An Independent Country in All but Name

An Independent country in all but name by George Petri imageI wrote this the day after the EU election results were announced. If you look at the map of the UK showing the breakdown of results across the regions and countries, it really shows such a stark contrast in opinion where Scotland and England are concerned. The contrast has spelled out how we are basically an independent nation already. We are independent in outlook, socially and politically. It’s now just about taking the last inevitable step. I won’t underplay the fact that the fight for independence will not be easy, but I will argue the case that it’s ours to lose, and the power to win this struggle rests entirely in our hands.

Since the Scottish Parliament came in to being 20 years ago, we have seen a growth in confidence in our people. A Scotland CAN approach replacing a Scotland Can’t. It’s no shock that independence is the settled will of the devolution generation. The carefully crafted stereotype of the wee Scot with a chip on both shoulders, downtrodden and with a pathological doom-laden outlook has gone. The devolution generation are outward looking, confident, self-aware and have mainly lost the chip which has held us back for far too long. The new Scotland is a nation which is outward looking towards the world and our neighbours and embraces collective society and fairness. We are a nation which builds people up, not a nation whose activities are an obstacle to growth.

This is in stark contrast to our nearest neighbours, who are going down the road to chaos and being stubbornly insular. A society and a democracy which has gone rancid and stale. Which now turns to the politics of the extremes and isolation. A full-blown retreat from liberal democracy and the sense of fair play. The very thing many people believed was GREAT in Britain is gone, broken, with many having lost faith or clinging on to this long-gone past UK.

As I said it’s now ours to lose and the power to win this struggle rests entirely in our hands. But we as a movement must recognise how we can progress and ensure prosperity. We have just seen our First Minister Nicola Sturgeon run a text book campaign which, is calm, reassuring, grown up and totally measured in massaging. She is widely seen as the only one to come out of Brexit with an enhanced reputation. The independence movement needs to be more like Nicola. Far too many times the movement is reactionary, falling for the basic poke them with a stick and they’ll get angry. Many people still display the chip on the shoulder like a badge of honour. One example is through media where we see daily rants about media bias. Yes, chuntering about the media is as useful as howling at the moon. It’s our job to get a positive message out. Not hand the agenda to others and let them set it. We must also get out the idea of doing what we enjoy or what convinced us as individuals so it can convince others in their line of thought.

The people we now need to convince will not be won over by big displays of nationalism or even worse, playing to some old-fashioned stereotype.

Scotland is now an independent country in all but name. A modern multi cultured European country. Let us start showing it.