Sunday, September 21, 2014
Scottish Independence: The Glorious Failure and the Glorious Revolution
It hasn't been easy being a YES supporter in the 48 hours since Scotland's latest glorious failure.
First there was the pain of defeat.
Then a mob of unionist bigots descended upon them in Glasgow's George Square where they had been peacefully camping out for days...
Tossing flares, singing Rule Britannia, chanting the Orange Lodge slogan "No Surrender," or racist stuff like "Asians out."
Giving the Nazi salute...
Assaulting them, stealing their flags.
Or just acting like only some of the Protestant supremacist thugs in that city can act...
I know, because I was once stabbed by one them, even though I'm a Protestant myself, after attending a soccer game with some Catholic friends.
And they are the scum of the earth.
Then came the resignation of the leader who had led them to within sight of their independence dream.
Scottish National Party Leader Alex Salmond said today he will step down as first minister of Scotland and resign as head of the party that led the campaign for independence.
Salmond, 59, told reporters at a news conference Friday he was proud of the campaign and the record turnout for Thursday's vote. "For Scotland, the campaign is not over, and the dream will never die."
As I knew he would, after seeing this photo of him leaving Aberdeen for Edinburgh on referendum night...
Which made me feel very sad, and prompted me to send him this message:
Because that's the good news. The dream WILL not die. And Scotland's latest glorious failure could still turn out to be its finest hour.
The vibrant and euphoric yes movement, which, during the debate, evolved from a small base to come within a whisker of a sensational victory, will be massively disappointed that they didn't manage to get it done.
They will have to cool their ardour a while longer, although anybody believing they'll stop now is indulging in wishful thinking. Why would they? The process and the subsequent debate, which they won handsomely, took support for independence from around 30% to 45% and heading north. It's now established as the compelling narrative of the post-devolution generation, while no dominates only in a declining constituency of elderly voters. Yes may have lost this battle, but the war is being won.
Because with its democratic reawakening that small country has sent a big message to the world.
The Scots, so often a regarded as a thrawn tribe with their best years behind them, have shown the western world that the corporate-led, neo-liberal model for the development of this planet, through G7 'sphere of influence' states on bloated military budgets, has a limited appeal.
So what might appear as a glorious failure, especially for the young who supported the YES side so strongly.
And whose hopes have been temporarily crushed...
Could instead be the beginning of a glorious revolution.
Even those unionists celebrating that a majority chose to stay with the United Kingdom have to concede that this result will bring as much turbulence as resolution.
For if David Cameron fails to deliver on his promise to give Scotland more powers, there will be another referendum and sooner rather than later.
If he tries to escape his commitment – as Salmond, in his resignation press conference, suggested he might – what little faith remains in him and the entire Westminster system will be shot. He will have confirmed the nationalists’ most damning verdict on the UK parties: that they are liars and cheats who will never deliver for Scotland.
Break this vow and neither Labour nor Lib Dems nor Tories will be believed again. Salmond is right that after such a monumental betrayal, Scots would be “incandescent”. They certainly wouldn’t wait a generation to break away.
Because just like Scotland will never be the same again, the spirit of the Yes side will ensure that it will never again be politics as usual in that country.
Simply defined, that spirit was the determination to ask people a profound, even existential question: not to trap them in the weeds of this tax cut or that benefit change, but to ask them what kind of society they want to be. Such questions need not be only about identity. Sometimes, as perhaps in Scotland, they can be about both identity and the desire to live under a different, more just economic system.
And far from fading away that spirit, and that desire for change, can only grow.
When you get a popular revolution driven by hope and optimism like this, that energy will not dissolve into nothing. It can only grow. In the aftermath of a normal election, the losing party is disheartened and their supporters deflated. The difference here is that the whilst the official No campaign has finished and will no doubt try to delete all evidence of it ever existing, people still make the Yes movement and we will continue to campaign and dream. We will always put hope over fear.
And hope will eventually conquer fear...
This will be my last post on the struggle for Scottish independence, for a while at least.
Because I've got to focus on the liberation of my own country, Canada.
Where we are preparing to battle the same Con enemies, and the same Big Business and MSM forces they did.
But I can't leave without once again thanking those YES side dreamers for making me believe again in the possibility of real change.
And letting them know what I believe with all my heart.
They were magnificent.
And like it has so many times before.
Scotland WILL rise again...
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