From Brenda Robb
I have been reading Fintan O’Toole’s book Three Years in Hell: The Brexit Chronicles. As I am originally from N Ireland I have an interest in the political situation there as well as in Scotland and of course with the focus on Brexit here there are issues discussed that affect us all. However there was one part in particular that caught my attention which I feel might be a useful topic for all of us hoping for an independent Scotland to consider. It is also quite timely now that different factions are either criticising the Scottish Government’s intention to hold a second referendum next year or frustrated that referendum plans & dates have not yet been announced
Anyway, Fintan discusses the Irish Brexit conundrum from various angles including how some folk see recent developments as a step towards Ireland becoming unified. He questions whether this is really the case, or at least the now likely case, pointing out that the Good Friday Agreement was only made possible by blurring the hard & deeply ingrained opposing positions into an acceptance that the people of Ireland can choose to be either British or Irish or both
But it is this next bit that made me think. He says 50 per cent plus 1 is not what democracy is about, That kind of crude majoritarianism is precisely what the Belfast Agreement is meant to finish off…. Harmony, friendship, multiplicity, a unit not of territory but of people – not “we beat you by one vote so suck it up”. Pushing for a border poll in which a majority of one vote would solve all our historic problems is as pointless as it is delusional. Sovereignty is a matter not of land but of the mind, it will be whatever its people agree to make it.
I understand, and sympathise with, the urgent calls for a second Scottish referendum. Many folk have been seeking independence long before me and want to see it happen as soon as possible. We see the chaos and mismanagement in Westminster and rail against policies imposed by a government we didn’t vote for, in a game we can never win due to first past the post elections and the dominance of the English vote. But, do we want independence to mean roughly half the population of Scotland ends up feeling cheated and forced to accept a loss of their Britishness? We know this feeling from the opposite perspective, we’ve seen it with Brexit, are we clear headed enough to accept a simple reversal is not good enough?
For what it’s worth, my feeling is that losing a second referendum would be disastrous. I do believe the steady governance, the attempts to improve life for all in Scotland and the forging of alliances to bring about progressive change however limited just now are all building that sense of Scotland as a nation, that awareness of our ability to make good decisions and how a fairer, more inclusive Scotland could look. All the bombast of those convinced we only need to shout loud enough to get what we want makes me think both of the early Irish nationalists and strangely enough the DUP – neither prepared to build bridges, neither able to admit others might disagree with their beliefs
I think we will have a referendum next year as NS has been pushed into a corner on this. Given that opinion is still roughly at 50/50% what can we do to better the chances of securing a decent rather than a marginal whinge? Why do we seem to be waiting for the SNP to lead the way?
TuS gives us factual info & statistics to counteract negative stories
WGD gives us positive narratives to keep morale up and to challenge negative stories
The National mostly reports positively on Scottish politics
All 3 give us room to respond and to share our views
Many folk though are spending their time bickering among themselves, creating divisions and discontent. Why not instead try to counter unionist arguments, forge alliances wherever possible, accept minor roles and limited recognition can still contribute to a bigger whole. So you haven’t got the land reform, the community led decision making, the fire and passion that you are looking for – is that reason enough to throw the toys out of the pram? An independent Scotland is in our hands, not the gift of the SNP – how do you think we can achieve it?