams and aspirations for our country once we regain our independence but it is above all else a progressive movement. A progressive movement which embodies the fine values of equality, fraternity, peace and international cooperation. We hate no one, especially not the English. We hate the institution of Westminster and the inherited privilege and abuse of power it represents but not the English or the Welsh people. They will be our friendly neighbours one our freedom is regained.
Our Hopes and Dreams Can Only Be Realised If We Fight to be Heard
However all our individual and collective dreams, hopes and aspirations will amount to nothing if we don’t act to break away from a British union which is long past its sell-by date and was never agreed to by the people of Scotland in the first place. The 1707 Act of Union which removed our independence was an act of treachery carried out by the rich and landed Barons of the day behind the backs of the ordinary Scots. That it has lasted this long is perhaps a badge of national dishonour but its days are truly numbered.
The elected First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has written to Boris Johnson seeking a Section 30 Order to permit the organising of a binding independence referendum this year. She holds a mandate four times confirmed for that referendum. Faced with the Scotland Act 0f 1998 and the severe restrictions on Scotland’s freedom within it we as a nation are permitted to decide the legal size of domestic hedges and the appropriate punishment for dogs fouling our streets but not to hold a referendum to decide our very future.
Power Over Dog Poo But Not Our Constitutional Status
Yet the right to determine our constitutional status is not a right we have ever consensually relinquished. It is indeed an internationally recognised human right. Scotland voted NO to independence in 2014 by a 55% to 45% majority but since then four separate and democratic elections, in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2019, all gave electoral victories to the party of independence, and in the latter three with an explicit commitment to hold IndyRef2. Democracy is not an event it is a process. The process of democracy involves elections and the inherent right of people to change their minds but often it also requires more expressions of will and intent. That’s why Saturday’s march and rally is so vital.
The inspiring revolutionary socialist and anti-war activist Rosa Luxemburg was executed for her anti-imperialism and advocacy of worker’s rights on January 15th 1919. Her courage and bravery inspired millions across the world to fight for greater rights and freedoms after World War I. She regularly reminded the masses of a truism entirely applicable now to us here in Scotland with a belief that another and a better world is possible:
“Those who do not move do not notice their chains”.
We have noticed our chains. We are moving. We are marching. We are organising and we are demanding that the political leadership of the independence movement stay true to their commitment and organise IndyRef2 this year.
The SNP won 48 of Scotland’s 59 seats to Westminster with 45% of all the votes cast in Scotland on December 12th but over 18% voted for a party, Labour, who said they accepted it was Scotland’s right to decide when the next independence referendum is held. That means almost 65% of Scots accept it is up to Scotland not Westminster to decide when our next referendum takes place. The SNP must, therefore, inform Westminster of our intention to exercise our democratic right to hold IndyRef2 in September or October this year not ask for permission from a party without democratic legitimacy in our nation. Come along on Saturday at 11.30 am at Kelvingrove Park. Wear warm clothes, bring your banners and flags and march with a steely determination to win.
No Fear, Only Hope.