The campaign for indyref 2 is stepping up from the dejected dawdle we’ve endured for the last 7 years to a brisk, brusque step. And it can’t come soon enough. The SNP government has announced its intentions to hold the referendum in late 2023, giving us two years to recover enough from covid for people to be able consider massive constitutional change.
The timing seems well thought-through. This gives us another two years to prepare, to campaign, to strengthen the case for independence. Support for independence has only been going up but much of this can be credited to the SNP’s leadership during covid, whether this will be enough to carry us over the finish line, however, is yet to be seen.
Given the mounting crises we will face before this year is out (gas price increases, CO2 shortages, crippling lorry driver shortages and likely much more and much worse to come) and the very real likelihood that they will follow through to 2022 – then we can’t expect people not to fall victim to the ever present and malicious fear campaigns which are rife amongst the pro-union side’s arguments. What is becoming ever clearer to people though, is the fact that the majority of theses crises are utterly self-inflicted. Boris the Butcher and his cabal of dipshits have brought almost every single one of these issues upon us for no reason whatsoever. So Christmas might be cancelled but don’t worry soon you’ll be able to buy an ounce of tatties – likely because that’s all that will be left on the shelf.
Much as I would be over the moon with a 2022 referendum there are too many variables. We simply can’t guarantee a win. But if we delay until 2023 the odds look much better for us. A yes vote is vital in this next referendum, another loss would cripple the momentum we have gathered in the independence movement – putting any hope of the future we’ve all worked so hard for, back for decades. We’ve worked too hard to risk it all with a pre-emptive vote. The people who are prepared to throw it all away are not living in the same world as the rest of us, the loonies who inhabit the fringe of the independence movement cannot be given the power to cost the people of Scotland a better future.
The leadership of the pro-independence parties would do well to remember that catering to these fringes will not only cost us independence but it will cost them their voter bases and their position in government. There are an increasingly vocal minority, (many of whom have gravitated towards Alex Salmond’s Alba party) who it seems would rather lose a referendum on their terms than win one on anyone else’s. Too many people seem intent upon forgetting how it is we must win independence. Not by taking increasingly hardline stances or starting a revolution but instead we have to cater to the undecided and the soft no’s. Anything else and we will lose.
Right now we have the best case for independence we will ever have. A viciously right-wing tory government which has just dropped more than 60,000 people into poverty in Scotland – 20,000 of whom are children – with their brutal and cruel welfare credit cuts and unnecessary rise in national insurance – effectively taxing the young for their ability to work, as opposed to doing the morally just thing and taxing those who can afford it. This is expected to raise a paltry £12 billion, when a one-off wealth tax in this country could raise many, many times that.
The best part of all of this is that it is being done solely to fund increased costs of social care in England. Here in Scotland everyone who needs it, no matter their age, receives free personal care at home. If that doesn’t sum up the stark difference between these two governments, nothing will.
2023 is vital. Two weeks ago we saw a national day of action by the pro-independence organisation ‘Believe in Scotland’ and independent Yes groups the length and breadth of the country. Last weekend, thousands of independence supporters rallied in Edinburgh, at the behest of the group All Under One Banner, to march up to the front gates of Holyrood to remind our elected representatives exactly what it is that the people of this country voted for only a few months ago.
The campaign has already begun. If we are to achieve the future this country deserves we must continue with this same momentum and conviction, making the positive arguments for independence in the face of lies and threats from an increasingly desperate, irrelevant and feart tory government in London. This is our moment.
Illustration by Adam Losekoot