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Escape Routes by Val Waldron

We are finally getting to grips with the solid fact of the matter: 2014 cannot be repeated. We need to find another way, or ways to move forward towards independence.

On the day of the full release of the Sue Gray report and of Nicola Sturgeon’s marking point as longest serving FM I’ve never been more desperate for independence. The braying, mocking filth that emanates from Westminster PMQs reminds us starkly that, as a nation we do not vote for the Tory scum.

As BBC Radio Scotland rolls out Mr Reasonable-see-it-from-both-sides former FM Henry McLeish, while the actual FM is unable to respond due to Covid isolation, contrast and compare McLeish’s F-Word,  the limp and unwanted Federalism, with Mhairi Black’s F-Word, Fascism. The latter, rolling in on the privileged tongues of the elite, makes a mockery of the former. It will not happen, not in the lifetime of this run of brutalising Tory Governments and ineffectual opposition. Something needs to happen, and fast. In 2022 people are making choices between food and fuel. That’s not just a sound bite.

The avalanche of corruption, entitlement and oppressive policies emanating from Westminster appears to be enough to render us incapable of grasping the right time, energy, cause and opportunity for taking to the streets en masse. Before we know it the slashing of human, voting and protesting rights will render us even more inert.

It’s not all lost. Remember that in Kenmure Street they did not pass. Meanwhile an energised leadership from the Transgender community is responding to the attempted eroding of abortion rights in a demonstration of real feminism, by contrast to the other US import of faux feminism that hides behind Women’s rights. There’s a future worth fighting for.

Is this how we do battle now, issue by issue, as the façade of a united independence movement has been truly shattered? But just maybe, as the gloves are peeled off and the emboldened bigotry, enabled by Brexit, enforced Covid isolation, and an international wave of populism shows itself in the light, we are finally getting to grips with the solid fact of the matter: 2014 cannot be repeated. We need to find another way, or ways to move forward.

We need independence. This is non-negotiable when we see that even the recent poll showing 49% for English independence is more likely to represent post-Brexit isolated Britnattery as illustrated by a recent article by Peter Hitchens, than anything of a progressive nature. Sorry guys, we cannot wait around until you stop voting Tory. We can demonstrate that things can be done differently though, if we can gather the strength and will to do so.

We need our own powers. Humane immigration powers, powers to tax the rich, powers to communicate and trade on the international stage. Powers to shake off the culture wars that knock on our door. We need to be rid of nuclear weapons and we need to utilise all the land and coast and the immeasurable people skills that we are endowed with to create wealth and equality.

The council elections revealed in microcosm everything that we suspected already: That Alba is unelectable as a party. That the arrogant Anas Sarwar is more than capable of tucking his party back into bed with the Tories. That the Tories are bitter twisted thugs who have nothing to offer Scotland other than unionism. That our broadcast and print media are pro-active in stirring up division and doubt, forsaking any notion that health and transport issues, for instance, are UK wide phenomena. Everything and anything is a hill for Scottish independence to die on by their reckoning.

Media and opposition parties aside, we seem to have reached peak SNP hatred (or have we?) as a common denominator fixation by groups and individuals, from Scotland in Union to many who identify as Left. Some strange bedfellows have appeared. None stranger than Ex Common Weal Director Robin McAlpine, Stu Campbell aka Wings and Alex Salmond. Did Alex Salmond show any more interest in Common Weal policies than Nicola Sturgeon? Frustrating, but why Alba for the terminally frustrated, a party that has strongly aligned itself with Trans exclusionary ‘feminism!’

Whether you’re an impatient independence supporter, an arch unionist, a Brexiteer, misogynist or any other kind of FM/SNP hater, the stock twitter and face-book response of ‘Smell the fear’ won’t cut it or take us over the line should we achieve an indyref 2 campaign. There is a very sizeable body of SNP tactical voters who would rather vote Green or even a socialist Labour party, if this could ever be achieved in Scotland while Labour continue to commit to unionism. Disgust with everything and everyone, not least Johnson, that emanates from Westminster drains, and prevents focus. We have an undeniable mandate for a 2nd referendum and it must be done, and, more importantly, won.

We must influence and move forward a progressive agenda from inside and outside of the party, one that will render the hatred impotent. The SNP/Scottish Greens arrangement will only take us so far, and we need to start with the implementation of policies that scream to be successfully completed, such as Gender Reform and Buffer Zones against damaging and focused protest.

I believe that busy, erstwhile apolitical people will bite the hand off a movement that offers a confident and progressive agenda. I’ve always believed that most people are decent by default, rather than transphobic, sectarian and racist as many would have us believe, though this does not in any way undermine the damage done by the minority of vocal bigots. We don’t need the FM to be reasonable, we need her to answer ‘Hell Yes’ every time she is accused of being obsessed by independence.

We need to catch the tide of republicanism, for instance and respond to ongoing queries about independence with bold economic policies and currency plans. I believe that the soft Yes voters are to be found amongst the risk averse, but if we translate that to mean that they don’t want change, we’re back at the indy-lite agenda of 2014. If people need certainty, give them clear and definite options to shake them out of apathy and fear. If we have to push forward on an issue-by-issue basis, so be it. Maybe that’s where our energy needs to be deployed.  Let’s leave the saltires and AOUB marches alone for the moment.

Val Waldron

















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