Like the oppressed crowd in the stadium in occupied France during WW2 in the early 1980’s Michael Caine football flick that gets a TV schedule spot every festive season, featuring the magnificent Pele, Rocky Balboa and John Wark’s dubbed over Scottish accent, “Escape to Victory”, depicted defiantly singing ‘La Marseillaise’, those who inhabit the SNP benches at Westminster can clearly hold an insolent tune in anyone’s company. This was ably demonstrated during their unscheduled rendition of “Ode to Joy”, the anthem of the European Union, in parliament yesterday.
Rebuked once again by the stuttering deputy speaker, an individual who seems entirely uncomfortable in his position, who feared such dulcet harmony would result in a musical sing-off with those who occupy other benches (we can only speculate what the hard-right Tories and their compliant friends directly opposite would inflict on the listening public as tunes to build a “global’ UK by) the members for Scotland held their ground as Brexit EU withdrawal plans moved up another notch.
The Brexit Bill is now heading for the scrutiny of a chamber full of semi-dozing obscenely rich octogenarians, Lord Darling of somewhere or other, and that woman who threatened to leave if Scotland became independent, then did anyway.
Following an epic list over the last two and a half years of failed promises, vows, hints at consultation, statements of intent to respect views, and overtures and suggestions of the formation of an EU strategy to suit all members of the great partnership of Union, all with as much substance or basis in fact as a Trump Tweet about Icelandic donkey pirates, the big Scottish checklist of reasonableness and patience has every tick box well and truly ticked. If over the course of the upcoming Indy 2 campaign we cannot convince a majority of our fellow Scots that Scotland will be better as a self-governing country I don’t think we ever will.
The prospect of a hard Brexit and an increasingly right-wing government in London now means the shoe is firmly on the other foot this time. The worrying doubts about the future are of a unionist making. The cards are stacked in our favour. We just have to play them right.
Those who will achieve independence for Scotland, the grassroots chappers-of-doors, will have a crucial part to play. To do their work successfully they will need the support of clear, well researched, plain language material on what currency Scotland as an independent country will use, pensions and transitional arrangements, the likely impacts of leaving the European Union, and the positive case for Scotland to govern itself. If that stuff isn’t ready yet, and stacked up ready for distribution. it needs to be done pronto. The work of the panel of experts on Brexit that the First Minister appointed and consults should be fed into that process too.
Learning from the past, this time an Indy-centric media team needs to be created and resourced on the back of a Yes 2 Campaign, to concentrate on rebutting Project Fearty claims, issuing timely responses to the scurrilous nonsense that again will come at us like a wave on a daily basis. Part of this team’s role should also be to turn the spotlight in the other direction. Getting in about the representatives of union, posing the difficult questions about the future of the UK, and the uncertainty of life without the trading bloc of 500 million people which is the EU, and questioning the nature of Westminster’s burgeoning relationship with extreme right wing nationalism at home, and in partnership with others abroad, particularly the Prime Minister’s new bestie.
It is time too to drop all of the self-destructive stuff that floats around the edges of the movement for independence in Scotland, and put it firmly in the past. Insulting Scots who voted No in 2014 isn’t the way to win them over, and does us harm, making the job harder. Let the fringe shouters be easily identified with, and unmistakably, on the unionist side of the fence. Let the trolls rant and howl at the moon. We are better than that. We are much better than that.
Much has been written about the results of a poll out at the moment which suggests things are moving in the right direction. However there is only one poll that matters, on the designated day not yet identified. A lot of water will flow under the bridge before that day, and we can only give it away. The union is in tatters, and it’s only going to get worse. Scotland will be an independent country.