“The most dangerous ideas are not those that challenge the status quo. The most dangerous ideas are those so embedded in the status quo, so wrapped in a cloud of inevitability, that we forget they are ideas at all.”
― Jacob M. Appel,
With Holyrood and Westminster in recess, political journalists are scrabbling for news, any news, to fill the pages. So when the former leader of the SNP – fresh off both personal success as part of 56 MPs and collective success in seeing support for his party rise and rise – notes something the Scottish (and British) public are already saying, it is classified as shocking, scandalous, and requires immediate clarification. A political party whose entire existence is based on campaigning for independence continues to campaign for independence. Stop the presses!
Two of the three stooges are already jumping on like lords-to-be-a-leaping, eager to bring up the old “BUT YOU MADE A PWOMISE” strawman, oblivious to the fact that what the First Minister and the MP for Gordon want is immaterial – it’s what the people of Scotland want. And from those polls, it is clear that the Scottish people want and expect another independence referendum within the next 10 or even five years. The people of the UK think that Scotland will be independent by 2025. Going by public opinion, a second referendum is indeed inevitable.
Let’s imagine the SNP ruled out a referendum in their 2016 manifesto, and were still elected. Let’s imagine the Tories continue cutting and slashing and burning and destroying everything Attlee and Bevan worked so hard to create while their supposed descendants sit on their hands. Let’s imagine the Scottish branches of New Labour and Liberal Democrats continue to harangue the SNP and demand they protect Scots from more Tory cuts, while the Scottish branch of the Conservatives cackles with its disproportionate power. Let’s imagine the people finally realise the truth, that it doesn’t matter how strong the SNP – or any party – are in Holyrood, as long as Westminster is in control over the budget, defence, security, foreign affairs, and so forth. Let’s imagine support for independence actually rises, regularly, even without a referendum on the agenda. Are you seriously going to say the Scottish parliament should ignore the will of the Scottish people, just because their politicians made an observation which, by this point, was made years ago?
“You can cut all the flowers – but you cannot keep Spring from coming.”
― Pablo Neruda
It seems some steadfastly refuse to understand that it is not up to Alex Salmond, or Nicola Sturgeon, or the SNP. It is up to the people of Scotland. Even now, the people of Scotland are sovereign – for as the referendum showed, the only people who can stop Scotland from becoming an independent nation again are the people of Scotland themselves. The Tories, the establishment, and Project Fear can only go so far: what it comes down to are the crosses on the ballots, and only the people of Scotland are allowed make those marks. Some love nothing more than to say “No means No,” that the result was decisive, that the matter was settled, the people of Scotland have spoken, because more people voted No than voted Yes. Yet more people say the matter is not settled, that No is not Never, that they retain their democratic right to reconsider if and when they choose regardless of what any politician says, even the First Minister. That is democracy. That is fair.
That is why Mr Salmond calls a second independence referendum inevitable – because despite the result in September, the people of Scotland want it. It won’t be because the SNP put it in their manifesto, “forcing” a referendum on an unwilling public. It won’t be because Alex Salmond’s a sore loser who’ll keep re-running it until the public give the “right” answer. It will be because the people of Scotland choose it.
You’d think the winners of last year’s referendum would be more respectful of the will of the Scottish people.
“Human progress never rolls in on wheels of inevitability; it comes through the tireless efforts of men willing to be co-workers with God, and without this hard work, time itself becomes an ally of the forces of social stagnation. We must use time creatively, in the knowledge that the time is always ripe to do right.”
― Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter from a Birmingham Jail (1963)