Hey everyone I have just read a really interesting blog by the blogger faintdamnation on the post independence Scotland settlement entitled Jacobites and Jacobins. The post looked at what the author a yes voter by the way, calls yes fundamentalism. This I have to say was a very challenging but at the same time enjoyable read especially for someone who would have called themselves a yes fundamentalist until some pro yes and pro unionist friends made me examine my beliefs and some particularly on the no side of the debate have even went as far as to say that I am one of the voices of reason.
In the post the author states one of the key reason for voting yes was a sense of hope of a better society but they are now concerned that yes fundamentalism is damaging the long term prospects of our nation due in no small part to an authoritarian streak which does not chime well with them or me.
I have only attended two pro independence gatherings since our yes defeat in September. I had hoped to attend Nicola Sturgeon’s event at the Hydro but health issues prevented me from doing so. Many of my friends attended the event and many others attended the Radical Independence conference on the same day. From what I can gather both were excellent events and there was no trouble at either of them. This is in stark contrast to the annual unionist parades which occur on our streets every July. Yes friends the orange walk is a unionist parade and I am not afraid to call it as such. You see though there is much merit in the case made by this blogger who writes under the name of faintdamnation there does seem to be a lack of criticism of the unionist attitudes to the post referendum settlement.
Firstly however let me state where I believe we can find common ground which is I believe essential if Scotland is to truly move on and not become embroiled in yet more wrangling.
To begin with let me say that as I write this post I have not yet bought a copy of the national. My reasons for this decision are I think reasonably simple to understand. You see though, I do like the idea of a pro independence newspaper I would have preferred by reason our argument we had won over at least one if not half a dozen of the existing titles rather than launch a brave new title which does seem focused on one principal as it’s main selling point. Just as I disapprove of anyone labelling the SNP as a one issue party I strongly object to being told or ‘encouraged’ to buy a one issue newspaper. I am not saying I will never buy the national in all likelihood I probably will especially at election time when I believe it will be highly effective at rebutting some of the unionist scare stories put out by other titles. In the meantime however I will allow to the new title time to bed in and develop both it’s readership and perhaps more importantly it’s content.
To me, and I suspect many others if a newspaper is to have a decent shelf life and there is potential for the National to do so they have to be about local issues as well as the national or global ones and they also need to cover the basics such entertainment, sport and fashion and lifestyle with possibly a compact style magazine on the Friday or should it go to six day run Saturday issue.
Another area of agreement is that there are too many voices on the fringes of the yes camp who are not willing to show the softer unionists the hand of friendship. This does not mean we have to take on board there beliefs but it may involve coming to the peace line and showing a willingness to work together to build the better Scotland so many of us on both sides of this side of the debate want to see. As the post points out not every no voter wants poverty to exist and it is quite frankly insulting to suggest otherwise. Having said that however, I should point out that poverty did actually increase under the Blair- Brown Labour government and the wealth gap between the richest and poorest members of society grew wider. Remember now people this happened under a Labour government and Labour are according to our political chattering classes the people’s party who are or perhaps I say should say were supposed to be the people’s party who looked after the interests of the poor.
However I have not spent the greater part of almost three decades fighting a battle to destroy the Labour Party, that was not the reason I campaigned for and eventually joined the SNP.
The reason I joined the SNP was to play my part in creating a more socially just Scotland than we will ever be allowed to have under any unionist party. You see promoting real social justice is not in the interests of a United Kingdom which by its social structures is the most conservative nation in Europe and one of the most conservative countries on earth. That is why I joined the SNP and why many others have taken the leap of faith since independence was at least temporarily lost to our nation.
On other topics I am far less likely to be to as gentle with regard to the political sensitivities of my fellow blogger. One example of where in my view they take the wrong road is in believing that Nicola Sturgeon’s tour of Scotland was a mistake. This is I feel slightly misguided and I’ll explain my reasons for taking this view. It is my opinion that if the SNP had lost members during the post referendum debate then I could maybe have given some credence to this argument. This however is not the case indeed the party has enjoyed an almost unprecedented level of support since the referendum defeat and looks likely to make significant gains at the Westminster General Election next year. In this context I do not believe that the meet the members tour was in any way a mistake. If anything I believe it was quite the reverse and I suspect it was a marketing masterstroke as it energised the party membership and galvanised them with a sense of purpose that no unionist party can at least at the present time come anywhere close to matching. It also had the beneficial impact of making sure the new members had a place in the party and for many it made their first engagement with politics a positive one. In many ways it was just like the night I was invited to an Ask Alex night on finally joining the SNP in the run up to the last Westminster election, the only difference being that they did not enjoy such a high profile or membership increase in the spring of 2010.
As for our blogger’s assertion that the yes campaign have demonised good old Gordon Brown I fear that Gordon Brown may have brought much of this attitude on himself. Personally I loathe Brown. I think he’s a pompous, arrogant, bully who treats Scotland like its his private property. The man so loved by the unionist press made the fatal mistake of calling himself North British on American television and coined the phrase British Jobs for British Workers at a Labour Party conference. This to me is not the language of socialists like Keir Hardie it is the language of division so favoured by Gordon’s pals such as Nigel Farage and the United Kingdom Independence Party so if some people want to tell him to get lost such as those who have signed the recent Wings of Scotland protest they should be able to do so. However, where I find a problem with this particular petition is in the language used as it devalues the cause I support and have supported all my political life. This is the language of the pub on a Saturday night or that festive family gathering where half your relatives are drunk and you are desperately trying to prove themselves king or queen of the jungle in the festive edition of I’m a nonentity get me another one and the only thing you want to get them is their coats. It is not and can never be accepted as the level of political debate, it turns people off politics and does no credit to our national discourse.
As to what the First Minister should say on this issue I think Nicola should play safe on condemning both the tone of the petition and Wings whom I notice some unionists claim is not a serious journalist. Perhaps I could make the same claim about Alan Cochrane as like it or not Wings gets more online readers than his ill considered anti Scottish rants in the Telegraph. This is also true of my preferred online independence option at Bella Caledonia.
Whilst I am on the subject of fairness I feel I must remark on the fact faintdamnation does not ask unionists where they were when Johann Lamont made her disgusting attacks on Alex Salmond not having any children? I also feel compelled to ask where the unionists were when Margaret Curran said if Alex Salmond was run over by a bus she wouldn’t ask for the name of the driver. There is no questioning as to as where were the unionists then. Not the slightest comment to rebuke them as to why they were not prepared to stand on the front line sticking up for Scotland and democracy demanding answers and holding there own side to account when they overstepped the mark yet the minute someone on the Yes side of the debate is less than gentle with Brown or any other of their ilk we are condemned by the Westminster establishment they demand an apology. This is typical of the double standards I have come to expect from the pro union parties and a media not known for its impartially.
As if to prove the Anti nationalist agenda in our press Alan Cochrane was at it again launching a hysterical rant against Nicola because she dares to say the Smith commission doesn’t in her opinion go far enough. In his vile article earlier this week our country’s least talented political journalist suggests that we should all vote Labour regardless of who we actually support to stop in his entirely predictable words ‘nationalist triumphalism’ oh dear I wonder what he hates more Scotland or Democracy? Yet still no complaints from unionists after all it’s just good old Alan being horrible to those rebellious Scots.
Talking of the Smith Commission I am angry beyond belief at the reckless action of a small group of SNP councillors who have burned a copy of this document. Why does it anger me? Quite simply because those like our blogger friend who are having second thoughts about staying in the yes family will be more likely to walk away due to this petulant behaviour when we need to redouble our efforts to persuade them to stay. This gives ammunition to those who wanted and in all probably still want independence but are afraid of yes fundamentalist’s and the damage intentional or otherwise they could do to the cause.
Fortunately however unlike our unionist opponents we have a leader with not only principles but a backbone and as soon as the First Minister heard of this unacceptable behaviour those concerned were being suspended from the party and in my view correctly so. I can only imagine the fury at the opposition party headquarters when it dawned on them that by tackling the issue head on the First Minister had shown the people of Scotland that her team will be a disciplined one and she will not accept unacceptable standards of behaviour from anyone. In many ways this is the nightmare result for the unionists, I am certain they would have preferred Nicola to dismiss this incident as a bit of harmless fun as by doing this it would have given them more room to attack her, the party she now leads, and the cause she believes in with every fibre of her being. However acting with her principal of fairness to guide her in her decision making, Nicola put Scotland before party and by doing so, showed to all voters she is a woman who can be trusted to lead with dignity and decency for all of Scotland.
Compare this to the lack of leadership shown by the opposition in particular the Labour Party. Yes the same Labour Party who talk about equality yet a Labour MP was heard to make a snide homophobic remark against a newly elected SNP MSP at the 2011 count in Aberdeen. This is the same Labour MP who campaigned with a member of the far right National Front against independence in the recent referendum. There is also the case of the Labour councillor who repeatedly used both Anti Catholic and Anti SNP hate comments and yet is still a serving councillor. You see that’s the difference between the SNP and the Labour Party when we are faced with difficult challenges even within our own party we tackle them and deal with them. We do not take the unionist solution and sweep them under the nearest available carpet this is why we are the government of Scotland and will remain so after being elected for a third term in 2016.
However though an SNP victory in that election is most definitely my preferred option for our country I recognise this is not the choice of all yes voters and though I would encourage voters to vote SNP I do not believe Scotland wants a one party state and the idea that everyone has to vote SNP in order to support to independence is not one I have heard ever being put forward by the SNP or anyone else on the pro yes side of our independence debate. This is an idea straight from the bunkers of unionist headquarters to discredit the independence movement and fragment the broad church we put so much time and effort in to building it cannot be allowed to succeed.
This blog was as I say an interesting and enjoyable read but I do find the idea that one can compare the yes movement to the Jacobins to be ever so slightly fanciful. The idea that the SNP own or have the copyright to our national independence is I think bizarre and the fact we are getting compared to the Argentina of Juan and Eva Peron because we dare to hold a meet the people tour for our new leader is I suggest taking things to the extreme limits of one’s imagination. I will however concede that this comparison made for entertaining reading and showed a level of imagination I would sooner stayed on the side of the independence movement than was consumed by the forces of unionism.
So come on faintdamnation do not desert the cause of independence and align yourself with Farage and his ilk or egocentric fake socialists like George Galloway. Remind yourself why you voted for independence and however difficult it may be keep the dream of a better Scotland alive in your heart. Yes by all means vote Labour if that’s what you want to do in next year’s General Election after all if there is one thing I do agree with Gordon Brown on it is the fact that Scotland should not be a one issue country. Where I disagree with him is his in arrogance that he will press the reset button on Scottish politics. That can only be done by genuine independence supporters like you and I making common cause with decent fair minded unionists of which there are many working together for the benefit of Scotland. It is by doing this that we can convert those decent unionists to our cause and win the better Scotland that the unionists cannot and more to the point will not deliver.
It is I would suggest not the yes vote which has lost its mojo since the referendum result was held the growth in all yes supporting parties suggests otherwise. It is not the yes vote who are anti European with dangerous isolationist tendencies. It is not the yes vote who support annual hate parades through our streets every july. It is in fact that section of no voters which is comprised of close minded embittered unionists which is far larger than you seem to think. Many of these people wish to live in the past rather than the here and now and who when faced with the question of the future they want to see cannot give me or anyone else a satisfactory answer. It is they who are demented not a yes vote whose only crime if crime it be is to keep alive the vision we fought for so that when slowly but surely as the vow disappears bit by bit or should that be brit by brit through the trap door of the House Of Lords that people remember they were conned by the promise of liars whose only interest is self interest and for whom Scotland will only be the start of their personal road to riches ermine and gold.
So I say that we are neither Jacobites nor Jacobins nor will we ever be. It was the unionists who talked of the past during the referendum campaign claiming it was the glue that binds us together and as far I’m concerned they are welcome to there to their beliefs, and I respect there right to hold them but self indulgent sentiment can never be our badge. If anything it’s the British badge of honour. In contrast our cause is a forward thinking nation a Scotland fit for all where everyone is welcome and accepted no mater there age, gender/gender identity, race, religion, sex, or sexual orientation. That it is the Scotland of the independence movement and the dream shall never die.
Love And Best Wishes