Hold On To Hope

I drew this image last week: it was published in the Greenock Telegraph the day after Nicola Sturgeon visited Greenock, and a brave wee lassie posed defiantly against two Union Flag-waving protesters. Lovely bit of synchronisation, isn't it?

One more day.

The fear may come even to the staunchest of SNP supporters. The microphobia in the back of your mind: what if this does let the Tories in? What if it’s not enough? What if the UK establishment just use this as an excuse, any excuse, to freeze out the SNP? What if the SNP prove to be powerless even if 59 go south? Dare we call Mr Miliband’s bluff when he states he would rather see the Conservatives victorious than even consider a formal arrangement with the third biggest party of the United Kingdom?

The UK establishment long equated the independence movement with the SNP. This was wrong, an insult to those of other parties and no parties who believed in a different future. Well, look what happened: the disenfranchised, the angry, the heartbroken Yes voters flocked to the SNP, as well as the Scottish Greens and Socialists. The “YeSNP” label, once meant as derisive and mocking, has turned itself into a juggernaut unseen in Scottish political history.

Now the UK establishment are equating the people of Scotland themselves with the SNP. This is also wrong, and insulting to those Labour, Liberal, and Conservative voters who want greater representation within the UK. It remains to be seen just what will happen in the weeks following the 8th of May 2015. But know this: everything the UK establishment have done that has meant to destroy the SNP has failed. The Nazi slurs failed to destroy the SNP. The 1979 lie failed to destroy the SNP. Devolution failed to destroy the SNP. The No vote failed to destroy the SNP. And you know what? Even a “failure” to win every, most, or even half the seats in Scotland tomorrow will fail to destroy the SNP.

Talking with my best friend, a unionist who voted No and will certainly not vote for the SNP tomorrow – if he votes at all – I was struck by how depressed they seemed about this election. They hoped the referendum would end this constitutional nonsense, and we could get on with our lives. They lamented that we just weren’t patient in waiting for more powers. They talked about the intimidation they felt during the referendum: the jeers, the attacks on their home, the fear permeated through every waking moment. They lost hope. They can’t wait to leave Scotland. And I believe them.

I’ve been through intimidation. I’ve been called everything from Abu Hamza to BNP to Hitler by complete strangers in the street. Red-faced, furious men barking obscenities and throwing two fingers at me. I’ve seen the front windscreen of my mother’s car smashed, her saltire flagpole broken, her tires let down dozens of times. I’ve seen the wounds on her arms from people grasping her so hard they left bruises as they screamed and snarled in her face. Have we lost hope? Have we hell.

More than a hundred of us remain alive. More than a hundred thousand are signed up members. And it’s likely more than a million are voting for us.

No Fear. Only Hope.



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