Better Late Than Never

Better Late Than Never

So, former Lord Provost of Glasgow, Alex Mosson, has publicly declared that he will be voting YES next year. According the political editor of The Herald today a press release from YES Scotland states that Mr Mosson said :-

“People need to realise that this is not about the S.N.P., Scottish Labour or any other political Party. This referendum is all about us, the people of Scotland, and our right to self determination. Once we achieve independence I’m sure people will start to regain their interest and engagement in politics, and that will be a good thing for democracy. But first we need to find our self-confidence and become a successful, more prosperous and fairer nation. I am totally convinced that only a YES vote will get us to that point”

Don’t get me wrong. I am perfectly happy that Mr Mosson has opened his eyes and ears, discovered the possibilities for Scotland and is willing to persuade all his old labour pals to follow him. Can anyone tell me however, why does this argument sound good coming from his mouth when he and others mocked those of us who have been saying the same thing since 1926? It’s like we have been talking in code and only now they have worked out what the code was does it seem like a good idea.

I am glad that a growing band of Scottish Labour supporters now feel they can stand up and say exactly what they want for their country instead of blindly following their leadership. I just hope that they look after their newly found erect back bones and don’t weaken and slither back to following Johann et all who just want to shout about which gang is best to be in and to pettily block or hold up any progress by government to improve the wellbeing of the people of Scotland.

Perhaps, if we can shed the oppression of Westminster, politicians of all persuasions can do what the Scottish parliament was supposed to do. To be able to see a good idea when it is put forward and to work together, no matter what colour the party, to implement the good idea albeit with some compromise. Dare we hope?

 

Jimmy Halliday’s contributions to the Cause

To put matters into context, in 1955 the SNP contested only two Parliamentary seats in Scotland;  Dr Robert McIntyre fought Perth and East Perthshire, and Jimmy Halliday fought Stirling and Falkirk Burghs.   Jimmy then became the youngest ever SNP Chairman and served 1956 – 60;  in 1956 the entire SNP Conference delegates were photographed on the steps of the Allan Water Hotel, Bridge of Allan.
We are 10 months from a Referendum on Scottish Independence, which was unthinkable in 1955;  Jimmy died on 3rd January 2013 at the age of 85.  We intend to publish all Jimmy’s articles in the Scots Independent from August 2004 up to 2011, all the ones we have electronic input for.  It is anticipated we will publish a book on Jimmy’s contributions over many years, but this will have to wait until after the Referendum.

 

SI September 2007

Reluctant rulers always oppose political reform

James Halliday

Obtuse ignorance for many remains a chosen condition

When looking at the history of political reform we tend to focus upon the eventual achievement of success—new laws passed, injustices righted, the oppressed liberated. This is the happy ending. But before that ending, and the rejoicing which it brings, there has invariably been a delay, needlessly prolonged and tragic in its consequences.

Given the example of America, aspirations towards political rights for ordinary people in Britain grew from, say, the 1770s, but those in power were not inclined to share them. It took sixty years of jail sentences, cavalry charges, deportations and hangings, before a Reform Act was passed in 1832. This act was presented as bringing political perfection, the very final ideal constitutional position. No improvement could be envisaged let alone contemplated, nor would it be permitted. It took until 1948 before what is thought of as electoral democracy was finally achieved in Britain. When you ask the question,” When did Britain become a democracy?” you get some droll answers and seldom the correct one.

So, for more than a century, progress was made slow and frightened step by slow and frightened step. Progress was wrung from grudging and reluctant rulers who warned of the horrors to be anticipated from any concessions. Yet again, reform was going to mean that we’d all be ruined at least if not murdered in our beds.

Meanwhile in Scotland people lived through the period of their history which most truly deserves to be called tragic. In the years of economic prosperity benefits multiplied for those who had, and to them more was given. Prosperity and politics did not keep in step. While prosperity lasted it was not shared by the mass of the people who had no political power to enable them to claim their share. By the time that political power came to them the industrial prosperity was gone.

So, for most of the 19th and early 20th centuries Scots in industrial areas were exploited, impoverished, ill-nourished and ill-housed, while the political power which could have brought them relief was denied. How much suffering we would have been spared if the decisions of 1948 had been taken in 1832?

Similarly, what a pity that the Government which we have now achieved had not been conceded 40 years ago. Or, what a pity that the powers which our Government now enjoys had not been extended to the point of independence.

Why not? All past experience tends to show that objectives are reached sooner or later. The order “Thus far and no further” in 1832 was proved to be needless folly by 1948. The little flicker of hope in Hamilton in 1967 has become the modest flame of 2007. There is now enough of a political consensus to make further progress probable, and the day will come when people find themselves angrily puzzled that it was so long delayed.

Our opponents, true to form, are manning yet another last ditch. Labour always find some way to evade the real point of our confrontation. We don’t need their newest leader to tell us that voters are interested in social and economic realities rather than symbols of any sort. So are we and well she knows it. We argue, believe, and will work to prove, that material problems can be most sensibly dealt with once independence comes.

One result of the delays contrived by our opponents over the generations has been that we have had to go over and over again our explanations without having been favoured with a conclusive understanding. Some idea of what still remains to be done can be obtained from the responses printed in a recent “Sunday Herald”. “The money is coming from England.”  “Scotland is subsidised quite a bit in education and health.” “Scotland can’t afford independence.” “Scotland can’t survive on its own.” “Everything we get from Westminster, like money for the NHS.” “Independence would put up our taxes.” And “We are not financially capable.” Every speech, every article, every book, every investigation, every report which establishes that all such remarks are nonsense are as though they had never been. Obtuse ignorance for many remains a chosen condition.

And if not “too poor” there’s always the one about being too wee and weak. The Union “gives strength to the whole country.” Which one? “We depend on each other.” How? And for what? “We shouldn’t cut ourselves off.” Who suggests we should?

Finally, we have some nasty habits. There’s “too much Nationalism” and “the SNP is a bit xenophobic.”

And if not too poor and too small there’s always the fall-back position that we’re too stupid. These “Herald” snippets show that some at least of our fellow-citizens have a clear case to answer.

As our “Conversations” proceed we will have to suffer from individuals and from media commentators contributions which will astound in their absurdity and infantilism. We’ve had to counter them all before and must face the task yet again. Just clamber back to the parapet and do the best you can.