I am not a lawyer, a journalist or a politician. Who am I? I wear many hats, but for the sake of this piece, let’s call me an activist.
There has been quite a bit written lately about the timing of a second independence referendum. Many different views. Every position from Scotland should declare immediate UDI, to we should not discuss the matter again until our unborn grandchildren are grandparents.
I guess my own position falls somewhere in between. I don’t agree that it is advantageous to wait too long. I happen to believe the next 5 years offers the best opportunity to secure a YES vote. I know many people will disagree, but here’s one activist’s POV.
We currently have one of the most destructive Westminster governments probably since the Thatcher years. (some say it’s far worse than Thatcher, I can’t say for certain, I didn’t live here then). Add to that fact that the Labour party have proved to be a fairly pointless opposition party. Chocolate tea pots come to mind. In fact the only real opposition to these massive Tory cuts seems to be (ironically) the SNP.
Then there is the Labour leadership race. Wow. In all my nearly 25 years involved in various political campaigns, I have never witnessed a party destroy itself so passionately. As a political nerd (and watching on the sidelines, as it’s not my party) it is quite something to behold. But that’s for another blog.
On the Scottish front it appears the SNP are set to gain even more seats in next year’s Holyrood elections. Labour are set to be the biggest losers, not holding a single constituency seat. In fact there is talk they may not even be the second largest party in Scotland come May 2016. Who could ever have imagined this? Labour aren’t exactly going to be in a great position to command much support for being strong NO to independence advocates.
So we have a perfect storm for a second independence referendum in 2019. (5 years after the first referendum). The prospect of another 5 years (at least) of Tories holding the reigns at Westminster. A diminished Labour party, still fighting between its left and right factions. Plus the very real possibility that England may have pulled Scotland out of the EU against her will.
If you are looking for a better backdrop to asking the citizens of Scotland if they want to stay tied to Westminster any longer, I dare say even the SNP could not have hoped for a better set of circumstances.
I understand and have read the reasons for waiting 10, 20, 30 years for another referendum. But I disagree that would be advantageous. Politics is constantly evolving and changing, as is our world. By that time, we may not even have a welfare state or an NHS any longer. The population will be worn down, but quite used to their plight. Too tired to fight, apathetic to the shift in lifestyle. Mostly forgetting when the state cared.
So I say the time is never better than in the near future to fight for a better, fairer Scotland. I truly believe we can win this one.