Last post before voting…a couple of salient points occur. The first is about you. You are part of Scottish history now, woven into the national story as one of those who resisted, objected, debated and won the argument. The books may not record your name, but you will be there – entwined in the description of ‘a mass movement’, ‘a people’s rebellion’ and ‘those of all parties and none who took to the streets, filled the halls and the social media with demands for real democracy, for fairness, for dignity and wealth-sharing’.
That is what the history will say of you. The barricades may, thankfully, not be car tyres, pallets and metal railings but they were barricades – of corporate power, private wealth, government connivance and media distortion. As revolutionaries you may not have held guns but you did carry a weapon – national dignity. And as the relentless onslaught hammered away, you stayed strong, remained standing and smiled.
Your success is already being written. In the mainstream media that almost exclusively sided with the failed Establishment, the despised No campaign is being prepared for burial in a corner plot marked Never Again. What will be remembered instead is your rising optimism, intellectual rigour, irrepressible humour and unquenchable spirit. You are the generation that argued for social justice, internationalism, people power and collective pride – you have been on the side of the angels. They will say you lit a beacon that inspired others in these islands to get off their knees and take command of their lives…that you electrified friends abroad in their quest for self-determination and that you shook the power base to its roots.
You did that. You stood up to be counted…for real democracy…for Scotland.
Whenever the referendum is talked of in years to come, you will remember. You will remind each other with a look or a nod that you were there and you were Yes. Words won’t be needed. This has been tumultuous, revelatory, life-changing and, yes, nation-changing and you were its beating heart.
Lastly, there is something else that needs to be said. Alex Salmond is a great Scot. Politician he may be, open to the jibes of venality and vanity. But he has proved to be a man of transcending qualities, all the more sharply defined because of the feeble attempts to vilify him. He has shown all the skills of a true national leader and a man at the top of his game whose masterly touch has kept together a kaleidoscopic array of political interests focussed on one objective. If they slight him as sleekit, they must allow that you’d need the cunning of a sewer rat to fend off the British Establishment. While his opponents have pushed face after face to the fore to claim campaign leadership – and even provided a human shield for their de facto leader – Salmond’s supremacy over Yes has been the rock behind the movement.
The shrill contempt he endures from Unionists draws us ever closer in his protection and generates a loyalty even among those with no SNP affiliation. On September 19, he will still be the undisputed leader of the nation. I am proud of him.
So, the arguments have crystallised. The time for words is over. We are ready.
It is time, Scotland. It is time…by