Ross Greer MSP tells #RIC2016 “start campaigning for independence now”


Leading independence strategists pick over post-Brexit independence possibilities

ROSS GREER, Scotland’s youngest MSP and a former staffer at the Yes campaign during the 2014 independence referendum, has called on independence activsts to “start campaigning for independence now”.

Greer, the Scottish Green party MSP for the West Scotland region, told the Radical Independence Campaign’s 2016 in the Marriott Hotel in Glasgow that polls would continue to disappoint independence supporters until the campaign was recommenced, and that it could begin before another referendum is announced.

Addressing a meeting on independence strategy, he said: “The answer is to start campaigning for independence now. A lot of commentators have said that the movement towards independence in the polls is starting to reverse. Of course it has, we haven’t been campaigning.”

“We can start campaigning before a second referendum is called, indeed we have to, for it to be called,” he added.

Greer cautioned against waiting for a referendum until after Brexit, the prospect of which has been brought about by the UK’s vote to leave the EU in June.

“If we leave the EU as part of the UK we will then face the prospect of a vote to leave the only organisation we are part of. That will be tough,” he explained.

However, Greer also said that the pro-independence positon had been strengthened by subsequent political developments, including the stark decline of Scottish Labour, which has fallen to third place in the Scottish Parliament behind the Scottish Conservatives

“The next referendum will be totally different from 2014,” he said.

“The balance of forces is on our side.”

“A lot of commentators have said that the movement towards independence in the polls is starting to reverse. Of course it has, we haven’t been campaigning.” Ross Greer MSP

The RIC 2016 session titled ‘After Brexit: The politics of a future referendum’, saw a full range of opinions expressed on the timing and nature of a future referendum, with no unified position arrived at on how to proceed in circumstances of unprecedented political instability.

Director of the Common Weal think tank and author of a new book on independence strategy, Robin McAlpine, urged a more cautious approach and for more research to take place before campaigning work began.

He said: “I’m not convinced we haven’t lost more people through the drop in oil prices than we gained through Brexit.

“We need to think about the long game. We need to be in the planning phase now, not the campaigning phase. We haven’t even done an autopsy on 2014.

“We can’t have 5000 different strategies on the go at the same time. The Scottish Independence Convention is holding a big conference in January, we should all take that seriously.”

Sarah Collins, one of the Radical Independence movements leading trade unionists asserted it was up to the independence movement to decide when the next referendum should come, and not down to any group of politicians.

“A social movement is an organic process” she said.

“It isn’t up to Brussels, or Westminster or even Holyrood when the next referendum happens. It is up to us to decide that.”

SNP MSP Joan McAlpine told the meeting that Brexit had underlined the democratic defecit in the UK but alo sounded a note of caution.

She said: “The SNP do have a mandate to hold another referendum.

“We are still a long way from winning another referendum, because this time we have to win.”

Picture: CommonSpace

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