I confess to spells of weariness and occasional bouts of despair. Political activism can be quite draining. I think I’m averaging around three Yes events per week, along with all the reading and writing and social media activity. Just keeping the diary up to date can seem onerous task. Then there’s the travel and accommodation arrangements. All in all, being part of the Yes movement can get to be like a full time job.
Not that I’m any kind of special case. Countless people are doing as much as I am. Many are doing a great deal more. I’m sure they get weary too. Maybe it’s not a bad thing to acknowledge this. Perhaps it would do us all good to admit that we’re only human. We get tired. There’s no shame in that.
It has been a long time, too. Some count their commitment to the independence campaign in decades. An honourable few have made it the work of a lifetime now closer to its end than its beginning. But even if you are one of those who only engaged with the independence cause during the first referendum campaign or in it its immediate aftermath, you have been involved to some degree in an unrelenting programme of events and activities for at least four years. In that time, and at the lower end of a scale of activism, you’ve probably done around 100 things.
The Yes campaign makes considerable demands of all who participate. If we get tired and irritable let’s not be too hard on ourselves – or each other.
No matter how jaded we may get, there are always those moments which serve to revive us. The marches. The rallies. The conferences and the conventions. The occasions when we get together with like-minded folk and feed on each other’s enthusiasm. The times when we gather to share ideas and insights. The times when we embark on bold new projects. The times when we get to welcome those who have made the journey to Yes.
Then there are the developments and interventions which make us mindful of the fundamental justice of our cause and remind us how necessary – and urgent – it is that we break Scotland out of the Union. Almost daily now we are jolted out of any tendency to lethargy by some new evidence of how damaging the Union is to Scotland. With increasing frequency we are hearing influential voices raised against the inclination to complacency. Angus MacNeil is prominent among those voices.
Unfortunate as it is that Angus MacNeil persists in linking action to resolve the constitutional issue so intimately with Brexit, at least he is injecting a much needed sense of urgency into the debate. This is what Yes activists want to hear. This is what will keep us old-timers going for a bit longer. This is what will attract fresh blood and fresh vigour to the independence campaign.
Angus Brendan MacNeil MP, I salute you!
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