Mapping a New Scotland
All is perception. The endless search for ‘facts’ and ‘the truth’ about independence is not a futile one but it’s not what it presents to be. What people want, I think, is authority, certainty. What they are being asked to do is to make their own minds up. To act for themselves, embrace their own authority. It’s not something we’re used to. That’s the point. Dependency culture breeds conformity. What we face is a crisis of value and imagination and deeply ingrained low expectation and apathy.
Someone very close to me recently said “I’m persuadable but I’m a bit scared”. A very honest and open thing to say. That’s probably widely true but that reality – that fear – is one that’s been nurtured and cultivated. People don’t ‘naturally’ live in a state of fearing managing their own affairs.
Take the map of the USA with each state renamed to match a country in the world with the same level of GDP. It would be an anathema to republican America. A heresy. We need to dig deep and foster new visions and understandings not just of what Scotland is (warts and all) but what Scotland could be. The ability to see beyond a given situation, to see the potentiality in a situation is going to become key. This is our challenge.
When are we finally going to create a movement that looks to the future instead of the past? When will we begin to learn from what is being born instead of what is dying?
This pursuit of security in the past, this attempt to find a haven in a fixed dogma and an organisational hierarchy as substitutes for creative thought is bitter evidence of how little the union has to offer. The status quo is austerity. The old substance of exploitative society reappears in new forms, draped in the Union Jack, decorated by portraits of yesterday and adorned with other sacred litanies. This week the eternal hesitance of the Devolution sideshow has passed.
We need a new map that charts real empowerment not just a formal constitutional independence. That’s where the real energy lies.
What would a new map of Scotland look like? One where bigotry was a thing of the past? Where we didn’t lead Europe in childhood obesity of diabetes? A map where social inequality didn’t disfigure communities? A map marked by high mountains of aspiration, deep lochs of creativity, well worn paths of solidarity and respect of diversity.