Are you over it yet? Have you come to terms with No and are you ready to ‘move on’? I get asked quite a bit and my answer is that I haven’t allowed myself to think too deeply about it because I’m scared to. I worry about how depressed I’ll be if I really work out what the vote means – for Scotland, our global reputation and for my feelings about some fellow Scots.
It’s like a bereavement you don’t want to confront, knowing you’ll get round to grieving properly in time.
The astonishing part is the glib admonition from the British Scots that it’s time to forget it and accept the result and declare there will be no more referendums – independence isn’t going to happen.
It demonstrates how utterly ignorant they remain of what we have just been through as a nation. It’s one thing to be like Alistair Darling, an apologetic Scot without the courage of your country’s convictions, married to the concept of subsidy and British hegemony over your own people – heaven help me, but I’ll never get there – yet surely a different thing entirely to demand that we give up altogether on the dream.
Only a person bereft of conviction and principle – possibly someone like Alistair Carmichael – could contemplate throwing away everything he believes in after a defeat. It would be like a party committed to social justice rejecting the idea in favour of working in a government that has deliberately hurt the poorest as a policy option…just like the Lib Dems. (Have they gone yet?)
I do wish they’d depart the scene altogether and get out of our life instead of pretending to be anything other than promiscuous bed partners for whoever is the biggest party. They will clearly couple with anyone available and follow 99 per cent of the partner’s agenda and then, at election time, call Foul and tell us this won’t do.
They’ve been trumped by the Tories just as Labour has. Lib Dems claim our gratitude for lifting the low paid out of tax – and simultaneously easing the tax burden of the better off – and now find the Tories have adopted the policy themselves and offered the country a better deal. Thus with Labour ‘working with their partners’ in the Union now find they are boxed in on the English Votes issue by Tory manoeuvring leaving poor Alistair and Gordon duped. If there is a motto to emerge from the referendum for the Unionists it is surely Never Trust a Tory.
I will not be giving up on independence any day soon…unless I’m not long for this world. Because I will go to my grave believing in Scottish independence and until then I will argue for it as long as I draw breath. There is no prouder cause than your own independence, it will just take a while longer to turn the complacent round, perhaps after the next election when taxes go up, interest rates rise, decent jobs become scarce and we leave the EU.
It takes a person of casual commitment to imagine that the most powerful sentiment in politics – nationalism – can be thrown aside for a Lib Dem rosette. Accepting the democratic decision of the electorate does not mean giving up – it means adjusting to the new reality and being patient.
My theory is simple – they will not deliver what Scotland needs. They are incapable of generosity of spirit – exemplified by Darling’s extraordinary slight of the First Minister at the Labour conference when what was needed was grace and style – and they have an iron conviction that they and they alone have the right to decide what the people should have. Our politics have not encroached on their dictatorial mentality one bit and they will produce a botched package of next-to-nothing which will please no one and which will cause disruption in Holyrood budgets. They will hope to burden the SNP with impossible options. The result will be that in five years time, possibly even less, we will be back in the same territory, the constitutional conundrum unsolved. We will be back where we started.
Accepting the verdict of the people in the referendum is one part of the equation. The other is that the Unionists deliver on the Vow and the promise of substantial powers through which they won the vote. That’s the deal. Let’s see the goods.by