In a short nine months we’ve gone from a national debate characterised by limitless inquisitive energy, with new forces, sub-movements and alliances spawning each day, to something that feels binary; a barren political debate steeped in a relentlessly negative tribal exchange. Bella is abandoning and rejecting this mentality.
Instead we’ll be preparing and commissioning articles of research that will make up our Indyref 2 Research Project. The project is in three parts: process, politics and vision – and will run over three months. Each section will be published online and then readers will be invited to contribute changes, amendments, and improvements. The emphasis will be on honest self-reflection not blame. This is an exercise in We-Think re-directing and re-harnessing the creative energy of Yes.
At the end of the process we’ll then publish the paper in print and as an Ebook pamphlet.
The #Indyref2 research project is structured in three areas:
1. VISION values, structures and imagining. Starting from fresh, with a clean palatte and from first principles. What kind of society do you want to live in? Why does Scotland need to be transformed and how can we do it?
2. POLITICS, looking at how to build a case for independence, focusing on : the economic case, the currency question, oil and gas domination, the fragility (and potential) of the renewables sector, the financial sector and the branch office phenomenon, European membership and the weakness of the European project.
3. PROCESS, looking at how get to the next referendum, what are the steps, conditions and requirements for this and focusing on legality, media plurality and cultural confidence.
We think this is an essential starting point to a process that is open-ended. We will do this in a way that is multi-dimensional, thinking beyond the narrow constraints we have been channelled into and we will be bringing in voices and experiences from around the world to stimulate and inform the discussion. We don’t see this as a sideshow from the need to defend communities against austerity and the Conservative government, nor is it an excuse to NOT hold to account our government in Holyrood and tackle the many problems we can and should fix NOW with the powers we have, we see this as a parallel process engaged in and informed by the day-to-day.
There are significant obstacles to holding and winning a second referendum, but there are significant advantages we didn’t have in place before 2014.
An entire generation of people have been politicised and radicalised. As Richard Seymour writes in ‘Against Austerity’: “A massive expansion of political democracy in as many apparatuses as possible is not just desirable in itself. It would weaken elite domination. It would, in a sense, weaken the state itself – precisely in the sense that the Trilateral Commission identified in the 1970s, by inducing a ‘crisis of democracy’, overloading the state with popular demands and depleting its authority over popular classes.” This is what we have already achieved and need to extend and deepen. Power relations have been exposed and the disavowal of the botched home rule legislation is plain to see.
The experience of being exposed to British propaganda is unlikely to be forgotten. So many lies have been dispelled and disproven, they can’t be trotted out again by the unionists for fear of ridicule. The total disrespect (‘deafening cheers’) open hostility (‘Junkie Scotland’) and brazen lying is all noted.
We have a pro-indy bloc in Westminster and a likely increased pro-indy bloc in Holyrood from next year with a more radical mix of greens and left voices too. We have the beginnings of a more powerful alternative media and an electorate schooled in de-coding the mainstream and trained in media literacy.
If we can learn from our own campaign and strategic mistakes, and also look towards new methods and approaches we are in a position of great strength. As the full effect of Osborne’s £12 billion austerity cuts hits home, as the farce of HS2 is recognised, as the limitations of devolution are realised daily and the full horror of being tethered to the UK’s disastrous foreign policies are understood, motivation won’t be a problem. The Lib Dem coalition gave the last govt the veneer of respectability but this is now Conservatism red in tooth and claw. With Michael Gove, Amber Rudd Philip Hammond and Theresa May as recruitment agents, the drive for a second referendum is clear.
You are invited to participate, collaborate and contribute.