Six months today, the people of Scotland will have a fifteen-hour window in which they hold the future of their country in their hands. That day marks the culmination of decades of effort from those who tirelessly kept alive the hope and ambition of an idea whose time has now come.
Scotland’s national movement was born in the hearts of a small band of visionaries, poets and romantics who saw independence as the natural state for a country with a distinct culture and heritage.
That desire for independence has been fuelled by British decline. Decades of resentment at deindustrialisation, inequality and a democratic deficit has created a national movement entrenched on the left. As much a rejection of Westminster-centricism and the Tory right as an assertion of identity, the romantic nationalism of the movements pioneers has been replaced by a pragmatic, progressive and inclusive demand for self-government.
We at National Collective are enormously proud to be part of a movement that continues to inspire and continues to demand better for our country.
And as we enter the final six months of the campaign we see a campaign that can win.
Since the election of 2011 the traditional campaigning bodies of political parties have been joined by a variety of grassroots groups and activists with the potential to mobilise on a huge scale. Mass canvass sessions in recent weeks have seen dozens knocking doors in Easterhouse and 160 activists spread across Gorgie and Dalry. The traditional town-hall meeting is being revived, with meetings across the country drawing hundreds apiece – at a recent event in Edinburgh some sixteen additional rows of seats were laid out as volunteers scrambled to pack in the 400-strong audience who’d come to one of four meetings in the city centre alone.
In local Yes Scotland groups the steady work of dedicated volunteers will see – literally – millions of doors knocked and millions of leaflets delivered between now and September. The Radical Independence Campaign will target Scotland’s deprived communities with their hard-hitting message that ‘Britain is for the rich – Scotland can be ours’. Women For Independence have outlined ambitious plans to target female voters. The Common Weal project is drawing together progressive ideas for Scotland’s future which is garnering support across the independence movement. Business for Scotland, a network of pro-independence (mainly small-)business owners, will continue to make the economic case for independence, dismantling disingenuous arguments that Scotland is too poor to be independent or would uniquely be faced with insurmountable challenges. Whilst the Scottish Government, Greens, SSP and Labour for Independence put forward their visions of an independent Scotland.
And we at National Collective are planning to build on the work of the last two years with an ambitious cultural programme as part of Scotland’s Summer of Independence.
The barriers between us and victory are not small. But the strength and the passion of our movement can see us rise to the scale of the challenge. Last month we said that the referendum was becoming a battle between the elite and a grassroots movement of the people – while the sneering attacks of Bullingdon Boys flounder, it is up to us to work and to win.
Volunteer with your local Yes group. Persuade your pals. Donate to the group who are doing the work that you think matters.
We can make a better Scotland happen.
Let’s get to work.
Photograph by Robb Mcrae