I wrote the piece below for the Scottish Independent paper last year some 8 Months after the independence referendum . It is an analogy of the situation we were in at that point in time with no attempt to address the issues which lost us the referendum in September 2014. Now some 22 Months after the referendum we are still in exactly the same position.
We have had various sound bites such as “the Scottish people will tell us when they are ready for another referendum “and ” we will begin a process to address the issues we lost the last referendum on in the Summer”. Well it is the Summer and there is as yet no new initiative to do any such thing.
Yes we have had a referendum on the EU but this was known a long time ago and should have been factored in to the planning , allowing a seamless change of gear into ,at the very least an information update and means by which the grass roots groups could once again get back on the road armed with the official position on things like pensions and the monitory situation . After the EU referendum it is also obvious that we need to address the misinformation of that campaign as there are a lot of people who actually equate the European Union with the Union we are in as part of the United Kingdom and are under the misapprehension that we are tied to the EU in the same way as we are tied to the UK and that the EU is in some way un democratic.
It is being reported today that Nicola Sturgeon has said that a referendum could happen in the first half of next year , but although she was asked that question, she did not answer in the manner it is being reported . Early next Summer would of course be the ideal time to once more go for it.
Yes there will be negotiations for Scotland to possibly remain in the EU but it should be only if we should by some chance loose another independence referendum. It looks very much as though the SNP seem to be pulling out all the stops to allow us to remain both in the EU and by default in the UK. That is not the job of the SNP whether they are part of the Scottish government or not.
So there is a lot to do and the SNP had better get their finger out and produce a proper “Road Map to independence” there will never be a better time with both the parties who apposed independence in such a mess.
THE NORTH STAR
The other night at the end of a very pleasant social get together at a friend’s house I decide to walk home instead of summoning a Taxi. I live in the hills above Dundee, it was a couple of mile walk, under a clear but Moonless sky, which made it very dark at ground level. I was on a good road and knew where I was going but when I looked up at the sky and took in the wonders of the universe it took me back to another time in my life many years ago, when trudging through the Scottish mountains on a military exercise in the early hours of the morning I lost my footing and tumbled down an embankment finishing up in quite a fast flowing stream. Not a lot of fun, you can well imagine, struggling with a heavy pack which had become partially detached from my body.
We always carried dry clothing in a waterproof bag inside the Bergan and so I set about getting myself sorted out and changed. It was mid-Winter and not a comfortable experience. Once changed and some rather wet food down my neck, I went to check my bearing, only to discover I had lost my compass. Not the most desirable position to be in about two in the Morning mid-Winter in the depths of the Scottish Mountains and having already walked for a considerable distance.
A few expletives were expressed before I considered plan B and that was to look up, which cheered me up immensely as a reasonably clear sky with patchy cloud greeted me. I still had my map and knew that my intended direction of travel was in a northerly direction. I found the Plough and took a line through the Easterly two stars to find Polaris or the North star and also took note of the Seven Sisters to the East of Polaris, (always best to have two points of reference) as my next pan B. My next move of course was to consult my Map to make sure I did not come upon any more streams that I was likely to fall into. After several more hours and constant reference to both the North star and the Seven Sisters I eventually arrived at the final rendezvous point, tired but accomplished, climbed into my sleeping bag and looked up to see the clouds coming in covering both Polaris and the Seven Sisters ,but by that time they had done their job.
So this brings my back to the other night, because as I looked up to the Sky, I again saw the Plough and traced it to the North Star (or Polaris) and then East to the Seven sisters. I saw two meteors completing their billion year journey in a flaming crescendo as they entered the Earth’s atmosphere. It took me back light years to that time in the past, but this time I did not have a heavy pack I did not have Mountains to climb, I was not about to fall into any rivers and I was heading home.
I thought about our journey, Scotland’s Journey and couldn’t help but draw parallels. We too, are on a difficult journey, a journey to independence. We fought through the rough terrain last year, the ups and downs of the misinformation the adverse media and on the 18th September we fell down the embankment and into the stream.
We had also lost our compass because the SNP were like rabbits caught in the headlights of a car on a dark road, they had no plan B and although I approached them a couple of days after the referendum to find out what plan B was, I was met with blank look. It must have been a cloudy night, the North Star had evaded them. Some of us wanted to drag ourselves out of the stream find the North Star and continue on our journey. We wanted to continue on a lesser level, the campaign to inform and educate the Scottish people as to the truth behind the fear campaign conducted by Better Together. Well after the hate and disparagement displayed by the Westminster parties in the run up to the Westminster elections, we now know just how better together we really are.
Most people saw the SNP as the conduit to independence and in their tens of thousands they looked to them as being their North Star, but they forgot about the seven Sisters, the back up the extra guide to the North Star. The SNP rode a wave of support and hope which took 56 of them all the way down to Westminster. The SNP are by far the best and most able political party in the country at this time, but they are not perfect and this surge in support for them does not reflect necessarily what they have done, but what the other parties such as Labour and the Tories who purport to be parties of Scotland, have “not” done and that is support the people of Scotland and indeed have deceived and worked against the people of Scotland.
One of the things that the SNP did do, which made a difference, was to replace Alex Salmond with Nicola Sturgeon. Now Alex Salmond is probably the most able politician in the UK but he was a liability during the referendum. We constant had people come up to us when we were campaigning on the streets of Dundee and say that they would vote Yes but they did not like “that Man Salmond” He was also responsible for the confusion on Monetary Union, which he was right about, but people couldn’t understand why there was no plan B but instead of simply explaining plan B, C and D on day one after the gang of three stated that there would be no monetary union, he doggedly stated that they would accept it. He was right , yes of course the UK would have had to have accepted monetary union, but the problem was that wee Jeanie from Fintry could not understand that, and was looking for plan B to feel reassured of her future. A similar situation pertained regarding pensions.
Now why regurgitate all of this some eleven Months after the referendum? Well I will tell you why. Because before any future referendum takes place, these questions have to be answered and it will take around a year of canvasing, mail shots, public meetings etc.to get the answers to these questions firmly established in the Scottish people’s psyche, so up till now while the SNP have been riding the wave of what they see is popularity they have wasted eleven months in the journey to independence.
Now, you might ask why I was thinking about this whilst walking home at one o’clock in the morning and what did it have to do with the North Star and the Seven Sisters. Well it is all about dragging yourself out of the stream making yourself as comfortable and functional as possible, assessing your assets, making use of them and heading to your final destination without delay, because every new journey begins with the first step.
Now if you believe in Astrology, this is the Age of the Goddess. The North Celestial Pole now resides in the constellation Ursa Minor near the star Polaris. Many legends and myths associated with the star Polaris and Ursa Minor are about women and spiritual principles. This great age could be referred to as the Age of Polaris, the Age of Ursa Minor, the Age of the Little Bear, the Age of Women
Sound familiar? Well there are many people who would look upon Nicola Sturgeon as the savior and perhaps look upon this as being the age of Women. Could she be the North Star, our beacon in troubled times. Well perhaps. She has at least taken away one of the main obstacles we faced during the campaign, Alex Salmond.
She has generated huge worldwide interest in a possible return match in the fight for independence and she had an enormous amount of support in Scotland. She has stated quite a number of times that there will be a referendum when the people of Scotland wish there to be one.
But, and it is a big but. She has not in any way laid out the clear circumstances for deciding when and how the people of Scotland’s intentions will be assessed and indeed heard. The expectation management of the SNP is non-existent as is their forward strategy abilities.
There is great confusion regarding whether there will be any debate on whether a referendum or road to a referendum will be included in the agenda for discussion at the party conference in Aberdeen later in the year.
Well Nicola if you aspire to be the goddess Polaris , our North Star, you need to guide, you need to inspire, you need to be there when we drag ourselves out of the stream and are looking for plan B and we need a rout to march down for this is our journey and we will complete it with or without any personalities and if the North Star becomes obscure because of cloud, we will look to the Seven Sisters.
We have lost our compass and are looking for the North Star to continue our journey
The Seven Sisters