The 2016 Scottish Parliament Elections are creeping up fast, and, thanks to the considerate planning of the leader of the Bullingdon Club Sus-Scrofa Domesticus Appreciation Society (or Oink) as they like to be affectionately known, so is the Referendum to decide whether the UK remains a member state of the European Union.
Possibly significant for the cause of Scottish Independence was the notable news from this year’s Radical Independence Campaign Conference yesterday that the Commonweal’s Robin McAlpine has let it be known that conversations are taking place amongst key active players with a view to getting the positive and powerful non-party aligned juggernaut, which was the Yes Campaign, back on the road again. Get it done, and get it done now please.
The more professional, co-ordinated and consistent an approach to producing a positive vision for the future of Scotland we can achieve the better as far as I’m concerned. A long-term staffed, skilled and highly motivated Yes team could do this effectively.
There are some obvious advantages to this approach. This time we’d be starting a campaign with a much higher level of support and understanding of the key issues than previously, and the Scottish public are more clued up about the dark arts of Project Fear than they were before, although clear channels to communicate responses countering the dreadful guff and anti-Indy propaganda produced on a wider basis need to be established, well funded and protected.
A new Yes Campaign can continuously positively reinforce the message of the benefits of self-determination over an extended period. This could be crucial.
We, who are committed to change, know that the idea of citizens of a country running their own affairs is considered normal behaviour for almost all of the rest of the planet, however that message needs to be fully absorbed and accepted by other Scots if confidence is to be built towards a majority in favour of Independence at a future referendum. The impact of three hundred years of being told Scotland is too wee and too poor won’t be reversed overnight. Self reliance needs to become a viable norm.
In terms of party alignment It doesn’t matter if you are SNP, Green, RISE or whatever you are (the Unionists crave division in the Indy Movement) as long as your goal is a Scotland whose people make the decisions about who governs their country, and the priorities those future governments should concentrate on to benefit Scots, not the London based British state establishment.
Thankfully the whole issue of tactical voting in the Scottish Elections, which is somewhat divisive at the moment,will be behind us in a few months. Everyone can then get back to the real goal, and reinforced by the predicted upcoming Indy successes in May we can get moving again.
There is no other feasible way to achieve an Independent Scotland democratically than convincing the doubters. UDI is a nonstarter on many levels. We must convince a significant number of former No voters about the economic, social, educational, health, employment, renewable energy and innovation benefits of self government.
We must educate where we can, we cannot patronise. We cannot force an opinion on someone else. This is the challenge we must overcome.
We must listen, we must understand doubts and fears. We must overcome feelings of uncertainty. We can’t shy away from the hard questions. The Unionist counter to a positive outlook on change is to continually raise uncertainty and seek considerable details around any change. This is clearly not possible, and those we seek to convince need to be made aware of how the processes to facilitate change would work (negotiations, transitional arrangement processes, debate, canvassing opinions).
We must ensure that we benefit from the massive advantage the original Yes Campaign of 2014 gained, its POSITIVITY. Never be negative, never lower yourself to the level of the extremist end of the other side. We will never convince anyone to our viewpoint by insulting them. Don’t give them ammunition. Don’t hate anyone, don’t blame anyone who voted No. Blame the establishment powers who did everything they possibly could to ensure that Scotland remains chained to the Union.
We must accept that a modern democratic Scotland includes hard-line unionists who will never change their view in any circumstances. There are also many thousands of “Proudscotbuts”. They are Scottish too and are entitled to their opinion, accept this, recognise them as they come onto your radar, waste no further energy, and move on.
Love bomb if you have to. Be patient. We only have the opportunity to convince those of an open mind. Don’t look back, unless to add context to a discussion. Look forward, set out a vision. It is clear that if the facts on both sides of the Independence debate had been fairly communicated to the voters last year, without the spin and overwhelming scare tactics, allowing the people of Scotland to make their minds up in an informed manner, we would be celebrating today and looking forward to a huge party on the 24th of next month.
We need to tailor our points of discussion to our own style and get comfortable with our responses to questions. If you don’t know the answer, find out and come back with the facts. There is a plethora of supporting factual information out there for you to use. Don’t bullshit!
One request please Scottish Government. Please get your head round the currency issue. We must never again be left in a situation where a proposal for a major change relating to Independence relies on the other side playing fair with us. They won’t. Give us, as grassroots campaigners. a clear steer on a self-reliant policy on currency and we’ll run with it for you.
Organise! If you haven’t already join an existing group, or form one. Join Women for Independence, RIC, The Common Weal, The SNP, The SSP, The Scottish Greens, RISE. There are a number of such groups. Form your own Yes group (More than 2 people is a group).
Take the Independence message to your street, your block, your scheme or estate, your village, your town. Keep it as close and connected to a local issue as possible. Involve yourself voluntarily in community works on behalf of the Independence movement.
Identify the many gaps and needs in the services your community requires, that are not provided (no matter how small) and utilise the talents and expertise of your group to work towards filling that gap, whether it be for a few hours a week, or for as much as you want to commit to. There will be complications, there will be red tape. That is detail, and can be worked around, solutions can be found.
Work towards Scotland, through social change, becoming materially and obviously a completely different country to the remaining UK. We are on divergent routes at the moment, help speed it up. Instead of civil disobedience employ a form of civic transformation. The establishment can’t lock you up or shut you up for being nice people! (Give the Tories time).
If we have no other means to persuade others of the benefits we must demonstrate by our actions and deeds the potential positives that Independence will bring.
Continue to utilise social media to its best advantage to get our message across but don’t solely rely on this as your contribution to the continuing transformation of Scotland. Actions are better than keystrokes! It is important too that this time we do not spend too much time communicating amongst ourselves and not enough time talking to the people we need to engage.
We need to support each other! Infighting leads to division and negativity. There are many branches to the Yes Movement, all with their own individual views and standpoints, but all have the one overwhelming desire, an Independent Scotland.
The thousands of Grassroots activists are essentially the key to the door when it comes to the degree of political change required and determining the pace at which it is achieved to make the leap forward to self-government.
This unstoppable positive force along with the continuing destructive work of the Westminster Government will ensure that the desperately disappointing feelings we all experienced on 18 September 2014 will not be repeated next time. We’ve learned a lot since then, and we will be ready!
On to the Scottish Parliament Elections. Unionists out! One more step on the road.