Despite dodgy knees and a strong aversion to large crowds I had fully intended going to Yestival on Sunday. Reading the statement by the event’s organisers, I’m glad it has been postponed. If that statement is any indication then I have dodged the bullet of Spending my Sunday afternoon standing in Freedom Square listening to speaker after speaker refer to of the proposed 2023 referendum in similar terms. The circular to supporters from Yestival organisers says,
We have our date with destiny. It is 19th October 2023. Demand the right to vote on that day for a new, fairer, more democratic, and nuclear weapon-free Scotland no longer held back by the corrupt and rotten Westminster chains of exploitation and domination.
I don’t want to listen to people perpetuating the myth that is implied by phrases such as “date with destiny”. I don’t want to be obliged to stand in silence as speaker after speaker repeats the lies about what we will be voting for on 19th October 2023 – if the vote actually takes place. That vote will do nothing to bring the restoration of Scotland’s independence so much as one day closer. It will have no effect at all. What is proposed is not an independence referendum in any meaningful sense. It is a glorified opinion poll.
The sole purpose of the referendum as proposed is to allow Nicola Sturgeon to claim that she delivered the vote she has been mandated to deliver for eight years. Or at least, that she tried to deliver it, but was thwarted by the evil Tories. It’s a win/win situation for Sturgeon. Whatever the UK Supreme Court decides, she and her party will be armed for the next election. As ever, that election and not the restoration of Scotland’s independence is the SNP’s main priority. Which is as it should be and no more than we would expect of a political party. But not to the exclusion of Scotland’s cause.
We know that the proposed mock referendum will have no effect because both Nicola Sturgeon MSP and Dorothy Bain KC have told us that it will have no effect. When you’re told by the First Minister of Scotland and the chief legal officer of the Scottish Government and the Crown in Scotland (Lord Advocate), you probably should believe it. Yet still we have the likes of the Yestival organisers leading people to believe that the mock referendum is their “date with destiny”.
Sunday’s event should have been a protest against the mock referendum. The postponed event should be a protest against the mock referendum. Every march, rally and other event involving independence activists should be a protest against the mock referendum and a demand for a real constitutional referendum with direct legal consequences.
Let me ask you a question. When you voted for the SNP all those times since 2014 did you think you were voting for a mock referendum? Or did you suppose you were voting for an opportunity to exercise your inalienable right of self-determination? I know I always assumed it was the latter. So I am not content with what is now being offered. And you shouldn’t be content either. If you are convinced, as I am, that Scotland’s independence must be restored as a matter of the utmost urgency, then you should be as offended and angry as I am at the attempt to fob us off with this pretendy independence referendum.
As for the Yestival organisers and all the others in the Yes movement who should know better, they need to take a long hard look at themselves. But not too long. Time is not on our side.
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