I have long maintained that we actually have two campaigns to fight. there is, obviously, the campaign to bring Scotland’s government home. But before we can do that we have to win the battle to affirm and defend our right of self-determination.
There can be no doubt that the British establishment fears a new independence referendum. They would prefer to see Scotland locked into the UK with no democratic recourse. Scotland is markedly different to the rest of the UK. We have developed a distinct political culture. Few are foolish enough to deny this now. And this difference is a threat. It challenges the assertion that there is ‘no other way’ – no alternative to the callous expediency and arrogant ineptitude of Tory Britain. No politics except the elitist, nativist, exceptionalist xenophobia of hard-right British nationalism.
If the British establishment cannot prevent a new independence referendum, they will seek to control it and manipulate it to serve their malign purposes.
We must oppose these efforts. We must guard our democratic rights, or they will be taken from us. This is not a pillow-fight. We are up against the might of a British state with a long, devious and often bloody history of jealously grasping that which it regards as its property.
Only strong, smart political leadership can be effective in these circumstances. As our democracy, our political identity, our national institutions, our public services and the future of our nation are all under threat, Scotland’s elected representatives have never had a more crucial role. It is for each one of us to judge which parties, politicians and candidates for elected office are genuinely committed to serving Scotland’s interests. We must ask who are dedicated to addressing the needs, priorities and aspirations of Scotland’s people. And we must work out how we can best support them.
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