On the afternoon of Tuesday 31 August 2021 I shall be standing outside the Scottish Parliament to greet MSPs returning after summer recess with a demand that they immediately initiate the process by which Scotland’s independence shall be restored. It is, I freely admit, an act of desperation. Daily I read of the various ways in which the British Nationalist ‘One Nation’ project is advancing. Daily I read of fresh moves by the British state designed to eliminate the Scottish Parliament as the locus of Scotland’s politics and impose on us an unelected ‘shadow’ administration answerable only to the British executive and in no sense to the people of Scotland. Daily I watch as our democracy is eroded and along with it the power to prevent the further, greater and more rapid erosion of our democracy. Daily I watch as not only the prospect of restoring Scotland’s independence fades, but the very possibility.
Daily I watch all this happen while the government elected by the people of Scotland to defend our interests and protect our democracy does nothing to prevent this dismantling of our democratic institutions. Literally nothing!
I am constantly assured by SNP/Sturgeon loyalists that there are things going on behind the scenes and plans for dealing with the situation. But what use is whatever might be happening unseen if it is having no visible effect? If Sturgeon and her government are indeed beavering away in the background in an effort to halt or hinder the British Nationalist juggernaut then their efforts are self-evidently to no avail. Whatever it is that they are supposedly doing out of our sight we can all too plainly see the way the British Nationalist ‘One Nation’ project is progressing.
If there is some plan to actually intervene in such a way as to rescue Scotland from the British Nationalist onslaught can someone explain why part of that plan involves delaying implementation of the plan while the British state is permitted to degrade the ability to implement the plan? Because that is precisely what is happening. In plain sight!
I am assured by the terminally naive and recklessly complacent that this is all just scaremongering. That things are really not as bad as I say. That the Scottish Parliament is not in any immediate danger. But we know that it will be! Even if we suppose that our Parliament is not close to being crippled or killed only the most blinkered fool would deny that this is the intention. The British Nationalists long since ceased to bother pretending otherwise. So why delay? And how is it possible to portray the British Nationalist project as a real and imminent threat for the purposes of getting elected while simultaneously denying the reality and imminence of the threat for the purposes of rationalising inaction?
The ubiquitous answer to that question about the reason for delay is “THE PANDEMIC!!!”. I am the last person to minimise the seriousness of the public health crisis. But when we look at the growing list of things that have proceeded and are proceeding despite Covid, Scotland’s constitutional issue starts to stand out as an exception. Ask why, and you’ll be told to have faith in Nicola Sturgeon. I don’t do faith. And how can the restoration of Scotland’s independence be both crucial to the effective management of recovery and something that must be postponed until after recovery? It makes no sense!
So, what can I do about it? I daily watch as the ruination of my country proceeds while my government does nothing. What can I do to change things? Before I can begin to answer that I must first settle upon what must be changed.
The action required to initiate the process of restoring Scotland’s independence can only be taken by the Scottish Government working through the Scottish Parliament. That’s why the erosion of our Parliament’s power and denial of its status is such a threat. There is bound to come a point where our Parliament is so diminished as to be incapable of serving its function as the true democratic voice and agent of Scotland’s people. That point is almost certainly closer than most people think. And there is nothing to prevent the British state accelerating its final solution to the ‘Scottish problem’. The only logical conclusion is that what must be done is to force the present Scottish Government to act and to do so immediately.
There is no way to effect a change of government in time to save Scotland so the only choice is to change the behaviour of the government we have. Anything else is pure fantasy or woeful defeatism.
How might we change the behaviour of Sturgeon and her administration? Again, there is only one way. The only force with the potential to change the behaviour of the government is the people. Only the combined strength of the people has the remotest chance of making something happen. The trouble is, we’ve forgotten how to combine. Or we’re convinced that the only time we can combine is formal democratic events such as elections. Or we’re content only to make the effort to combine for the purpose of elections. Effortful combination over, we return to the cold comfort of powerlessness.
But the question was what can I do about it. Not what can we do about it. I’m just a blogger with a relatively tiny readership. Notwithstanding the demonising diatribes of buffoons such as Pete Wishart, bloggers such as myself have vanishingly little influence. It is for certain that we have no actual power. Spittle-flecked Wishartian rants about how ‘The Bloggers’ are destroying the entire independence movement are the stuff of insanity. If I had the power to do that then I would surely also have the power to heal the independence movement. I would have the power to rid the Yes movement of the cancer of factionalism. I have no such power. Wishart and his ilk are talking the awfiest shite when they try to blame bloggers such as myself for a situation over which we have not the smallest control.
I cannot effect the popular combination that the situation calls for. I cannot meaningfully influence the actions of others, far less command them. I have control over my own actions and nothing more.
Combination can be formal. It can be planned and organised and managed. Or it can be spontaneous. It can just happen. In either case, combination requires that individuals be prepared to do alone that which they hope will be done by a combination of people. We cannot stand as many if we are not prepared to stand alone. Combination occurs when the cause for which we are prepared to stand alone is a cause worthy enough to be shared by others.
The individual may not have an effect. But the individual always counts.
On the afternoon of Tuesday 31 August 2021 I shall be standing outside the Scottish Parliament. I am content to stand alone. The cause for which I stand is worth at least that. I choose to do this now because I am firmly persuaded that action on the constitutional issue must happen immediately. That is to say, before the next Parliamentary recess early in October. I take the view that I would be derelict in my duty as a citizen of Scotland if I failed to take a stand.
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