Inside IndyRef2 – Scotland waking to a new dawn
We welcome Norrie Hunter – who has agreed to write for TruePublica with his take on the mood and movement of Scottish independence as Brexit continues to unfold. Norrie has an MA in Politics and International Relations – is a columnist for the SNP independence magazine and co-founder and presenter of indyliveradio.
The leaves on the trees are changing colour to create a wonderful panorama, and as the nights are drawing in and the weather getting colder, Scotland is awakening to a new dawn.
On Saturday I went along to the Radical Independence Conference (RIC) in Glasgow this weekend to witness a great deal of talent and thinkers trying to bring the case for Scottish independence a bit clearer to the people.
It is here that the Scottish National Investment Bank was promoted as a necessary addition to enhance the economy. It is here where participants from Universities and think tanks have masterminded policies that the SNP government have endorsed such as the baby box. This is a policy to give all newborn babies in Scotland the perfect start in life and to let the public know that they feature highly in the SNP policy agenda. These events are necessary platforms for positive thinkers with big ideas to come together for the good of Scotland.
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The problem is – we as a devolved Parliament cannot broadcast these events as broadcasting is reserved to Westminster. This means we get a London centric view of news and our televisions are full of English productions. However, over the past years, Scotland has managed to harness social media to communicate with itself. The RIC conference was broadcast over the internet by Independence Live a small group who survive on public donations and by online journalists such as Commonspace.
We have a sole newspaper, The National supporting Scottish Independence to cater for more than half the population and Broadcast Scotland put out a Scottish news bulletin on YouTube. Despite the television companies receiving vast amounts of money these independent companies operate on a shoestring. We have seen independent online radio stations, bloggers and vloggers compete actively and flourish. Scotland is busy talking to itself despite not having a Scottish Television service. As broadcasting is reserved to Westminster, we have their agenda to put up with. To explain – Scottish Television (STV) broadcast the England football match while our national team were playing at the same time. It is far cheaper to plug into ITV and broadcast the propaganda from London. The news very seldom mentions the SNP or the Scottish Parliament only then in derogatory negative tones. No other country would put up with this.
Scotland is busy talking to itself despite not having a Scottish Television service.
Equally, the BBC never let the Scottish public know that the Scottish women’s Hockey team had become world champions. This unsurprisingly upsets the Scottish people. What other country would stand for this! It’s supposed to be a public service provider. In fact, the BBC is seen as the big obstacle blocking any good news such as Scotland’s leading environmental targets or confusing hospital statistics to create a parallel universe. For example, we now have a 94% rate of those getting to see a doctor within two days. The BBC reported a drop to 93% as a disaster caused by ‘SNP incompetence’. Even in the darkest days of Thatcher, the BBC was a flickering light but now it lurks in the damp shadows of the truth. The Scottish people can see right through these headlines and despite this – support for the SNP goes up and up. In fact, Scotland is top of the league for non-payment of the license fee, the means by which the BBC is funded!
In the meantime, as the RIC conference goes out on social media, down south Boris Johnson presides over the greatest calamity that is Brexit and uses the BBC to push for a no-deal exit if a deal cannot be reached.
This would be a catastrophe for Scotland who relies on an immigrant population to help grow our economy. The brutal manner the Tory government has dealt with foreign nationals is a disgrace. The Windrush scandal where Caribbean immigrants over 50 years ago who came over on their parent’s passport were ordered to go ‘home’ because they had no documents to prove they were British. England has become an inward looking narrow nationalist country – Scotland is very much internationalist, welcoming those who make the sacrifice to live and work here.
Brexit has still not been resolved and Scotland’s place in Europe (we voted 62% to remain) has not yet been secured. The Scottish National Party in Westminster are regularly shouted down and when Ian Blackford the party leader got to his feet to outline his speech, the Tories in the chamber walked out. A disgruntled and angry audience in Scotland watches on.
When Ian Blackford the party leader got to his feet to outline his speech, the Tories in the chamber walked out. A disgruntled and angry audience in Scotland watches on.
However, Scotland is so different from England in its voting patterns and Johnson is riding high in the polls down south and has very little support in Scotland. This is partly down to the lack of a credible opposition leader in Jeremy Corbyn who has lost control of his party. He openly stated he would make his mind up on EU status once the people had made their mind up: try selling that on the doorsteps of Glasgow! He was also on twitter accusing the SNP of not doing enough to mitigate the two-child rape clause which was a policy from Westminster. Mothers had to prove they were raped to get tax credits for a third child. This, to us Scots, is an abhorrent and callous method to justify nonpayment of benefits many people need. Corbyn’s diatribe created a storm on twitter with many stating why a devolved Scottish Parliament with limited powers should mitigate over issues which the Tories at Westminster have bestowed on the public. The man is a product of the British system and keeps putting his foot in his mouth. He gave the London media another excuse to hammer the SNP, which in this modern Scotland is unforgivable. Labour are a spent force in Scotland averaging 23% share of the vote behind the Tories. Even Labour heartlands in England are changing to Conservative to get Brexit done. Again, a perplexed and informed country watches on from North of the border.
The Liberal Democrats have a pathetic leader who is from Scotland. Jo Swinson participates in what is widely termed as student politics. They are one-trick ponies just like the Brexit Party, but whereas the latter are gaining momentum the Lib Dems are stuck on 18%. Both in Scotland and across the UK they are struggling to get their message across.
So, what are the next steps in the road to independence; well for the first time a rally will be held in Glasgow where the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will address the crowd. She has been absent from other marches but this one she has organised on her own terms and the press are expected for the first time. It always amazes me when I see camera crews from all over the world at Independence events but never Scottish crews.
From an informed electorate keen to see our immigrant population protected from the odious rejection of freedom of movement to celebrating free prescriptions and no bridge tolls amongst other positive policies – the agenda will perhaps be a major signpost of Scotland’s direction of travel.
As I sit in the house in front of a roaring fire and a single malt whisky, I feel the changing seasons but I can’t help feel the tectonic plates of change in Scotland.
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