Guest Post by ABU HAIMI ABU HASSAN
I will begin with the crux of the argument that I will make below: Scotland will be independent but we are running out of time. Scotland needs to independent as soon as possible. The Tories’ assault on the State and basic decency is like Thatcherism on steroids but in slow motion. Even though I can see the logic of SNP’s endgame, playing it slowly and surely will cost independent Scotland a lot more than one might think. Therefore all Scots who believe in independence must constructively create an opportunity for another indyref. Scotland must be prepared to be independent by 2021. Failing to do so will either delay the cause further or will make it difficult to rebuilt a better Scotland socio-economically, or both.
A LITTLE OF HISTORY
People who forget their history will be condemned to repeat their mistakes again and again. People who are denied their history will suffer a worse fate; they will wander aimlessly throughout their entire existence. One half of Scotland is having the first problem and the other half is suffering the second one.
One aspect I’d like to emphasise when it comes to the historical bit is the fruition of the 1707 Treaty of Union. Let it be known that this Treaty was achieved by coercion, subterfuge, bribery and duress. If such treaty were to be signed today, it would definitely be declared null and void. What was built on a foundation of falsehood can never be sustained.
This Union, by its progression in time, will be loosened and eventually broken. The 1st indyref had demonstrated the chinks in the Union’s armour so clearly. Now it will up to us to smash and destroy it.
One can argue that the Union did bring some benefits to Scotland, the Scottish Enlightenment being an example. However it must be remembered that such benefits glossed over the detriments suffered by Scotland. I am citing the Jacobite rebellions (and the resulting Highland Clearences), the destruction of the Highlands and Gaelic culture, the land grab by the elites (with particular reference to the Highlands), abject poverty and population movement that it caused, forcing the population into the Central Belt/overseas, population drop, democratic deficit, de-industrialisation, punishment of the poor/vunerable, the defence of concentration of wealth in the hands of a few and the unspoken treatment of Scots as second class citizens. Yet time and time again a few Scots would rise and defend/help their fellow Scots in need. Some achieved fame but most went unnoticed. Here I must confess my ignorance of Scots such as Mary Barbour and commend Mark Frankland at the same time.
THE (INTER-) NATIONAL AWAKENING
The indyref was the best thing that had happened to me. I have believed in Scottish independence since my teens and an ardent supporter since 2002. Previously my support for independence was based on historical facts and simply on my sense of right and wrong. The indyref allowed me to put a name on it and cloth it with facts, ideas and concepts. It has opened my eyes to the machination of the establishment/elites via the State or vice-versa. It made me realise that the State/establishment/elites will ferociously stifle any attempt to change the status quo of the Union. My best friend, who is a political theorist, had early on predicted during the indyref campaign period that Project Fear (how apt during the indyref and ironic vis-à-vis the EU referendum now) would eventually overwhelm enough Scots to result in a NO vote. Me, being naïve back then, held out that Scots would do the right thing and vote Yes.
I knew the Bitter Together gang had won when the results for Western Isles were announced. It has always been my benchmark/barometer for Scottish politics. I can only imagine the devastation felt by the Yessers, especially the campaigners. I was so despondent that 55% of Scots actually refused to take a leap of faith in themselves. I find it incredulous that 55% of Scots still suffer the Scottish cringe of too wee, too poor and too stupid when it was clear (at least to me) the opportunities that an independent Scotland could offer.
I grieved for three days. I don’t think I could survive the gloating by the media and on online. I was so heartbroken till I resolved not to cross the Tweed until Scotland redeemed itself (that did not last for long, did it).
It was during the UK GE 2015 campaign period that I came to realise what an impact the indyref had had. If we were to translate the percentage of those who believed in Scottish independence into betting odds, it started at 7:3 and was narrowed to 11:9. What an achievement! I had also concluded that Scotland was not ready to independent yet as the timing was not right. Nevertheless the first nail, out of four, to the Union’s coffin was delivered on 18th September 2014.
Scotland had changed.
The despondency did not last for long. Between 19th September 2014 and 5th May 2015, a lot of Scots (especially Yessers [but that is redundant because we have been telling this all along]) realised the powers and benefits promised by the Bitter Together gang were not worth the paper they were written on. The Vow. Enough said. The 45% instinctively coalesced around the SNP and their membership skyrocketed within a short time.
The scales fell off our eyes. We had become politically aware. Politicians’ words will be microscopically analysed. Vote Labour Stop Tories was no longer held as true. They were/are all rainbow Tories. It was time to vote for a party that will actually stand up for Scotland. Not like the Feeble Fifties. Hence, second nail to Union’s coffin was duly delivered on 7th May 2015.
For me 7th May 2015 was the date Scotland proclaimed its readiness to be independent. By voting for the SNP, Scots were telling to UK government that they were giving the Union a final chance. The SNP MPs were sent to make sure all those promises are fulfilled. The UK Government has to get the Union to work properly. If not, independence may be an alternative route after all.
*Please read Emlyn Pearce’s Facebook post entitled “What Is Up With All The Muslims And Black People In Glasgow Today???” It is a funny satirical piece but if it were to take place for real, it could only be in Glasgow. That’s how politically aware I think Scotland is now*
MY VISIT TO SCOTLAND
I’d like to note that I did cross the Tweed in late April 2015. It was a joy to watch BBC Scotland live and experience first hand the biasness. Not. Of course the highlight of my visit was to visit the Munguin the Great and his ever-doting carer, Tris, in Dundee (I got proof). I did an all round tour of Scotland, starting in Glasgow, rounding up the North via Inverness and Aberdeen, and ending up in Edinburgh. I have to say I am an Edinburgh man (sorry Glaswegians). A most magnificent city as everything I wanted in a city can be found there. But I love all of Scotland equally. Even if I am left in cold, cold Durness (I don’t do 15 degrees Celsius or below). I’d still be happy because I had concluded, should Scotland be the poorest nation on Earth by reason of independence or otherwise, Scots will always take care of their fellow Scots. The kindness and the show of consideration given to my family and me will always be in heart. A special mention of Jimmy, the owner of Café Ben Lora in Benderloch is very much deserved.
Anywhere, so long it is Scotland.
(Part 2 follows tomorrow.)
(Part 2 follows tomorrow.)