Let me start this way, I’m one who campaigned for and voted yes in the Scottish referendum for independence. Just like many, I was shell shocked at the result and just like many, I too looked around to see what we could do about it.
At first there was the “45” and everybody downloaded twibbons to show that we were the proud 45 or at least 44.7%.
Then there was the “Yes Alliance” who promised to put the now broken but undaunted Yes Campaign back together again.
But what of the 55.3% who for a whole number of reasons voted no? None of those campaigns really made an effective appeal to that percentage of people who after all hold the keys to our independence in the future.
It’s a sobering fact that unless we get some kind of dialogue going with a fair proportion of the no voters then if another referendum is called regarding Scottish independence, we’ll be right back to the same set of circumstances that created the no vote.
I still see people that are angry online. The language they use to describe no voters is in many cases unjust and uncalled for. Okay, there are a section of the population who would gladly impale themselves on a Union Jack flagpole just to hear “one single purr” but not every no voter is like that. Many people simply voted no because there was something that didn’t add up in their mind or they feared something and weren’t aware of the real scare stories regarding the consequences of a no vote which we’re seeing now. In other words the press and broadcast media (especially the BBC) did their job well for the british establishment.
So, what to do? To move forward with a Yes Campaign when there’s no referendum in the offing seems unproductive and there’s little chance that such a campaign would draw many no voters to its ranks. I have a deep pride in those who still hold the passion inside that we saw in the run up to the referendum and state “Still Yes” but perhaps the language of “Yes” is getting in the way of any possible dialogue with those that voted no and might be willing in the light of the present narrative coming from Westminster to vote yes if there was another referendum. Hold up a yes flag or whatever and those people will simply fail to come forward.
How do we connect? We start off by changing the language we use, that’s how.
That means we need to personally declare that the yes campaign is, for the time being, over, and get behind the next campaign which is to get 59 “pro-Scotland” MP’s returned to Westminster or as many as humanly possible.
Now what is meant by “pro-Scotland MP’s”? The easiest way to explain that is to tell you what the opposite is; “pro-Westminster MP’s”. A pro-Westminster MP is part of one of the London based parties and is more likely to play UK party politics instead of pushing Scotland’s agenda forward. Scotland’s agenda just gets pushed aside for the sake of getting the party’s leader into Downing Street and keeping them there.
A pro-Scotland MP on the other hand is by definition a part of one of the Scottish political parties. That of course doesn’t include Scottish Labour who are a London centric party that just sticks the word “Scottish” onto Labour to signify their branch office in Scotland.
Many of you who read this will know me as someone who gives a lot of thought to any project regarding the constitutional status of Scotland. I spent a great deal of time considering all the various factors at play right now and it is that which prompted me to come up with the idea behind scot2.scot. I thank those that gave freely of their time, talents and effort to start it up and it is presently in the early stages of growing.
scot2.scot is a social media communications portal with the primary aim of coordinating a tactical vote in each constituency but it could just as easily be used by various Yes groups to disseminate campaign information which given what I’ve now told you would be self defeating, however, I trust the people that I’ve known and campaigned beside to look this squarely in the eye and adopt the new language in order to start the national conversation again. This time the conversation has to appeal to those who voted no using language that gets them involved by having broad appeal.
That means that we need to acknowledge that some may only want more powers for Scotland and use our talent to help them get that, because in doing so we’ll be talking to them and perhaps open their eyes to the better possibilities of an independent Scotland. To begin with though, we have to simply offer the possibilities that 59 pro-Scotland MP’s being returned to Westminster would create. It would force Scotland’s agenda onto the table and help hold to account those that opened their mouths before the referendum and let their bellies rumble.
I know for many this will require some degree of navel searching but I commend this change of language to all in an effort to bring forth what we want in the end; independence with a good healthy majority supporting it. Put away the yes banners, flags and other stuff and keep it in a safe place for a time in the future when we’ll need it again.
Get behind scot2.scot and work hard to unseat the pro-Westminster MP’s that stand in our way.
It’s not the end of anything, it’s a way point if you like, on the road to our final destination.
I assure every single one of you, we will get there but we need to change a few things. It’s time for change.