The cold chilly weather did nothing to dampen the spirits of those gathered in George Square last Saturday. Even as the rain lashed against them, they stood smiling ,proud to be there; all twenty thousand of them. Most had come to hear what First Minister Nicola Sturgeon had to say. Those gathered at the back, surrounded by their union flags and Nazi saluting chum; not so much.
The event, the first to feature SNP leader and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon had been organised by The National Newspaper and featured a host of speakers, but most had come to hear Nicola. The event brought the media who are rather shy of attending such events to the square. BBC’s Sarah Smith was seen prancing around in her big white coat, her expression grim as she ‘perhaps’ realised the anti-independence message was not getting through like they believed it would. Gone are the days when the people of Scotland believed the mainstream media lies. Gone are the days where the people of Scotland believe we are worthless individuals incapable of running our own affairs.
A shaky start to proceedings saw Mhairi Black shout into the microphone, dressed casual in trousers, purple sweater and jacket she took to the stage, “Aye well, there’s a fair few folk turned out I see. We’re all here for independence. Last time I spoke here [George Square, Glasgow] was 2014. I’m glad to see the crowd is just as big now as it was back then.”
She is not wrong, the level of engagement in independence has not wavered, if anything it has gotten stronger and will continue to gather strength as people realise the steaks are too high to continue being in a union with England. Scotland cannot continue being ignored. As put so elegantly by SNP’s Mike Russell: “Scotland is not going to be spoken for, we’re going to speak for ourselves, because Scotland is reclaiming the right to be heard…there’s an old definition of a diplomat; somebody who is sent abroad to lie for their country. There should be a new definition for people like Ian Blackford; Johanna Cherry; Mhairi Black and even myself. We go down to London to be insulted for our country but we’re not going to keep going down and keep being insulted, that’s coming to an end.”
Let this election be the last we elect a majority of pro-independence MP’s to that cesspit that is Westminster. The union is dead, let us bury it. As the First Minister said in her speech on Saturday, “We are gathered here today in our thousands in the beautiful civic square of Scotland’s biggest city…we are gathered here for one purpose…to demand the right to choose a better future for out country. We are gathered here to DEMAND the right to choose an independent future for Scotland.”
Scotland needs free of the shackles of Westminster, we are at a crossroads, as the First Minister explained, “…make no mistake, the general election that we face now on December 12th, is the most important election for Scotland in our lifetime. The FUTURE of our country is on the line…down one path is a future that will be dictated to us by the likes of Boris Johnson; a future where TAX CUTS for the wealthiest take propriety over our people and out public services. That is NOT the Scotland that we want…a future of the hostile environment for migrants. That is not the Scotland that we want.”
The Scotland that we want is internationalist, the Scotland that we want looks after the most vulnerable, the Scotland that we want does not shun those who need our help, does not turn our back on refugees. The Scotland that we want does not want nuclear weapons dumped in our waters. We want a fair society, were there is no rich and poor divide. Where no greedy elite blame those who perish in infernos for their own deaths. Scotland can do better, Scotland will do better. Scotland is an equal partner in this union, not subservient. We will have our referendum, and we will leave. But first we have work to do, put so eloquently by Humza Yousaf.
“I want you to indulge me because it can seem hard and it can seem long, but I want you to indulge me. All the tens of thousands just indulge me. I want you to close your eyes…and I want you to imagine it’s polling day on indyref2020. You woke up that morning and that whole day you spend at a polling station, you spend time chapping doors, you spent time talking to people and its night time. The polls are closed it’s the early hours of the morning and you’re by yourself or you’re with your friends and family or maybe you’re one of the lucky ones who got to the count. And you’re watching the television screen and the result is announced that Scotland has voted to become an independent country…that feeling you have where the hairs are standing up on the back of your neck and are standing up on the back of your arms. From this day to that day I want you to remember that feeling.”
Imagine on the 12th December, the polling stations are closed, and the first exit polls shows all seats have gone to pro-independence supporting parties. Now that would be something. I have been so critical of the First Minister in the past but we must all pull together. We dream the same dream, we want the same thing, to quote the lyrics of the 1980’s Belinda Carlisle hit. Let us make this the last time our pro-independence representatives endure the hostile environment that is Westminster. Let it be, the next time Ian Blackford leads a walkout it will be because they have been called home to an inoperant Scotland.