We are all rightly focussed on getting through this dark time as best we can. At this juncture, any campaigning of a political nature is far from our minds. The people in the independence movement should- if possible- be working in their communities to help those in need if their personal circumstances allow. However, sitting here in a health crisis-induced quarantine, I can’t help my mind wandering to days when the dark clouds of this virus have lifted, and we can stroll again in the sun again. My mind can’t help asking, what then? What kind of society are we facing and the challenges that lie in wait? We are truly living in unprecedented times and in times like these, big changes are possible. It is important to recognise that change does not come by itself, and any change for the better will not come easy.
After the health crisis is past, we then face the reality of the world economy as we know it hanging on by a thin thread. The question is, do we press reset or do we just rebuild the same system? Let’s be honest, we know what the current UK political class will want to do. It will be rebuilding the same system, but with even less state spending. All wrapped up in the cloak of financial necessity. We will see extreme capitalism and austerity which makes the last 10 years seem like a picnic. We will see the very things which have gotten us through the health crisis, society and the NHS attacked, and the narrative will be this is our only way.
But is it? Well no it isn’t. After World War 2, we saw the biggest period of change the UK has faced. A bankrupt UK created the NHS, social housing and much more. Iceland in the banking collapse showed there was more than one way to deal with that crisis. The 10 years of austerity that we have faced was a choice, not a necessity. It was purely a political decision, taken as the best way to protect the status quo. The choices taken after World War 2 were also taken in the same manner. Communism was running rampant throughout Europe and there were endless working-class men with military training. The ruling class knew they could not enforce years of austerity on the people or the people would rise.
After this health crisis, it is expected that we will immediately face the point where ultra-austerity could be decided if the present UK government feel they can get away with it. We will face a small window of opportunity where things can change, and we must grab it.
So, let us ask the question, what are your ideas? What policies do you want to see? What society do you want to create? Let us return to a movement of ideas and creativity so we can build a better future. Our movement sometimes looks inward and it’s possible to make the effort to out with the movement. Independence is not about replacing one flag with another. It is about a better society and the things we can do with the power we gain. At the darkest times often comes the light. The renaissance happened in the middle of the black death so let our renaissance start now. Let’s paint Scotland’s story not by our past or flags, but by our society, ideas and our people. Let our ideas light up the dark.
Please send us your articles on ideas, vision and policy. Let’s be that light and let’s make it shine bright. Currently, we need the thought of a better world and a better Scotland. In 2014, our movement was a hive of ideas and vision of a better nation, let us reclaim that.
by Alan Petrie