AIM Co-Organiser Alan Petrie on why independence is an essential part of our recovery from COVID
As we approach the election campaign, the different parties’ strategies are becoming all too apparent; and by and large new ideas are in short supply. It seems like the not-so Conservative party, Labour and Lib Dems came to the same highly original campaign mantra! Well, the manta is about authentic as the canvass Banksy I have on my wall. If the union rests on the British nationalist parties having an original campaign mantra, the union is indeed a boggie.
The mantra that all three parties are churning out, that we must not waste time on independence, but rather concentrate on the post covid recovery, has all the cunning of a Baldrick plan and more holes in than Baldrick’s clothes.
For a start, it relies on the public buying into the make-believe that everything was great pre-covid. That somehow, we would forget ideological austerity imposed against our political will, Brexit and all that curtails and an economic model, built on short-termism, service-based consumerism, casino banking and low wages. It relies on collective national amnesia to forget we have the lowest pension in the developed world and a horrendous work-life balance, especially compared with our Nordic neighbours.
The unionist party figures tired lines of ‘oh, wait, we need to recover before we can even think about independence’ totally misses the point of independence and the reality of most people in the independence movement. Maybe they are judging why we want independence by the standards of the UK. A nation built on pomp ceremony and status symbols. It looks like they genuinely think that independence is all about flags, brass plagues and nationalism. Just because Brexit was built on a narrow form of nationalism does not mean that independence is built on the same foundations.
The question for these spoke persons of the union is “build back better how?” how can and how should we trust the political system that has built the original dysfunctional house to rebuild the house. Are we really going to let those who have wasted huge, eye-watering sums during the pandemic, giving huge contracts to friends our trust in the rebuild job?
Staying in the union and attempting to recover would be akin to wallpapering a derelict house: a pointless waste of time and money that none of us in Scotland can afford. We face a choice; we can choose to stay in a failing political union, having policy and an economic model imposed on us. Some people would say the union offers stability, but the only certainty that the union provides is decline, short-termism, austerity and governments that we reject.
Or we can take the bull by the horns and shape our own recovery, allowing us to build an economy and society that puts wellbeing at its heart. Absolute stability comes from having control, and let us make it clear we can’t leave the post covid economic and social leavers in the hands of others.
Let’s make it clear that independence is the key to actual recovery.