I’ve received an invite from John Sharp to write a blog.
What to do?
I’m up to my ears in copy and organisational work for Independence magazine and the Party. It never stops. Maybe this is the last thing I need.
Being faced with 40 or so blank pages – in addition to editorial work elsewhere – sees me churn out around 100 pages or so every eight weeks.
So what do I say to John?
What I should say is thanks, but no thanks. What I do say is, thanks for the invitation, John. I’ll give it a go. It may well have to be a slightly occasional contribution at times but I’ll do my best because I always try to help anyone in the Party or Independence movement.
So here I am. And here you are.
We’ve been brought together by our desire for Independence – a legitimate ambition worth working for.
I’ve been a member of the Party since 1974. Hard to believe I know, thanks to me retaining my boyish good looks and charm, but there you are.
Given that timeframe, you can imagine that helping to achieve the restoration of our Independence is a lifetime’s ambition for me. Now, at last, it is in sight.
Sometimes when you’re this close to something – be it a political campaign, an innovative project, or even a football team (c’mon St Mirren!) – you don’t quite appreciate the success you have already achieved and the enormity of the task you are taking on.
When I signed up to the Party, the SNP was minuscule compared to the modern organisation it is today. I remember thinking when I joined that what we were attempting was the equivalent of turning an oil tanker into a rowing boat.
Westminster is entrenched in English society and was never going to, and never will give up clinging on to our country without a fight.
So our peaceful campaigning, appealing to the people to come along, believe, and ultimately vote for us and Independence was only ever going to take a while.
I understand the frustration that many people in the Independence movement feel with a perceived lack of progress in recent years. Many newcomers or at least relatively newcomers feel we should be there right now.
But it is much more complicated when you know that one wrong move, one wrong decision will be portrayed to our population as a complete failure and the chance will be gone, possibly for years.
What we should all bear in mind is the size of the task we have all taken on. And understand the layer upon layer of complications and underhand tactics from unionists that the Party and the movement face from a unionist collective comfortable in its skin and now depending on the law to deny us our democratic voice.
And they will think nothing of conjuring up some other distraction to disrupt any timetable we may be working to.
In recent years, and in no particular order, the SNP has faced an EU election we did not think we would have to fight, a snap general election for Westminster, a Brexit campaign, a Holyrood general election, local elections… and Covid-19.
Where, I wonder, was the space for any meaningful Independence campaign time in amongst that little lot?
Add in the utter nonsense of supposed missing funds and spurious attacks on our leadership and the Party and you can see how squeezed time has been for us.
Compare the grilling the FM went through to the charade of the Boris Johnson era and the easy journey Boris enjoyed as he traveled through scandal after scandal.
Right now, and without any deep political analysis, we should all be putting those new HQ leaflets through letterboxes as the Party and FM begin to ramp up the campaign with October 23 coming into sight.
Quite what the Supreme Court will do we have no say in. We only hope Scotland’s legal and political brains can make a case for democracy to prevail.
This is part of a process we must go through. If we are not seen to exhaust every avenue then we leave ourselves open to charges of ignoring due process and ignoring the people.
Under any quantifiable political system and by accepted political practice in these islands we have the absolute right to hold a referendum.
Westminster will look ridiculous on the European and World stage for backing democracy in Ukraine but denying it to a democratic Scotland. ‘Here’s your car, we’ll keep the keys’, won’t work for any length of time.
That tanker I once thought of is now turning so fast. Our rowing boat has become equal and more.
There are people, including relatives of mine that said it was impossible to get even to this stage – but here we are.
I firmly believe we will prevail but we must be patient and keep working as hard as possible as this all pans out. If we lose our focus… we lose.