I attended an Independence debate last night. It wasn’t as much the debate that got me thinking, it was a confrontation I saw at the door on the way out that sparked my interest.
A guy was handing out copies of The Wee Blue Book, a woman and a local Tory Councillor charged over in a rage. “You can’t hand things out here, it was agreed with the SNP, no leafleting!” The guy handing out the books tried to explain that he had nothing to do with the SNP and had just done it off his own bat. The woman couldn’t be convinced, she was SNP this, SNP that. It was then that the penny dropped, she genuinely doesn’t realise what is happening in this country. I thought back to Jim Murphy going on about a coordinated attack against him, he’s not figured it out either.
People in this country have engaged like never before, some in a positive way (handing out books), some in a more negative manner (shouting down opponents), but these are people who have never taken an interest before, people who don’t speak the political language, people with no political affiliation, people who for the first time are finding a political voice.
They are people who refuse to be labeled, they are not anti-English – my local Yes Shop is often staffed by English people, they balk at the title Nationalists. Instead, they seek normalisation and democracy for their country. They are basing their future on a civic rather than ethnic identity, in a way that the old guard could never understand.
This is not about career politicians slugging it out, this is not Red v Blue v Yellow, it’s not the same old faces, it is new faces, it’s Radical Independence, it’s Wings Over Scotland, it’s National Collective, it’s Bella Calledonia.
New heroes have risen, not to make a few bucks or keep their jobs, but because they cannot keep silent. People like Dr Phillipa Whitford, Cat Boyd and perhaps most importantly, everyone who has urged their friends to ask them questions, everyone who has written a testimony on facebook, everyone who left their comfort zone to knock a door or sit in a shop answering questions.
This is what Jim Murphy, the local Tory Councillor and the angry lady ranting about the SNP will never understand. The rules have changed, their labels don’t stick, your party politics are not applicable. Scotland is awake like never before. There is a groundswell from the pubs, to the workplaces, from the homes, to the street. People want something better than Westminster can offer.
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