by Wee Coonty Radical
As with most things it’s the getting started that is the hardest step and once taken the rest falls into place or so we tend to believe. There are always a few people who caution against over optimism, people who look at an issue such as independence and ask why those opposed to it do so and how do those that support independence convince our fellow Scots that independence is not only desirable but essential if as we like to think we live in a society that is progressive and democratic enough to allow for any political ideology wherever it is on the political spectrum to have its place within the wider Yes movement.
I believe during the independence referendum this was achieved but since there has been an entrenchment of opinions and if not a reluctance to listen to other viewpoints then to only listen to those that closely resemble our own, be that left, centre or right. Personally I know I have been complicit in this as after the 2014 referendum result I was, shocked and angry at the result. Along with many others I had attended rallies, canvassed and travelled over the central belt of Scotland to get material for my local Yes hub.
The people I canvassed alongside did so because they believed we could have a real impact on how this nation would be run. We would have an input and a real say in a way that many of us felt we had never had. So we went to peoples doors, gave them leaflets and information from the many groups that participated in the referendum campaign and we talked to people who had different points of view and we learned to refine our arguments and tailor them to the areas we were in but wherever that was we ensured that we made sure it was an inclusive, socially just and positive message. Given the negativity of the better together campaign, you’d think voters would opt for the more positive choice, but as we found out fear won out over hope.
Since the referendum some of us have rather impressive built bubbles and echo chambers. We decided that those who did not share our vision, our way whatever that may be to achieve independence were somehow holding the independence movement back. Any questioning of the timing of another indy ref was considered to be tantamount to being against it, this seems to have intensified since the 2016 Brexit vote and the General Election of 2017.
From a personal point of view memes with Eat, Sleep, SNP , Repeat began bothering me. The meme seemed to imply carry out these actions but don’t critically assess why you would do it. Mentioning this on Facebook was interesting. I was informed only the SNP would bring about independence (as the largest party committed to it and being in government so I was told on a few occasions, ONLY they could deliver it) I argued that we get independence only through engagement with the wider grassroots movement as only by recapturing the diversity that existed then could we hope to win any future referendum. Nonsense I was told, what other party will bring it about? Will a bunch of lefty columnists achieve it? A few days later Nichola Sturgeon announced that the SNP need to engage with the wider YES movement. I would have claimed bragging rights but here’s the thing, it doesn’t really matter as I agree the SNP is the most effective vehicle at present but to succeed listening to other points of view , more so the opposite and debating points, yes even those of people who voted Labour in the last GE, is the only way we are going to win.
Recently I have heard that the success of Jeremy Corbyn in England is due to his adoption of SNP polices. I can’t agree with this reasoning. The policies Corbyn has promoted are social democratic\ socialist. They are not Corbyn’s Labour or the SNPs solely , they are an attempt at social inclusion and the fairer society we aimed for in 2014. When will we get the opportunity to advocate those values, a part from in our everyday lives and the interactions we have with our friends ,family , colleagues , though going on about politics all the time does tend to become wearing to those who are not motivated by it, 2019 seems likely.
I hope I have learned to become more tolerant of opposing views and know for certain that to win another independence vote deflating the bubbles and deconstructing those impressive echo chambers is vital.