Today, the Yes movement marches in Glasgow. As many as 100,000 people from every corner of Scotland will converge on the city for what will be one of the biggest political demonstrations our nation has ever seen.
If past events are any guide, it will be a joyous occasion attended by people of all ages and from all walks of life. There will be bands. There will be flags. There will be speeches. There will be people from other parts of the world – individuals and groups who have travelled many hundreds or even thousands of kilometres to lend their support to Scotland’s Yes movement. There will be songs. There will be chants. There will be smiles and laughter.
There will be the energy of people motivated by a great cause. A worthy cause. A just cause.
There will be the excitement of knowing the time is at hand when gatherings such as that today in Glasgow will seem like mere rehearsals for Scotland’s Independence Day celebrations.
But why are we marching? What is the purpose of today’s event and the many more which All Under One Banner has planned for the months ahead?
Are we marching to tell Theresa May that we’ve had enough? Are we marching to tell the British parties that they have failed Scotland’s people? Are we marching to send a message to the British Government in London?
What would be the point of that? They’re not listening! They never listened before. They’re not listening now. And there is no possibility that they ever will listen.
They’re not listening because they don’t care. The British political elite cares less than nothing for Scotland’s needs and priorities; our hopes and aspirations. The whole point of the Union is that they don’t have to care. They don’t have to care because nothing we say or do can have any meaningful impact.
As Brexit has demonstrated so vividly, the Union ensures that the people of Scotland cannot be politically effective within the British state. Therefore, we can safely be ignored by British politicians.
We may be tossed a few crumbs from time to time. The British ruling elite may consider it expedient to experiment with devolution, secure in the knowledge that they retain the power to strip it all away with a stroke of a pen. The power which rightfully belongs to the people of Scotland has been taken from them by the Union. We may insist that the people are sovereign. But as long as we accept the Union, we will never be allowed to properly exercise that sovereignty.
Marching to send a message to the British government is futile. Petitioning the British government for our democratic right of self-determination is both futile and demeaning. It is not the British government we need to be addressing.
The Yes movement marches in Glasgow today, not to send an angry message to the British Prime Minister, but to send a hopeful message to Scotland’s First Minister.
There is no point hoping that the British government will respond to our democratic demands. That’s not how the British state works. That not what the Union is for. Only the Scottish Government has the power to act on our behalf. Only the Scottish Government has the mandate to do what is required. Only the Scottish Parliament has democratic legitimacy and the rightful authority to speak for Scotland.
We march in Glasgow today to tell Nicola Sturgeon that now is the time to act. To assure her that she has our full backing. To insist that she join with the Yes movement in order that, together, we may restore the powers of Scotland’s Parliament, the sovereignty of Scotland’s people and the pride of our nation by ending the Union.
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