If you are asking what the SNP is going to do about the dismantling of our democracy and obliteration of our national identity by the British state then you are asking the wrong question. To paraphrase John Fitzgerald Kennedy, ask not what a bunch of politicians might do for you, but what you are prepared to do to make those politicians do what you want them to do.
One of the population-level psychological effects of the Union has been a generalised loss of our sense of agency. The sense of having a measure of control. The knowledge lying just below the level of consciousness that we can have an effect. The tendency has been either to look to some external organisation to ‘get something done’ or to give up in despair saying there’s nothing anybody can do.
Colonies or annexed territories subject to an unaccountable and unchallengeable alien authority come to be afflicted with an insidiously engrained powerlessness which seeps through the populace like a spreading rot, robbing us of the will to act. But not of the ability to act.
Just as that alien authority – in our case the British state and its ruling elites – can only possess the power which we the people allow it, so we the people are only as powerless as that alien authority can succeed in convincing us we are. power is relative. The more the can persuade us that we don’t have the more is available for them to take.
To break free of this depressing cycle of powerlessness begetting powerlessness it is necessary only to act. To do something. It hardly matters what it is, so long as it is in defiance of that alien authority in even the smallest way.
As I set out to write the above (Originally as a BTL comment on an article in The National) I had in mind the Yes movement that emerged in Scotland around ten years ago as an example of what happens when people realise their true strength. But it occurs to me that it may not be the exemplar I first thought. While undoubtedly a genuine mass grassroots political movement, it is prevented from being an illustrative example of the principle of defiance as the cure for resigned powerlessness by the fact that we had the consent of that alien authority. By the simple act of granting a Section 30 order, David Cameron obviated the possibility of such acts of defiance as might occasion a genuine release from the grip imposed by the Union.
I do not for one moment imagine that this occurred to Cameron. I seriously doubt if this was a deliberate gambit to forestall real defiance. But this was the effect regardless of the intent.
Stop asking what the SNP will do. Assume they will do nothing unless obliged to act by a demonstration of the strength of the people. Of course, we need the SNP/Scottish Government to take certain actions to initiate the process of restoring Scotland’s independence. That democratic process happens entirely in and around the Scottish Parliament – the only Parliament with democratic legitimacy and therefore the rightful authority to speak and act for Scotland’s people. It all has to start with an act of true defiance. Defiance of both the alien authority imposed by the Union and of the politicians who fail us by insisting on compliance with that authority.
On Tuesday 31 August, when the Scottish Parliament resumes following the summer recess, I intend to be at Holyrood. I will not be there to politely ask Nicola Sturgeon what she intends to do about Scotland’s predicament. I will not be there to be fobbed off with fine words and plausible promises. I will be there to defy the SNP/Scottish Government and demand that they in turn defy that alien authority by asserting the primacy of the Scottish Parliament.
I am content to do this alone. To demonstrate using such strength as I possess that I refuse to be content with powerlessness and that I do not consent to my sovereignty being compromised by my Government.
Defiance! Not compliance!
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