The announcement yesterday a wee bit earlier than many expected, the proposed timescale a wee bit less hurried than some worried about, and eminently sensible in its construction, aiming to be timed to allow the people of Scotland the ability to be fully aware of the facts, when they emerge, with regards to the upcoming UK and EU Brexit negotiations, and the implications for Scotland, prior to putting their minds to the question of sovereignty.
A well-considered and masterful early move by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon in what will be a long strategic duel between those determined to maintain the Union, no matter the cost, and those in Scotland committed to self determination and saving the people of Scotland, and our EU resident friends, from an economic and social train wreck.
In the immediate aftermath of yesterday’s announcement, and following a celebratory dram of Talisker, kept for a special occasion, I noticed that the deep rumbling sound of the grassroots Yes Movement is becoming audible very quickly. Mobilisation is indeed afoot.
Women for Indy, Radical Independence, The Scottish Independence Convention, Business for Scotland, Labour for Indy, Common Weal, and others are gearing up, and ready to rock. Organisations for progressive change with an array of talented and articulate smart cookies committed to independence.
The SNP, The Scottish Greens, The SSP and RISE are not going to win this referendum. You are, the hundreds of thousands of canvassers, advocates for Yes, stall workers, organisers, bloggers,speakers at events, positive models of behaviour, being respectful, displaying empathy, listening to concerns, providing factual information about what independence actually means, setting out what an independent Scotland will look like. You will win it.
Personally, considering the last campaign, and looking ahead to what’s coming, I’m planning a few changes in my approach to ScotRef, for two reasons, one to maximise the time I have available to try and assist and hopefully, like the rest of us, convert one or two to Yes, my very small contribution to achieving an independent Scotland, and two, for the good of my health and my blood pressure.
The tired cliches of Project Fear will trouble me no more. The disrespectful and marginalising deliberate media portrayal of around 50% of Scots, soon to be more once we get at them, as somehow a cult, that it’s the SNP’s referendum, that it’s all Nicola Sturgeon’s idea, that she’s secretly in the pocket of their arch-enemy Alex Salmond, all of that nonsense will mean not a fecking jot, this time. We’ve heard it. They said all of that the last time. They didn’t deliver on promises to pliable voters, and now they’ve really got themselves in the shyte.
In fact I would go as far as to advocate that as a movement we don’t engage with the mainstream Project Fearty line at all, as much as they’ll try and provoke a response. We should step away from them, let them howl at the moon, and report their wildly inaccurate nonsense to their targeted audience of undecided voters, and when they do we then confidently, respectfully and positively target the same audience with clear factual information setting out the real story. Let the offical Yes Scotland 2, or whatever they’ll be called, set up a rebuttal unit to counter on a timely daily basis the media bollox, no, the Loch Ness monster is not leaving for the Lake District, that sort of stuff, let them handle that, us on the ground, we’ll concentrate on the people who count, our fellow Scots.
Another thing I’m definitely not doing this time is getting hung up on lengthy discussions with ardent ProudScotbut’s. During the last campaign I spent hours tapping the keyboard in games of ‘that’s him telt’ with two or three people who would never under any circumstances have voted Yes. Why did I waste so much time? Numpty. This time the pride of unionists will be getting bypassed, and I’ll be moving on to conversations with more genuine undecideds.Telling one from the other can be problematic at times but we’ll get there. There’s no point wasting time on convinced dyed in the wool red, white and blue unionists.
Although it was something I hope I wasn’t too guilty of personally, there was one occasion, whilst a tad over-refreshed, around 19th September 2014, when I definitely let myself down publicly on the subject of the words to ‘Flower of Scotland’ and the voting preferences of some of our fellow Scots at that time, I won’t be abusing any of my country-folk for having the opposite view tae me, even if goaded. It’s a real democracy we’re trying to achieve, we’re all entitled to our opinions, I’ll be respectfully agreeing to disagree, and moving on.
We’ll be tested, oh feck will we be tested. We’ll be watched like Hawks by every media source west of the Pas de Calais, desperately trying to highlight any numpty that abuses or threatens or says anything that can remotely be construed as menacing about someone in the No campaign, particularly celebrity troll-fishers.
We’ll get called all sorts of horrible names, we’ll get accused of racism, narrow nationalism, vile divisive separatists. I think there is an easy fix for all of that . We should kill it with kindness, smothering it as a nonsense by demonstrating exactly the kind of people we are, not the people they are trying to convince others that we are. They’ll talk about us creating a bitter divide amongst Scots. Let us concentrate on the opposite, narrowing the divide.
Another waste of time is squabbling amongst oorselves. Within half an hour of Nicola Sturgeon’s historic announcement yesterday a Facebook group I’m involved in, which apart from the input of ten or so regular contributors has been awash with tumbleweed for long enough, suddenly had two members appear from nowhere who hivnae been seen or heard of since before Alistair Darling was Lord Selloot, having a row. What is the point of that?
We can hammer oot any differences once the hangovers are gone and the flag waving is done, when we are building our Scotland. Until then we’ve a job to do, the biggest task most of us will ever get involved in. There is no margin of error. We must win. We must do it together. Let’s get to it.