The Yes case was launched in the 1930s.
Actually, it’s been around since the deeply unpopular Act of Union of 1707 itself. Daniel Defoe, working as a spy for London in Edinburgh at the time, reported that to his paymasters in London that “for every Scot in favour of union, a hundred are against”. When it was announced, the bells of St Giles played “Why should I be sad on my Wedding Day”.
And the case is as strong now as it was then. So, spare me. This – a new case – is neither a new case nor news.
What the growing numbers of us who crave the normality of self-determination need to hear is: “date announced for independence campaign as manifestly promised”. No more jam tomorrow. No more consultations. It’s either a good idea or it isn’t, and Scotland cannot afford to wait a second longer. Given that the quickest way out of the multiple problems we face is for Scotland to have all the powers available to her to address them then the fact that we aren’t demanding these with immediate effect is perplexing, demeaning and, the longer it goes on, deeply damaging to our economy, our psyche, and our democracy – witness the undermining of the devolution settlement post-Brexit – and our recovery from the various crises that have been foisted on us by people who patronise us on the rare occasions they bother with us at all.
I’m done. Im out. I’m scunnered with it.
As the late great William McIlvanney liked to say, Scotland is a proudly mongrel nation. The best people to run our affairs are the people, wherever they hail from, who live here now – not a political class we’ve rejected since 1955 and yet who continue to impose policies we despise whilst undermining the limited franchise we have. While we desperately need radical thinking for a better Scotland: independence as the chief enabler of it? That’s not radical in the slightest. Not remotely. That’s normal and that’s aye been true. But given where we are, it isn’t independence or recovery. It’s independence for recovery. It’s a truth hiding in plain sight and today we need to see a blueprint that reflects the ideals of people who have fought for the rebirth of a modern, progressive, truly democratic Scotland all their lives. People who have done so much more than I have. Otherwise, what has it all been for?
Last week, I climbed Ben Bhraggie in Golspie to stand by the saltires laid next to the statue of the “Mannie”. At the bottom of the hill, a lovely woman had an art exhibition featuring painted slates representing the ongoing campaign for Scotland’s full expression of democracy. One stone, featuring the names of people who had passed away since 2014, was particularly poignant. It’s a growing list, and one I don’t particularly wish to join. Yet it’s later than you think, and it ought to create an urgency that today’s announcement really needs to reflect.
Let Scotland be Scotland. And I’ll meet you further on up the road.