Today is Scotland’s Day. We should celebrate our country and we should also especially celebrate it as this will be the last time we will do so without being a fully Independent country in our own right.
The First Minister has made a clear promise that if an SNP majority or a pro Independence majority is achieved in the forthcoming Scottish elections in May next year an Independence Referendum will follow very shortly, certainly within the second half of 2021.
That is something to celebrate because I am sure that when it goes ahead the people of Scotland will vote for Independence as they will see the overwhelming sense that the task of rebuilding our economy, after the twin blows of Covid 19 and being dragged out the EU and Single Market, are best handled by those who live and work in Scotland and who can best determine how to use Scotland’s resources on Scotland’s priorities.
When the alternative to that is remaining with the status quo and relying on the Westminster Tory Government to take on the task of rebuilding Scotland its not difficult to identify why most Scots now favour Independence. For the first time in my life the people of Scotland are out in front of our politicians demanding Independence. The politicians are having to learn catch up. How great is that?
I was also greatly encouraged by Mike Russell’s comments yesterday when he spoke out strongly in favour of a United Party but encouraging the most open discussion and debate within the Party on the various options before us. He has been around a long time and rightly boasted of the tradition of free debate that has existed in the SNP. The understanding and strength that comes from not trying to stifle alternative views. The Party should listen to him, it would be a much healthier and united Party if more members understood why that freedom of speech entitlement is crucial. I welcome his appeal and am happy to respond positively to it.
I am reluctant to blame the more recent recruits for the intolerance that divides the Party at this time but they don’t have the experience to realise the great strength that comes from true debate of divergent views. The policies that often emerge from such a debate are likely more robust and resilient and as such offers fewer hostages to fortune than an untested policy. Mike Russell is experienced enough to understand unity comes from tolerance of all views and proper, polite discussion that avoids, name calling, insults, bad language and all the other divisive nonsense that passes for politics these days.
Yesterday on a thread I was reading the name of Antony JC Kerr, a very well known nationalist from the past, now sadly departed, was mentioned and on this St Andrews Day I want to tell you all about a little known fact about Antony which illustrates what an inclusive Party the SNP were in years gone by. Antony was one of life’s eccentrics, quite brilliant, but eccentric in his manner and appearance. I was in severe disagreement with the Tory Party over the attempts to close Ravenscraig and Gartcosh. The postman arrived at my home and there was a long letter from Antony. In it he explained that every year he purchased six membership cards for the SNP and over the course of the year he would issue them to people who he believed were patriots of Scotland and deserving the honour of being a member of the SNP. It was a lovely gesture, the more so when some six months later he travelled to the border to “see off” the Gartcosh Marchers on our long trek to London with a tipple from his bottle of whisky, bought specially for the event! He was an inspiration to me at the time and a big part of why I eventually joined the SNP. He regularly wrote some truly excellent letters to Scotland’s newspapers arguing the case for Independence. He became quite famous for doing so.
So for all the above reasons let us follow Antony’s example, celebrate our National Day, recognise and respect each other, keep our politics open and honest and look forward to winning that freedom that will win us all the gratitude and admiration of all future generations of Scots to come.
I am, as always
Yours for Scotland
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TONIGHT ON INDYLIVE RADIO 6pm all the bloggers attacked by Pete Wishart reply and also discuss issues relating to the Conference and some issues Conference avoided.