Independence campaigners come out swinging for #ScotRef


Activists claim they are “ready” for another referendum campaign 

VETERANS of the first Scottish independence campaign are preparing themselves for a second referendum in late 2018 to early 2019.

Following an announcement from First Minister Nicola Sturgeon at Bute House this morning (13 March), that a new referendum was the result of the refusal of the UK Government to compromise on Scottish association with the EU after Brexit, independence activists have recommitted themselves to the cause.

CommonSpace rounds up the reaction of major Yes forces to the announcement of a second independence referendum.

Scottish Government

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon : “All of our efforts at compromise have been met with a brick wall of intransigence. UK membership of the single market was ruled out with no prior consultation with the Scottish Government or with the other devolved administrations, leaving us facing not just Brexit, but a hard Brexit.
“And far from any prospect of significant new powers for the Scottish Parliament, the UK Government is becoming ever more assertive in its intention to muscle in on the powers we already have. The language of partnership has gone, completely.

“I will continue to stand up for Scotland’s interests during the process of Brexit negotiations. But I will take the steps necessary now to make sure that Scotland will have a choice at the end of this process – a choice of whether to follow the UK to a hard Brexit, or to become an independent country able to secure a real partnership of equals with the rest of the UK and our own relationship with Europe.”

Scottish Greens

Scottish Green co-convenor Patrick Harvie said: “The Greens welcome the Scottish Parliament’s consent being sought for a Section 30 order on an independence referendum and we will support it.

“Scotland’s votes and our voice have been ignored by a Tory government at Westminster which we did not vote for and a feeble Labour opposition.

“The people of Scotland deserve a choice between Hard Brexit Britain and putting our own future in our own hands.”

Scottish Independence Convention

Convention Co-Convener Elaine C Smith said: “Representatives of all parts of Scotland’s independence movement met yesterday in Glasgow to finalise details of the work programme we are putting in place to get us ready to fight and win a new referendum for Scottish independence.

“Our movement is deep and wide. Our many people are strong and committed. We are determined not to rest until we rescue Scotland from being dragged into an era of intolerance and a politics of isolation.

We will never have the money, the power or the connections of the British state and its supporters. But we have a vision for Scotland’s future which will light people up with hope and help them to believe that the darker times ahead are not our only option.”

Co-Convenor Pat Kane said: “For those of us who think that indy in the EU is both an economic and social necessity, and a huge opportunity to launch Scotland as a nation-brand across the planet, I am delighted that Nicola has decided to go for a Scottish referendum before the Brexit negotiations conclude. 

“The arguments against the Union are stronger than they’ve ever been. However I think the sense of realism about how much work an indy Scotland will be in the early years is also now generally understood.

“But this time, it’s the ultimate choice. If we don’t win this argument for indy, faced with the extreme inequalities and harshnesses that Brexit will bring, then we can certainly put the constitutional question to rest in Scotland, for this generation at least. 

“As for how pro-indy people should conduct themselves in this referendum? Be the Scotland you wish to see. Take the high road. Be the candle, not the darkness. The world needs some good news about modern democracy. Let’s give them it.”

Vice-Convenor Lesley Riddoch said: “Nicola Sturgeon did the smart, bold thing today by getting ahead of the Brexit curve, surprising the commentators and reasserting Scotland’s right to decide its own place in Europe and the Union. Speaking in Bute House rather than the SNP conference, the indyref2 announcement about was made as First Minister of Scotland, not leader of the SNP. That’s an important distinction.

“Since the Brexit vote, Nicola Sturgeon has clearly sought to advance the interests of the 62 per cent for a differentiated deal within the United Kingdom – and she has proved that “parity of esteem” and “a partnership of equals” are just hollow words. This time round Scots can make a more informed choice – knowing that the only way to stay in the EU or within the single market is to vote for independence and knowing there is no chance of a confused and collapsing Labour Party changing the free-market, isolationist direction of the United Kingdom for years, maybe decades.

Yes supporters may not be singing from the rooftops over this long-awaited news – these are grim times – but the Scottish Independence Convention has been bringing the wider yes movement together in preparedness for this moment. We are ready to roll.”

Women for Independence

Kathleen Caskie, national co-ordinator of Women for Independence: “Women for Independence are ready for a second campaign.  We recognise it will be different from 2014, and we hope that it will be more thoughtful and more inclusive.  In particular we’d like to see greater emphasis on talking to and hearing from women.  We’d like there to be no ‘manels’ [all-male panels], and for all working for a pro-independence vote to consider how they can include women equally in their work.

“We already have in place a schedule for developing policy issues, as, for example, our recent National Council in Glasgow focused on food demonstrated, and we will continue with that programme as planned.   We will start to polish up our lines of communication and put some work into reinvigorating local groups where they are dormant, but we think the focus of a new referendum campaign will make this work very straightforward.

Radical Independence Campaign

In an immediate personal reaction, Radical Independence Campaign (RIC) co-founder Jonathon Shafi said: “The Tories have been a disgrace when it comes to Brexit. They want to rebuild ‘Empire 2.0’ while they deploy the worst kind of toxic rhetoric to keep people divided as living standards slump. RIC will be releasing a full statement on our role and objectives on Saturday, and have already arranged for a national meeting of all of our groups on April 1st. We will be making sure that independence is used as a platform for radical social change and to build a new internationalism from below.

“If the Tories try to block a referendum we will be calling for a mass movement to underline Scotland’s right to a referendum. We will be working with trade unionists, anti-poverty campaigners, migrants groups and environmentalists to make sure that the coming referendum, and its aftermath, have radical ideas at the centre.

“Nothing can be taken for granted – RIC will make sure that the voice of the voiceless is amplified, and that independence is both a repudiation of the Tories and Toryism in all its forms. The world is changing – the need to be bold, radical and ambitious about our agenda could not be more stark – and we are up for the challenge.”

Common Weal

CommonWeal director Robin McAlpine said: “We now have two years in which to choose a future for Scotland. Which means independence supporters have two years to persuade people that we have a proper plan for how to make an independent Scotland their best future. Today should focus our minds on how much work we now have to do, and just how important it is that we get on with it. This may be the last time we have a chance to fight for a non-Tory future for Scotland. We have to win.”

Business for Scotland

Business for Scotland chair Rob Aberdein said: “A Hard Brexit would be extremely damaging for Scotland, damaging exports and investment, driving inflation upwards and costing tens of thousands of jobs in Scotland.

“We welcome that the negative implications of Brexit will be outlined, alongside the challenges and opportunities of independence. Presenting a plan for maintaining prosperity for Scotland vs no plan from the Tory Government at Westminster. 

“Assuming that the UK PM does not agree to a differential deal for Scotland, this will not be not a rerun of 2014. Brexit and the UK Government’s refusal to respect the EU referendum result in Scotland means that the UK that Scottish voters narrowly voted to remain part of in 2014 no long exists.

“Business for Scotland will do everything we can to help deliver independence for Scotland so that we can create a better, fairer, more sustainable and economically successful nation where prosperity is shared.

Pictures courtesy of Maria Navarro Sorolla, CommonSpace, Facebook, 

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