So, I don’t usually write about conventional political stuff like elections for a number of reasons, the most compelling being that I don’t know very much about such things and I don’t want to sound stupid. In recent years catastrophic national and global events like the failure of the Scottish Independence campaign, the failure to campaign of the U.K’s Remain in the E.U. campaign, and the mind-blowing headf*** that resulted in Donald Trump becoming president of the United States have made me somewhat less hesitant to voice my opinions. If I say something dumb, who might notice?
If the mainstream media are to be believed there are two major losers of this election, namely Theresa May and Scotland’s chances of holding a second referendum on Independence. The immediate and constant conflating of these two separate issues serves to make all put the most ardent ‘Yes’ supporter (of which there are many) head for the Brexit highway and accept their fate. You could be forgiven for thinking the impending independence referendum had already been held and resoundingly lost.
As someone living in Scotland it’s left me feeling a bit confused. On the one hand, the mainstream media are selling Scottish Independence as dead. On the other hand, I speak to activists on the ground and they laugh at the arrogant suggestion that the fate of Scotland has been decided by a Westminster government.
They have a point. Whilst the SNP sustained losses, including the formidable Alex Salmond, they are unquestionably still in the game. Whilst a Tory revival is never a happy event, it is the predictable consolidation of the ‘No to independence’ vote behind the party least likely to ever lose a square mile of the once great, but now simply British, empire.
The message of these activists appears to be ‘Game On.’
So who to believe?
Is it possible that they could both be telling a truth?
‘Independence is Dead’ shouts the mainstream media and these very cries inflict blows on the cause.
‘Independence is Alive’ responds the ‘Yes’ movement of Scotland, and you have to believe them, because their actions breathe life into their campaign.
I wish I cared.
I did care. Last time around. The 2014 drive for Scottish Independence was so vibrant and infused with promise, expectation and possibility (much like the Corbyn movement) that I caught the bug and became one of those people that believed change was possible. I put a ‘Yes’ poster in my living room window, and pinned a ‘Yes’ badge on my handbag, and reveled in the comradeship on the street. Once awkward silences in the supermarket queue had morphed into animated conversations about our future autonomy and all the fun we would have and all the social justice we would create. I have since read a number of articles from ‘No’ supporters who campaigned under the now hallow ‘Better Together’ slogan portraying a time of deep division and bitter conflict, and I don’t recognise their descriptions. It was actually a blast to be living in Scotland in the run up to the last referendum. There was as much hope as you will ever find in a people not noted for their cheery disposition.
Then we lost. It was a dark day. All those prospects of a bright future eclipsed by the power of the status quo. I was very sad. Many people were very sad.
But not the core activists. Strangely enough, they claimed their loss as a victory. Much like Corbyn’s team are doing right now. And the subsequent elections every year since have, more or less, validated their position. The S.N.P. are the biggest party in Hollyrood. The S.N.P. are the biggest Scottish party in Westminster. However you spin it, enough people in Scotland continue to support them to make the possibility of another referendum on Independence a valid option.
This may seem like a political broadcast on behalf of Scottish Nationalism but it isn’t. It’s an observation of how things actually are in Scottish politics, at this point in time. I’m not even sure how I’ll vote, when or if there is another vote on Independence. I do know that there are far greater threats to global security, and even British security, than the Scots flying solo.
My debut novel Nailing Jess is being released by Cranachan Publishing on June 26th.