2007 - 2021

Forget about 2014

I remember waking up to a hangover that was worse than Cordoba. We had stayed with our closest friends in Glasgow and had stayed up most of the night. We all walked about the next day in stunned silence. Our country had voted for dependence.

The seventh anniversary of the independence referendum has triggered a rash of memories and remembrance. There’s no surprise as this was for many many people the most remarkable political experience of their entire lives, a unique moment when millions were mobilised and inspired like they never had been before. Arriving in Glasgow just before the referendum felt like arriving in the closest to a revolutionary situation we’d ever created. The atmosphere was intense. The 2014 referendum was defined not by the official Yes campaign, not by the political parties but by the people. The defining characteristic of the campaign was self-organisation and mass participation. It re-created the ‘town hall’ meeting and face-to-face public debate and gave voice to a multitude of people who were previously disenfranchised. If the movement was derided by some for being ‘idealistic’ I firmly believe that was (and is) one of its greatest qualities. Having said all of this there’s very good reasons why the Yes movement should forget about 2014.

Nostalgia about how great 2014 won’t help us win next time. Fight the campaign of today not the campaign of yesterday. The political landscape, the figures and personalities of 2014 have all gone. Scotland and Britain are very different places in 2021:

  1. In 2014 the Better Together campaign attempted to put across the idea that Britain was a progressive, multi-cultural project, it was all Mo Farah and “Remember the Olympics opening ceremony”? Now the idea of presenting Britain as a progressive force is just laughable. The ‘hostile environment’, the reality of Priti Patel as Home Secretary and the racist Prime Minister mean that’s just not feasible.
  2. In 2014 supporters of Scottish independence were presented – and vilified – as “separatists” – Post-Brexit that’s no longer credible. England has led an embarrassing retreat from the world. The idea that a new contemporary Scottish democracy would be ‘parochial’ no longer has any potency. Scotland would be, like Ireland just now, be bypassing rUK to re-engage with the world.
  3. In 2014 the Better Together campaign relentlessly presented Britain as a rock of stability. “Why move house in a storm?” played on peoples fear of change and instability. Now with the supply chain teetering on the brink of collapse that claim looks pitiful. Project Fear 2 will have to navigate through this reality, and a general public weary and wary of unionist scare tactics.
  4. In 2014 Unionist politicians played on the idea of Britain being a powerful and respected entity in world affairs with influence and reach. After the fall of Kabul and the self-inflicted shambles of Brexit the idea of Britain being a respected and powerful force holds no credibility.
  5. Our place in Europe was said to be guaranteed by voting No – according to Ruth Davidson and Blair MacDougall – now people know that to be the opposite of the truth. That betrayal won’t be forgotten, nor will the economic fallout from the Brexit debacle.
  6. The leadership of Jim Murphy and Ruth Davidson and Willie Rennie has been replaced by the leadership of Anas Sarwar and Douglas Ross and Alex-Cole Hamilton. Whatever you thought of Murphy and Davidson and Rennie, there’s no doubt that their replacements have even less standing and even less credibility. That’s going some. While Cameron was a discredited and reviled figure, seen as entitlement personified, he is nothing next to the ratings for the current Prime Minister. Gordon Brown is the ever-present of the unionist campaign, but even his elevated status has diminishing returns as the folk-memory of a viable Labour alternative fades into the rear-view mirror of history.
  7. The demographics of independence are overwhelmingly with the young. For those who voted Yes in 2014 in their droves they have been abandoned by the British State ever since. The new cohort that were too young seven years ago are only voting one way. We desperately need to make space and new spaces for the voice of the young.
  8. The climate crisis didn’t have the prominence in 2014 it does now. This is the defining existential issue of our time and it has created a completely new dynamic in the debate about Scotland’s future. In this dynamic elements of the old guard of the Yes movement have little relevance.
  9. The realities of the pandemic are not, as some have contrived, something that we are passed or over. How we recover, how we reconstruct society – and who has the most compelling case – are the defining features of the next referendum.
  10. The Unionist case is in tatters, they are leaderless and reduced to an embarrassing effort to deny democracy. They are more desperate than they have ever been.

Added to this the perfect storm is coming of “a very difficult winter” – a spike in fuel bills and food prices, the Universal Credit cut, and talk of a three day week. Johnson is presiding over a shambles.

All of this is like one giant open-goal. The independence case has been hampered by SNP over-caution, lack of strategy and direction. The sterlingisation policy is a farce and the inability to ratchet up pressure on the British Government is inexcusable. The inability to advance a national energy company, the failure to create institutions and structures that could create a momentum towards independence is a huge loss.

Now, the Yes movement, more united than it has ever been is returning. After years of being in a defensive mode we must now be in development and a flourishing mode. We should use the moment of trying to recover from the pandemic as a springboard to envisage a new Scotland as the post-war era saw the creation of the NHS, we should see this time as momentous as it is, a moment for big change and transformation. To do this we need to forget about 2014 and fight the campaign ahead of us. Nostalgia pulls hard on the heart particularly when the romance of creating a Scottish democracy is at play. But we now need hard-heads not tinfoil ones, to build new strategies and speak OUT to the electorate and wider society not IN to the movement and each other.

Help to support independent Scottish journalism by subscribing or donating today.



Comments (59)

Join the Discussion

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Graeme says:

    Spot on, Mike!

  2. Squigglypen says:

    Don’t forget 2014..learn from it. On to the last battle. I didn’t wake up hungover and depressed about the insanity of dependence…..just sober, snarling and sharpening my claws and wits for the final hurdle.Take no snash from those who think we canny run oor own country..an opponent who glares at you does make you think twice…no wallowing in our cups….get ready…and vote for Scotland. Consign the rest o’ this toxic union tae hell…and go forward..open for business at last.

  3. Robert says:

    Totally ignoring the elephant in the room that is the deep divide over gender identity and the GRA reform, cutting across conventional party, left-right, and indy-unionist lines…

    1. That’s a very real divide that’s true, though I’m not sure how relevant it is to the prospects for independence? Not every article can be about everything and there are a great many important issues not touched upon here.

      1. Robert says:

        It’s unarguably one of biggest changes in politics over the past seven years. Both “pro-indy” parties at Holyrood are making it a top priority as a way of appearing progressive and a substitute for actually making any progress on Indy or any of the other pressing social & environmental issues including those you’ve mentioned.
        But sure, OK, nothing of relevance there!

        1. Wait, what? The SNP and Greens are progressing GRA legislation to avoid independence? Er, ok.

          1. Robert says:

            Not “to avoid independence” (although there are those who suspect it’s the last thing the SNP leadership really want.) They’re doing it because gender ideology is a superficially progressive agenda, but which actually aligns with male privilege and the interests of big tech and the pharma industry. This being the case, it’s much easier to promote that agenda than it is to actually get to grips with, say, poverty, drugs, or (for that matter) independence.

    2. Wee Stonehouse says:

      Makes sense to get Indy first and discuss these other issues without the Yoon media down south trying to stir things?

      1. Mons Meg says:

        But those are the issues through which we’ll define our ‘independence’. Independence isn’t something that exists independently of those issues. In fact, it isn’t anything at all yet. It will be defined by how we go on to decide those very issues. The proof of the pudding will be in the eating.

        It’s all very well saying that the priority is to win independence; that, once we have independence, we’ll be in control of our own destiny and we’ll be able to decide all these things for ourselves. But that begs the question of what the processes by which we’ll make those decisions will be, how those processes will be instituted, and how they’ll be safeguarded.

        For me to vote Yes, the Scottish government needs at the very least to show me a political prospectus that outlines how democracy will work in an independent Scotland (assuming, of course, that the plan is for it to be a democracy at all). Without such a prospectus, I can’t know what kind of Christmas I’d be voting for and whether or not it would be any better than the Christmasses we currently have.

        1. Rodric Selbie says:

          Well we know what we have today, a Westminster Parliament described as the most corrupt on the planet, a Parliament that has committed crimes that include Murder, Illegal War, War Crimes, Terrorism, Torture, Crimes against Humanity, Corruption, Espionage, Treason, Drug Trafficking, Paedophilia, Rape, Indecent Assault, Sex Trafficking, Arson, Blackmail, GBH, Bribery, Insider Trading, Cash for Questions, Asset Stripping, Tax Evasion, Money Laundering, Expenses Fraud, Theft, Perjury, Phone Hacking, Spousal Assault, Perverting the Course of Justice, Cover-Ups, Cash for Honours, Conspiracy and Forgery. A Parliament that doesn’t only cover up for paedophiles they support them as they claim it gains them brownie points with businessmen.

          I’m for Independence, that’s far bigger than a political party. 76 Countries have left Westminster rule, all had a political party at the helm, not one of those Countries are governed today by the same political party, what makes you think Scotland will become the first western democracy ruled by one party? So for me it matters not one jot what future the present Scottish Government describes as that will all change after a YES vote.

          1. Mons Meg says:

            ‘So for me it matters not one jot what future the present Scottish Government describes as that will all change after a YES vote.’

            Will it? What makes you think that?

          2. Rodric Selbie says:

            As I said, Scotland will not become the first western democracy controlled by one political party, if you look at the SNP they have MSPs with right to left views but they all want Independence and once that is achieved then many will form new political parties. I look forward to choosing the best manifesto from whoever to take Scotland forward. You mentioned “Democracy” but seem to be content with not having that?

            Democracy in the UK doesn’t exist.

            Boris Johnson to become leader of the Tories was decided by 0.2% of the UK population, all Tories, 52% over 65 yrs old, 97% White Caucasian, 71% Male those members are the well off in society, many will benefit from Brexit, the latest offer of Tax cuts along with their siphoned money in Tax Havens will now be safe due to escaping the recent EU laws on Tax evasion.

            We continue to use First Past the Post – an archaic system which is only used by Britain and former British colonies, ensuring that there are only ever two main parties. The Tory government now planning to redraw constituency boundaries resulting in reducing the number of constituencies likely to be won by the Labour party. The UK will then become more like a dictatorship.

            The UK has an unelected House of Lords the largest in the world bar China that’s more than represent MEP’s in all 27 Countries in the EU put together.

            The UK has an unelected hereditary monarch that the public has and will never get a vote on.

            Just look at the last General Election. Scotland voted SNP, Wales voted Labour and Northern Ireland voted DUP, yet because 41% of England voted Tory we all end up under the Tories. And that Tory Government gets to govern on a 23.9% of the eligible voters.

            Brexit: The UK is made up of 4 Countries, England makes up 85% of the UK population, 2 of those Countries voted to remain and the other 2 voted to leave, let’s throw in Gibraltar who voted remain, even if Wales had voted to remain the result would stand. The UK so-called “Family of Nations” only appears to have one member as when it comes to General elections and constitutional matters the other 3 Countries may as well not turn up to vote as England will determine our direction. That’s not England’s fault just solely because of the population size.

            Democracy in the UK looks to me like a family of 4 and when it comes to treats for the kids, mum hands the same kid 3 and a bit of the 4 sweets and the other 3 share a bit of the one sweet left, sooner or later those 3 kids are going to get pissed of with their household democracy.

            Westminster delivers very little democracy for England for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland ZERO is delivered.

          3. Mons Meg says:

            ‘Scotland will not become the first western democracy controlled by one political party.’

            It certainly won’t be the first. There are lots of ‘democracies’ controlled by the party that can command a majority in the legislative assembly. We should hold out for someone more democratic than this.

            Democracy in the UK doesn’t exist.

            Yes, it does – after a fashion. It’s true that, in the UK, political parties elect their own leaders (Boris was indeed elected by the membership of the Conservative Party) and that parties exist to win control of government so that it can use the power of the state to enact its members’ interests. That’s the case is every other Western democracy, in which politics is constructed after the adversarial and competitive model of capitalist economy.

            But what guarantee do we have that our democracy will be any different in an ‘independent’ Scotland? You seem to be operating rather on wishful thinking.

            We need to demand more from the ‘independence’ merchants than we did in the run-up to the 2014 vote. We need to deliver the ultimatum that we’ll vote for ‘independence’ if and only if they give a cast-iron guarantee that, if they win, they’ll immediately disempower the nation in favour of our real communities and reform our self-government in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity.

            That will be the minimum price of my vote in any future referendum on ‘independence’. I won’t be giving it away cheap.

          4. SleepingDog says:

            @Mons Meg, “cast-iron”, I see what you did there. Can you point to any ‘cast-iron guarantees’ in history that might set a precedent? Here was me thinking you might be waiting until the heat death of the universe for one of those.

            And if there was a cast-iron guarantee, would that not be a denial of human agency, of the unpredictability of complex systems with adaptive agents, of events which often overtake political decision-making, and the likelihood that we face an escalating series of emergencies on the planet?

            Isn’t any politician who uses the words ‘cast-iron guarantee’ immediately revealed as a charlatan?

          5. Axel P Kulit says:

            ” disempower the nation in favour of our real communities and reform our self-government in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity.”

            What on earth does that mean? How, other than remaining in the UK, do you disempower the nation?

          6. Mons Meg says:

            Every election manifesto is a cast-iron guarantee, SD.

            The Scottish government’s 2013 ‘White Paper’ on independence was extremely vague on just how decision-making would be organised in an ‘independent’ Scotland. This time around, I’ll be looking (like last time) for a prospectus that provides for a political system that gives free rein to our collective agency as adaptive agents in the framing of both the problems that beset us and our responses to those problems. At the bare minimum, this prospectus will include the undertaking to disempower the nation in favour of our real communities and reform government in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity.

            What sort of independence prospectus will you be looking for? What’s your vote worth?

          7. Rodric Selbie says:

            You demand so much from Scotland but accept so little on offer in this so-called Union, the corrupt elite will be oh so proud of you 🙂

          8. SleepingDog says:

            @Mons Meg, on the contrary, not only are election manifestos not legally enforceable in the UK, and constituencies elect a representative who can switch parties (though very recently this can trigger a recall vote), but the UK government is planning to remove the Electoral Commission’s powers to prosecute breaches of election law. With the Scottish Parliament specifically designed to avoid the frequent one-party governments of Westminster, manifesto compromises are baked in and intended to be inevitable, as arrangements and coalitions between parties become the desired norm.

            PM Johnson’s pledge on the NHS being off the table for USAmerican trade negotiations may have been one of the least effective cast-iron guarantees since the Tay Rail Bridge opened in 1878, so perhaps you mean ‘brittle, unreliable and likely to disastrously collapse under the winds of change dropping its precious human cargo into the drowning deep’?
            although there is stiff competition. Or perhaps you simply share Johnson’s passing brush of acquaintance with science and technology that stretches all the way back to classical antiquity (in Greece and Rome) and all the way forward to classical antiquity.

            In any event, if you want to say ‘sure bet’, you might be advised passing yourself off as an expert in, amongst other things, metallurgy and British political systems, and brush up on some of the advances of the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries CE. And really, why would I have faith in any piece of paper waved by a politician guaranteeing good things ahead on the basis of their alleged wisdom, foresight and negotiation skills?

          9. Axel P Kulit says:

            “why would I have faith in any piece of paper waved by a politician guaranteeing good things ahead”

            Neville Chamberlain.

          10. Mons Meg says:

            Do you think, Roderic? Why do you think that? Rejecting what the ‘independence’ merchants are offering me for my vote doesn’t entail acceptance of what the anti-‘independence’ merchants are offering, does it? Last time, I voted for neither party since neither offered the changes I want, and I said as much on the ballot paper.

          11. Rodric Selbie says:

            Your Quote “I voted for neither party since neither offered the changes I want” what a selfish statement, look around our cities and stop thinking about yourself, if you can’t do that then you should vote NO and back the Tories. You will fit in nicely LOL

            Let’s have a look at some of the individuals or organisations who were involved with, or supportive of, the winning side in the Scottish independence referendum, the EU referendum, and the Donald Trump presidential campaign.

            Blood & Honour

            Scottish independence: NO
            EU membership: LEAVE
            Trump for President: SUPPORTIVE

            Breitbart News

            Scottish independence: NO
            EU membership: LEAVE
            Trump for President: SUPPORTIVE

            Britain First

            Scottish independence: NO
            EU membership: LEAVE
            Trump for President: SUPPORTIVE

            British Democratic Party

            Scottish independence: NO
            EU membership: LEAVE
            Trump for President: SUPPORTIVE

            British National Party

            Scottish independence: NO
            EU membership: LEAVE
            Trump for President: SUPPORTIVE

            Candour Magazine

            Scottish independence: NO
            EU membership: LEAVE
            Trump for President: SUPPORTIVE

            Philip Davies MP

            Scottish independence: NO
            EU membership: LEAVE
            Trump for President: SUPPORTIVE

            Michael Fabricant MP

            Scottish independence: NO
            EU membership: LEAVE
            Trump for President: SUPPORTIVE

            Nigel Farage

            Scottish independence: NO
            EU membership: LEAVE
            Trump for President: SUPPORTIVE

            George Galloway

            Scottish independence: NO
            EU membership: LEAVE
            Trump for President: SUPPORTIVE

            The Orange Order

            Scottish independence: NO
            EU membership: LEAVE
            Trump for President: SUPPORTIVE

            Nick Griffin

            Scottish independence: NO
            EU membership: LEAVE
            Trump for President: SUPPORTIVE

            Liberty GB

            Scottish independence: NO
            EU membership: LEAVE
            Trump for President: SUPPORTIVE

            Eddy Morrison (National Front/BNP/others)

            Scottish independence: NO
            EU membership: LEAVE
            Trump: SUPPORTIVE

            National Action

            Scottish independence: NO
            EU membership: LEAVE
            Trump for President: SUPPORTIVE

            National Front

            Scottish independence: NO
            EU membership: LEAVE
            Trump for President: SUPPORTIVE

            Jacob Rees-Mogg MP

            Scottish independence: NO
            EU membership: LEAVE
            Trump for President: SUPPORTIVE

            Tommy Robinson (Former leader, EDL)

            Scottish independence: NO
            EU membership: LEAVE
            Trump for President: SUPPORTIVE

            Scottish Defence League

            Scottish independence: NO
            EU membership: LEAVE
            Trump for President: SUPPORTIVE

            Iain Duncan Smith MP

            Scottish independence: NO
            EU membership: LEAVE
            Trump for President: SUPPORTIVE

            Donald Trump

            Scottish independence: NO
            EU membership: LEAVE
            Trump for President: SUPPORTIVE


            Scottish independence: NO
            EU membership: LEAVE
            Trump for President: SUPPORTIVE

          12. Mons Meg says:

            Come off it, SD! Who said anything about ‘legally enforceable? It used ‘cast-iron guarantee in exactly the same sense that Alison Thewless used it when she said a couple of weeks ago: “The UK Government must give a cast-iron guarantee that Scotland will receive every penny we are due in Barnett consequentials if it moves ahead with Tory plans to hike National Insurance.”

            I’ll say it again: “The Scottish Government must give a cast-iron guarantee that, if it wins the next referendum on independence, it will immediately disempower the nation in favour of our real communities and reform our self-government in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity.”

            It may not be what you want, but it’s what I’m after in return for my vote in the next referendum.

          13. SleepingDog says:

            @Mons Meg, like other commenters, I am intrigued as to your justification for using such divergent double standards on the choice between the Union and Independence. Why set such a high bar for Independence when you set no bar at all for the Union? We can see where politics under the Union is headed, and here is the Electoral Commission statement on government plans to make electoral crime easier:
            “Voters have the right to expect that any political party or campaigner which deliberately or recklessly breaks electoral law will face prosecution.”

            Of course, one of the beauties of Scottish independence, assuming we are accepted into the United Nations, is that our relations with the rest of the UK will be guaranteed by international treaty, whereas at the moment the Scottish public have no defence against Westminster legal supremacy (it is, after all, a theocratic-monarchy running an empire without a codified constitution where the Prime Minister (such as Blair or Johnson) can exert great and largely unchecked executive power by assuming the royal prerogatives. Where are your guarantees that the UK will turn back from this slide towards totalitarianism, where the BBC, always more of a state than a public broadcaster, is increasingly becoming a government broadcaster beholden to something increasingly looking like a one-party arrangement, whose blatant placement of cronies in public organisations (including the BBC, House of Lords, and various cultural boards) suggests a party beyond shame? A Conservative Party which seems to be trying to outdo resurgent Japanese militarism in its efforts to propagandise the nation’s children on unconditional love for homeland? While the planet burns? And the UK’s diplomatic standing decays amidst its attempts to cling on to imperial colonies, its only friends are royalist, protestor-torturing, misogynistic theocracies, and even its foreign military adventures are catastrophic? And its finance-capitalist, arms-dealing, debt-and-overconsumption-based economy is only one crash away from disaster?

            Why the love for the UK?

          14. Mons Meg says:

            ‘…you should vote NO and back the Tories.’

            Why on earth would I want to do that? They’re not offering what I’m looking for either.

        2. Niemand says:

          Yeah but you have to have faith to some extent otherwise pure reason would probably stick with the status quo as it will generally be cautious and pragmatic.

          What I would say about the ‘sort it all out once independence is gained’ stance is that quite a few of the current big issues are actually at the behest of the Scottish government already, not Westminster, and have been for some time so can’t see anything about them changing much. But still, it is probably better to try and deal with them where there is no longer the weight of trying to gain autonomy hanging over everything. I do wonder though, independence might actually see the rise of the right, not left – some of the signs are already there.

          1. Mons Meg says:

            ‘Right’, ‘left’, whatever… That’s so 20th century. I’m more concerned that our decision-making will be no more democratic than it is at present; that it will remain in the hands of the bourgeoisie. The only difference will be that we’ll have our own wee Westminster in Edinburgh. We need to keep voting ‘No’ until we’re guaranteed something better by the Scottish government; namely, real community empowerment, and not just another pig in a poke like the one we were offered last time.

          2. Axel P Kulit says:

            ” We need to keep voting ‘No’ until we’re guaranteed something better by the Scottish government; namely, real community empowerment, and not just another pig in a poke like the one we were offered last time.”

            Keep voting NO and we will never get any community empowerment (whatever that means). Voting YES means we might.

          3. Mons Meg says:

            Yep, and making it a condition of my voting ‘Yes’ will make that ‘might’ even mightier.

            All the ‘independence’ merchants need to do to secure my vote is pledge themselves to disempowering the nation in favour of our real communities and reforming our self-government in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity. Easy peasy!

    3. Wul says:

      I would like this independence campaign to strongly de-bunk the idea that voting for independence is somehow voting for an SNP state or voting (as some, bizarrely, seem to think) Nicola Sturgeon into power as Queen of Scotland forever.

      That way, it doesn’t matter a damn what the SNP think about GRA or any other issue. The autonomy and self-rule of a country is a far, far bigger and more important thing that any poxy political party.

      Independence for Scotland is probably the fastest way to get rid of the SNP’s dominance.

      1. SleepingDog says:

        @Wul, indeed, voting for Scottish independence may be the only practical way of getting rid of the SNP, whose umbrella purpose with have been served and attempts to sustain it would look like careerist politicking.

    4. David McCann says:

      Scottish Independence is the goal, and Scottish Independence has no gender, but to suggest that both pro-indy parties are making it “a top priority as a way of appearing progressive and a substitute for actually making any progress is laughable!
      It’s their raison d’etre!

    5. John Page says:

      And doesn’t it just suit the Brits that this is causing division

  4. Time, the Deer says:

    I will never forget that September. I was still a barkeep at the time and for months, when you switched off the music and turned up the lights at midnight every night, the referendum was *all* people were talking about. I was living in Glasgow city centre, and on the night of the 18th sat on my 8th-floor windowsill watching the streets below thronging with young people singing, beeping car horns, waving Yes flags, celebrating what everyone thought was a victory. I spent most of that night in tears – I never thought I’d see that level of political engagement in my lifetime. The next morning the city was like a morgue. I had the misfortune of working in the East End that day, where the gammon were gearing up for their George Square rally. It was one of the worst shifts I’ve ever worked – and there is plenty competition there.

    That weekend I took myself up The Cobbler, in an attempt to remind myself what it was I loved about this country. On the way up I passed a guy running back down, wearing a kilt and carrying a massive saltire, who was cheered by everyone he passed.

    We can still do this. We have to.

    1. Wul says:

      In a country where most of the voters were educated in a system that can be summed up by “Shut up and do what your told!” it was always going to be a struggle for folk to take a risk and trust in their own power and creativity.

      Hopefully that has changed with 7 years worth of younger voters to replace those who have shuffled off.

  5. Ann Rayner says:

    I remember the 2012 London Olympics opening ceremony and thought it was a con even then as Westminster had already begun the process of privatising the NHS in England by stealth.
    I think people are more aware now of the damage that has been inflicted on Scotland since the NO vote and that is something the YES movement must continue to emphasise. If only the Scottish Government would do the same.
    I now believe another referendum would be a mistake, especially if it were the result of Westminster giving Scotland permission to hold one. It would be under their rules, their question, their franchise and subject to their interference.
    We already have pro-Independence majorities in Holyrood and Westminster Scottish MPs, so get them together, vote on ending the Union, and strt negotiating with Westminster. Scotland is recognised as a sovereign nation and we can ask for help from the EU and UN if England refuses to discuss terms. A referendom could be called after that, run by us, to ratify the new relationship. The question could be on the lines of ‘Do you want Scotland to remain Independent or to rejoin the United Kingdom (or whatever it chose to call itself by then )?

    1. Wul says:

      One of (SNP’s) Mike Russell’s main arguments against any non-Westminster sanctioned independence was that international recognition was the most important factor in creating an independent state.
      Surely the landscape has now changed on that score? There must now be more international support for us to break free than there was in 2014?

  6. Axel P Kulit says:

    We cant forget about 2014.

    The Unionists will remind us all the time and claim, for the next 100 years that we voted to stay and the matter is closed.

    Apart from that we need to learn from 2014 and not make the same mistakes, like being too nice and pretending fighting clean will let us win.

    And complacency generated by confirmation bias in out own little bubbles.

    1. Dougie Harrison says:

      Whatever else we do Axel, we must fight openly and with complete honesty. Running a dirty campaign is all the unionists can do in the face of reality. They know they can only win by telling lies and hoping the Scots electorate are mugs.

      We know the electorate aren’t mugs; they deserve our respect. We can only win by being honest. Which means running a clean campaign.

  7. George Watt says:

    If every economic expert in the world told me independence for Scotland would bring about deprivation and starvation for me personally, I’d still vote for independence. It is the only way forward.

    1. Mikey stewart says:

      Yes but that won’t help us persuade the waverers, for whom this is likely to be a big concern….. particularly when COVID and the furlough scheme will be getting rammed down our throats. We need to really think about the reasons not to become independent, even if to us personally those reasons seem bonkers

  8. SleepingDog says:

    Some good points, although unionism has its leader on the throne. I appreciate that this is a short list but I would also consider the groundswell towards challenging pro-imperialist historiography, in the context of ongoing (for the British) decolonisation, questions over the vast scale of loot filling museums and palaces, Black Lives Matter, the unresolved outcomes of Atlantic racialized chattel slavery, and to an increasing extent what the British Empire did exactly prior to, during and after the two World Wars, the latter of which has become ‘the (only) Good War’. I see Horrible Histories are still putting the boot in:

    The reason why the living detritus of Empire is fomenting culture wars is not because they can win them: they know they have already lost the arguments but are pretending that they haven’t. From British hypocrisy and cant comes projection, which we see across the rightwing ideologies, which can tell you a lot about what the inner core of their belief systems contain. So their enemies are presented as snowflakes when actually the imperial culture-warriors are the thinnest-skinned people, and so on. Victims and perpetrators swap places in imagined role reversal. Anti-fascists are smeared as fascists. Ego-dominance politics seeks to cloak itself in the language of progressives. Science is claimed as a trait of British exceptionalism by anti-science gangs.

    Yes, we stand on the precipice edge of climate tipping points and environmental degradation slipping faster to collapses in global biodiversity, freshwater supply failure, extreme weather, fire, flood, pestilence and war (and so on), with a current political system largely unchanged since waging imperial wars were all the rage, entirely unfit for governing wisely, fostering planetary-realistic ideologies and facilitating collective decision-making. In Scotland, perhaps the greatest contribution we can make to the Earth is breaking away from these old patterns and creating a good example of how to live well. Excess endangers us all, and while unionists are the champions of excess with their royal patron’s environmental footprint casting shadows as dark as secrecy over the realm, our opposition should be to stand in the light with our feet on the ground, our consumption reducing towards the old standards of sufficiency, community reliance, friendships and stewards inside of (not above) nature.

  9. Robbie says:

    Stand in the light with our feet on the ground , we’ll said sleeping dog , that should be one of our slogans in the fight for freedom.

  10. Rodric Selbie says:

    I woke up realizing I had neglected many of my family and friends that I discovered voted NO due to being misinformed, I was concentrating on folk I didn’t know, that has been a work in progress and a massive success for the next referendum 🙂

  11. Mouse says:

    Just check out the ignorant knuckle-dragging comments from the stone-age flagists. For fucks sake. Morons with a flag. Scary stupidity. Deep ignorance. Fuck all idea about tolerance, inclusivity or anything much that they pretend to stand for.

  12. Alex Montrose says:

    In the run up to the 14 referendum I delivered thru local letterboxes thousands of leaflets, pamphlets, papers and stuff, before I did my paper rounds I’d read what all this stuff was saying, and after reading I would say to myself, ‘this is such a lot of shite’ but hey who am I to judge, they must know what they are doing I mistakenly at the time thought.
    In the next Ref campaign we must be much more hard hitting, on the front foot, no more wishy washy pish like in 14, eg, Scotland is sitting on a goldmine of renewable resources, but it wont benefit if we allow all the revenues to go south.

  13. seonaidh says:

    ‘Now, the Yes movement, more united than it has ever been is returning.’

    I’m not so sure.

  14. David B says:

    Excellent article.

    The question will be “what do you think now”, not “were you wrong in 2014?” As gratifying as it may seem to point at Boris/ Brexit and say “I told you so”, that’s unlikely to win hearts and minds of wavering No voters.

    I also think there’s a substantial block of people who were sympathetic to radical independence ideas but ultimately decided the Scottish government of the day was the one most likely to determine what independence looked like. In their eyes the White Paper was simply dependence by other means. We’ll never know what kind of independence would have resulted following a 2014 yes vote, so it’s fruitless arguing over it. Play it as it lies.

    1. Mons Meg says:

      You’re presenting ‘independence’ negatively, David, a bit like the Brexit argument, as a way of escaping *from* something.

      I’m asking myself rather: what am I being asked to vote *for*? And silence is the loud reply.

      1. Time, the Deer says:

        That’s kind of like not getting a divorce because you don’t have another partner lined up. Seems unless the SNP become a revolutionary party you’re happier to stick with the status quo – I assume it’s been quite good to you. Personally I think independence, whilst not a panacea by any means, will take us a step closer to real community empowerment, something that will never happen under Westminster. Pragmatism gets you further than idealism in the real world, Andrew.

        1. Mons Meg says:

          As I said above, rejecting what the ‘independence’ merchants are offering me for my vote doesn’t entail acceptance of what the anti-‘independence’ merchants are offering, does it?

          1. Time, the Deer says:

            Well it does really, by default, doesn’t it? Voting in this country is basically a matter of choosing the lesser of two evils – it is unlikely to become any more palatable than that under the current system. I mean sure Andrew, be reasonable demand the impossible and all that, but realistically by spoiling your ballot paper you are having no effect on anything whatsoever. As far as protests go, it’s an impotent one, and a rather adolescent one to boot.

          2. Mons Meg says:

            No, that’s the point, Time; it’s not a binary choice between two evils. The third option on the ballot paper is available to everyone except sheep. It’s a big thing in both France and Spain; in Colombia 2014, ‘Voto en Blanco’ emerged as a more popular candidate than at least five other presidential hopefuls.

            I’ve a colleague in Malaga who describes voting blank as the most important thing we can do: ‘The Blank Vote is a democratic rejection of all the current political options, with a continued belief in democracy. It is the vote most appropriate when all the parties are corrupt, or when their intentions are not attractive, or when they breach these programmes, or when they have exceeded their lawful power, or when they have perverted the system…’

            If neither the ‘independence’ merchants nor the anti-‘independence’ merchants present me with an attractive option, neither will get my vote.

          3. Rodric Selbie says:

            Your Quote “If neither the ‘independence’ merchants nor the anti-‘independence’ merchants present me with an attractive option, neither will get my vote”.

            Seriously that sounds so dense to me, by not voting you are 100% supporting that cesspit of corruption Westminster to continue ruling over your Country, stop all your waffle as you’re looking like a troll now.

          4. Mons Meg says:

            See immediately above.

            (And there’s no need to be abusive. It contributes nothing to the argument, ya cheeky get!)

          5. Time, the Deer says:

            We don’t actually live in France or Spain, Andrew, but as long as you continue to impress your colleagues, eh? What an Edgelord…

          6. David B says:

            Technically any vote is impotent unless it happens to be cast for the winning cause or candidate. Voting isn’t about ‘potency’, it’s about expressing preference and participating in the democratic life of the community.

            Personally I think Indyref2 will be subject to a Tory-led boycott. In that context anyone who bothers to go to the ballot box will play an important role in securing the legitimacy of the vote – including No voters and ballot spoilers. We need to be kinder to one another.

          7. Mons Meg says:

            Precisely, David. No vote is ever wasted. In France (and Time’s right, they do indeed do things differently there, compared to how it’s ‘ay been’ here), voting machines include a blank vote option, and blank votes are included in the ballot result. That would be progress in our democracy: the option of having seats in our assemblies filled by ‘None of the Above’; the option of rejecting both the status quo and the change proposed in a referendum. I’d vote for that progress.

            If there is a boycott of a future referendum, I certainly won’t be joining it. That would be to waste my vote. I’ll look at the ‘take it or leave it’ option that the Scottish government puts on the table, and send it homeward to think again if neither option gives me what I’m looking for. It’s just a travesty that that vote will be discounted under our ‘native’ counting system.

  15. johnny english says:

    Us vs. Them
    ‘Celtic’ nationalism is a fundamentally racist proposition that casts all those outside the ‘celtic’ clique as beneath human dignity; beyond deserving respect. small imagines himself to be enlightened and intellectual but lacks the wit to see his own bigotry. Treat other people as you would want them to treat you is a lesson every child is taught, yet small has unlearned this lesson and dehumanises his enemies to further his own self interest. Little wonder that ‘celtic’ culture has withered away to this sad outpost in the atlantic. When you are incapable of respecting your fellow man and incapable of besting him then you have no future. Todays youth understand the lesson and gag on the stench of bigotry from the mouths of the supposedly enlightened elders. Time to quit, mike. You and your kind are the problem not the solution. The best thing you can do to free scotland is to free scotland of yourself. Noone will miss you

Help keep our journalism independent

We don’t take any advertising, we don’t hide behind a pay wall and we don’t keep harassing you for crowd-funding. We’re entirely dependent on our readers to support us.

Subscribe to regular bella in your inbox

Don’t miss a single article. Enter your email address on our subscribe page by clicking the button below. It is completely free and you can easily unsubscribe at any time.