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Five Years from Now

Burntisland Aug 2014 035

Can you remember five years ago? Can you imagine Scotland five years from now?

Gordon Brown was the PM, the SNP were still a minority government in Holyrood, Iain Gray’s Labour were fancying their chances of taking over in eighteen months time. David Cameron was the leader of the Conservative opposition and Nick Clegg was someone who still had the backing of students across England and Wales.

Many would have predicted a Conservative victory at Westminster in 2010, some thought Labour could hang on to power and some would even have predicted a LibDem-Conservative coalition. Few, if anyone would have dared to imagine Nick Clegg’s party committing mass political suicide over their student fee pledge and support for Conservative austerity. Who would have dared to bet on Ed Miliband becoming Labour leader over his brother David?

Five years ago I wouldn’t have thought an independence referendum was going to happen. The reason is that I wouldn’t have thought that the SNP would gain a majority in Holyrood – but that is what they did. The Unionist parties were forced to address the issue of Scottish Independence and we all knew that once the referendum had been agreed to by Westminster that the British media and the full weight of the UK establishment were going to be against the case for independence. What I didn’t imagine was quite how devious and manipulative the UK establishment were going to be. Equally I would not have imagined how creative and inspirational the pro-independence campaign was going to become.

Last Thursday returned a No vote by a margin of 10%, and a swing of 1 in 19 changing their mind would reverse the result. That is not an overwhelming endorsement of the UK. Scotland is a country that is awakening to a new and powerful grassroots democracy which is set to challenge the entire political establishment across the British Isles. If there is anything that we have learned from the independence campaign it must surely be that the UK establishment is vulnerable and will strike out when it is threatened. To successfully compete with the establishment and their tools of power the independence movement must grow and learn, develop and mature from last Thursday. I have no doubt this is going to happen.

Can you imagine Scotland five years from now?

We live in what must be the most politically exciting period in Scotland’s history and my imagination is awash with potential scenarios for where Scotland is going in the years ahead. One thing is certain to me and that is we cannot regress to where we were five years ago. Where the hope for a fairer, more prosperous Scotland motivates me, the fear of Scotland reverting to the same old self-destructive red Tory voting habits sends a bolt of energy through my body. Nothing would be more damaging to Scotland at this time in history than if the myth that we need to vote Labour to keep the Tories out next May gains traction. We must slay this myth with absolute conviction: Labour ARE the Tories.

The different factions of the Yes movement have been united by their desire for a fairer Scotland, and the belief that this is best achieved by having the powers to affect change in our country wielded by the people who live and work in our country. This unity of purpose is not going to change in the near future and it can achieve dramatic changes. Imagine a House of Commons with only independence supporting Scottish MPs after the May 2015 Westminster election. Imagine a Holyrood with a commanding majority of pro-independence MSPs after the 2016 election. If anything close to these election results occurred then the absolute initiative is with the pro-independence parties. We will have the mandate to define what devolution should come to Scotland and in my own opinion anything less than complete “devo-max” (all powers excluding defence and foreign policy) would result in a groundswell for another independence referendum. Should we gain “devo-max” then we will already have many of the powers that independence provides and the debate moves onto much more certain areas such as should we have Trident based in our country and should we be engaging in illegal wars. In short independence is but a small and certain step from there.

I am excited about what we are creating in Scotland. We know what kind of country we want to become, let’s continue to build that country and five years from now we can amaze ourselves at how far we have come.

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  1. Patrick Hogg says:

    Good piece Jamie. Enjoyed it. If we elect a majority of SNP/Yes Scotland candidates at the May 7th election, with one or two more than Labour, then fine maybe we just keep the pressure on full throttle with Westminster to devolve powers. BUT lets not be naive, THEY will never devolve the tax take from North Sea Oil since they need that to pay their PFI and other debts in Westminster. So Scotland is likely to be stuck with foodbanks and some form of austerity without the finances to kick start the economy into proper growth. SCotland needs complete control of all the resources in Scotland’s economy; we need a couple of new banks; we need the west coast oil potential opened up and developed. There are two tiers of devo-max now underway with Brown and Cameron at loggerheads now on what level of Devo Max to provide. For me, Westminster stinks and will never deliver for Scotland. Fat cat Boris boasts about his world beating city – mainly because they have milked Scotland’s NSO wealth for themselves: NSO paid for the north and south circular roads being upgraded; NSO paid for the M25. NSo paid for the channel tunnel. We are the cash cow Westminster cannot let go until we are bled dry. WEstminster is the junky main-lining on the tax take from the North Sea. NOt even a squeak from anyone during the referendum campaign that 6000 square miles of SCotland’s Sea has been stolen and placed in English waters. Time to get hard-nosed and more realistic. We might just need to take our independence via UDI if there is a clear majority of SNP/Yes Scotland MP’s on May 7th. I for one would never even walk into a building which is currently keeping probably the biggest paedophile scandal in British history under its ermine carpet!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Joe Cannon says:

    I agree in most part with your piece up to the point of wanting Devo-Max if we have all pro Independence MP’s at Westminster AND Holyrood. With the £Trillions at stake for Westminster and the possibility of them going bust if we leave the Union we will not now nor will we ever achieve Independence by way of a referendum, we will have however have been given the the mandate of the Scottish people not once but TWICE to declare UDI, and if we truly want to be Independent then i believe this is the only way to achieve it, by electoral law there is nothing Westminster can do about it ! ” The International Court of Justice, in a 2010 advisory opinion, declared that unilateral declarations of independence were not illegal under international law.” that is were we should be heading !!!

    1. Patrick Hogg says:

      Well said Joe.Westminster Tories must be seen for what they really are: they are people who believe they are BORN TO RULE. They are the new face of the Feudal Order. They are an aberration of Human Nature and anathema to any form of democracy. No one is born superior to another but these people do think they are. They think they still own Scotland and in terms of actual land ownership THEY DO OWN Scotland and use our country as a hunting shooting fishing paradise to tramp the rural country round and blast the denizens of nature to a bloody death in the name of sport. ‘Westlin’ winds and slaughtering guns!’. Westiminster represent the 1-5% ruling over the majority. The No crew said we in the Yes Scotland team would make Scotland a foreign country to people in England: well, the truth is that their elites are very foreign to most Scots; their foodbanks are foreign to us; their global power myth is foreign to us; their absolute need to have power over us is a foreign power dictating to the people of Scotland. They already treat Scottish money as foreign in London. The result of the referendum was not the SETTLED will of the Scottish people: it was the unsettled fear-mongered will of Scots frightened by the Westminster elites. intimidation was central to Project Fear. Without the intervention of the Westminster elites control of media in the last two weeks of the campaign Yes would have won it easily. Scotland has been robbed too many times by these Con-Men and Women. If we have 5 or more MP’s in the Yes Scotland/SNP camp on 7th may I will be calling for UDI and asking our team of MP’s to be Scotland’s negotiation team for immediate effective Independence on the timescale outlined in the White paper!

  3. kate says:

    Scotland could end the monarchy as well as the union.

    The monarchy is the living embodiment of ruthless conscience free class privilege. The royal family commutes between multiple palaces in a nation where disabled and unemployed people thrown off benefits are currently killing themselves. The monarchy has backed the union and the tories against scotland’s poor as much as any other arm of the establishment, having more money and land to lose than almost any of them.

  4. Joe Cannon says:

    This time no soft soaping on the Monarchy Lizzie stuck her oar in again so this time they go too !! i honestly believe none of these MP’s give anymore of a rats arse about the Union than you or me, Guys like Murphy Alexander Curran etc only care about staying on the Westminster gravy train !! they dont care what the best deal for the Scottish people is but they do care how much more they can line their pockets with !! Others like Brown want the Ermine capes and worthless titles to go with them not to mention the £300 a day for signing in !! it really is time to get ALL these types out of any positions of power that affect decision making for ours and our children’s futures

  5. Stuart Murray says:

    I can remember 30 years ago like it was just last week; I travelled from Norway to Scotland by aeroplane and it might as well have been by time-machine.

  6. tartanfever says:

    Thanks for the article Jamie, it’s an interesting topic.

    I also wonder where the Yes campaign will be in 5 years, in particular, where will Bella, Newsnet/Bateman, Wings, Biz for Scotland, Common Weal and all the other new media outlets. Will we be swamping the remnants of the mainstream media ? Will citizen journalism now be dictating not only the news, but our political parties manifesto’s ? What will become of RIC, Tommy’s crew and the Greens ?

    In terms of politics, I’m slightly pessimistic. Everything we have ever achieved seems to take a huge sacrifice. To get universal suffrage we had to endure WW1, to get the NHS and the Welfare State we had WW2, to get a Parliament we had to endure Thatcher and the cost of a large chunk of the North Sea.

    Now we have an SNP government who, like them or not, have done ok with universal welfare with the return pocket money from Westminster. Maybe it’s time for them to stop protecting us so much and let the full scale of austerity hit us. Is that what’s required to wake up the 55% ?

    Looking through 20th century history it seems pretty apparent that is precisely what needs to happen.

    1. benmadigan says:

      look at what ireland went through to get independence for most of the country!
      I hope Scotland never goes through anything similar – though I suppose the highland clearances were pretty bad!
      On a more trivial note why do local YES activists not start painting murals and putting signs or posters up like Gael Force Art does while waiting for a more widespread Independence media to get off the ground or to supplement it once it has? Is there a law against this sort of thing in Scotland?

  7. Stuart Murray says:

    Well said Jamie, nice article. For me, the biggest challenge for the Yes movement will be in ensuring it remains cohesive. Westminster will do it’s level best to create schisms, that’s certain; and we should prepare for that. And as much as I love and admire Tommy, when he talks on tv or at public meetings about creating a socialist Scotland, I’m afraid it does more harm than good. I wish we’d leave that talk until after independence. How many pensioners in Scotland want to be part of a socialist revolution? Exactly. It’s not that I’m against his ideas (I probably agree with 99% of them), but the Yes movement is not about creating a socialist Scotland, even though – at times – people were talking about it as if it was. The people in Business for Scotland and other groups are equally important in this movement, and their voice and influence should not be drowned out by louder voices on the Left. If we can keep the unit tight, only great things can be achieved. But we need to go easy on the ‘socialism’ rhetoric. In this day and age, unfortunately, it’s not a vote winner.

    1. Jim Mowat says:

      Well said Stuart Murray, The last thing we want is a Socialist Scotland, and that’s the problem “the Left” the free loader’s and there are too many of them in Scotland, the Average Scot can’t afford these People. The last Labour Government, and I’m talking about the U.K. was A Government that led these U.K. Islands down the road to near ruin, and we the people have Blair, and Brown to thank for that experiment in benefit hand-outs. and you’re right, it is not a vote winner, Benefits for people that need and qualify, yes, not for the freeloaders that work the system and avoid paying their way, these people deprive the people that need help off help. Saints get help, scoundrels get jail.

  8. Alex Wright says:

    Many thanks for that Jamie. When you appreciate the circumstances and changes that have happened in such a relatively short space of time, it certainly brings into focus what is achievable. As I slowly pick myself up from despondency, articles like yours and Robin Mcalpine make it easier to climb back on the bike. Cheers.

  9. Barontorc says:

    I have been reminded and rebuked several times in my lifetime for ignoring what has happened in the past and that you should learn from getting your fingers burnt, yet again and yet again, lo and behold, what do we have here and now from many pro-independent commentators, but ‘move on’ and be like the Wallace spider.

    Most of what Jamie writes is very true, but it is these events he describes that have thrown up solutions to needs and in almost every case, we Scots have not brought about the change – ‘things’ have ‘happened’ to us.

    Yet this time we were so very close and indeed, supported in no small way by mega-gaffs from the unionists, we Scots were prime-movers and almost pulled it off, that is, until Brown, Darling and the BBC/media broke the agreed purdah rules and offered what could turn out to be almost meaningless utterances and ‘VOWS’ that carry no weight whatsoever and we are screwed, yet again – even royally, if purred assent is to be believed.

    The only way forward is to drive for justice. Shout from the rooftops that the referendum was sabotaged and prove it via the purdah affront and Ruth Davidson’s admission that PV information was leaked and doubtlessly led to the last minute ‘VOW’ charade. Forget the many spurious claims of vote rigging, albeit I believe every means possible was used to subvert a YES vote, which no doubt involved fraud and rigging.

    As history has repeatedly shown us, it’s events that cause change and the English Votes issue and the EU referendum that’ll do the business. But let’s not just ‘move on’ there’s legitimate complaining to be done – loud and clear. Apologists might want to call it ‘cringe’ – I call it bloody minded and bloody good sense!

    1. Dean Richardson says:

      There won’t be an in/out referendum on the EU. Miliband has made it clear that he doesn’t want a referendum, and nobody believes Call Me Cast iron Guarantee Dave anyway. Westminster only grants a referendum when it’s confident it will get the result it wants, and it’s scared rigid that the UK’s voters (especially those in England) would vote to leave the EU.

    2. deewal says:

      Barontorc. I’m with you. The BBC are gearing up for the General Election as we speak. Prepare to see lots of Labour MP’s being gently interviewed and every Pro Indy Party being attacked and rubbished in a repeat of the Referendum charade we have just witnessed. All the same Programs and Players are in place.
      Gloves off time .

  10. We have one simple imperative, that is to have consistent 70% polling for Yes. That can only be achieved by converting a subastantial number of Nos. This can happen in two ways, first we come up with a boilerplate offering which can’t have holes shot in it as happened over the currency issue. Secondly, we have to allow Westminster to play out the farce of more powers, all the while keeping the Vow in front of the Scottish voters.

    Once they have given up on Westminster and have seen that the indy offering gives more reassurance, they will come across. That is the point at which UDI can be declared if Westminster won’t agree to another Referendum.

  11. ali says:

    in ’79 i was 6 so i grew up watching what the tories done (her who shall not be named) i was honestly gutted we got screwed over but not surprised now i’m gonna kick back put my feet up and watch London totally fk everything up 😉

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