“..for, as long as but a hundred of us remain alive, never will we on any conditions be brought under English rule. It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting, but for freedom – for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself. .”
So assert those who signed the Declaration of Arbroath in 1320. A document that alongside Magna Carta is said to have influenced the founding fathers of America and their constitution.
The first part of that quote deals specifically with English rule. Not surprising as that was our enemy at the time. But times change, and I don’t believe for a moment that those who produced the document would have been any happier to submit to the rule of the French or Germans. Rather it’s the second part that I love and cherish. The ideal that freedom and liberty are in of themselves something worth fighting and dying for, and that economic gain is not even part of the equation. “Give me liberty, or give me death.” Said Patrick Henry. Today it seems to be more “give me liberty, but not if it means the value of my house drops.” Times change indeed.
Marching for Independence at the annual Bannockburn rally each June was a regular event for me between the ages of 14-17 and again between 21-25.(The hiatus was my military service.) I have a picture somewhere of a 16 year old me dressed in camouflage, draped in a Saltire beneath the statue of Robert Bruce. It’s safe to assume I wasn’t a unionist. I’m still not. Now, as then, I am a true believer in, and fully committed to, the principles of Independence and self determination. My first vote went to the SNP, and even during my spell in Her Majesty’s service my mother would faithfully cast my vote for the Nats by proxy. I’ve been a member of that party. I campaigned for Tom MacAlpine and Kay Ullrich, and I even had a brief spell as convenor of the Motherwell South branch. Although by that time I was already becoming deeply dismayed at the lurch to the left the party was taking.
So what, you may ask, has changed? Well the SNP have. Profoundly. The shocking fact of the matter is that as a party they no longer believe in the principle of self determination, but have rather abandoned it and embraced the principle of union. Independence, is a bit of a dirty word. “Independence in Europe”, the Scottish Notional(sic) Party’s stance, is an oxymoron. I suppose there is much to be said for EU membership, but it’s all irrelevant. You may think it’s a good idea, but by no stretch of a retarded baboon’s imagination can it be called independence. There is no such creature as an independent sovereign nation state within the EU. It’s kind of the whole point of it. What the Notionalists actually seek is a power transferal from Westminster to Brussels. To recall your EU passport region UK, and reissue you with an EU passport region Scotland. Strange behaviour for a party that gets Nicky’s knickers in a twist when the supreme court or the unionist press refer to scotland as a region.
After 300 years of political and economic union with it’s southern neighbour that, the SNP demonstrably feel, have been detrimental to Scotland. You would think we would learn a valuable lesson about unions. But no. Being one voice in 29 is deemed somehow and inexplicably preferable to being one voice in 4. The mind boggles at the the apparent naivety . At the last Independence referendum I was asked a simple question. “Should Scotland be an Independent country?” Nothing whatsoever about becoming a member of the EU. But even then I knew that the SNP would deceitfully use this as a mandate to do just that. I deliberated, I agonised, I seriously considered abstaining but in the end “Yes” was the answer I reluctantly gave. I was almost relieved when the No vote was returned. Almost.
Now post Brexit referendum Nicola Sturgeon falsely claims that Scotland and it’s people have the same irrational love affair with the EUnion as she. While it’s true that Scotland returned more votes to remain than England, it is hardly a clear cut case. Little Nicky promised Scotland that if our vote was at odds with England’s then we would have a case for a second Independence referendum. Yes voting Scots, many of whom voted yes not out of a genuine desire for Independence, but to “get rid of the F**king Tories”, bought it. But according to a report in The Sunday Times of January 29th which backs up my own findings, little Nicky is facing internal calls to abandon her support for the EU lest she loses a second referendum. This goes beyond the odd Jim Sillars or Jim Fairlie. There are a sizeable amount of old school Nationalists exasperated with their leadership’s tumescence for EUnionism.
Many will point out that EU membership for an independent Scotland is far from a foregone conclusion. It’s problematic to say the least. Spain, with concerns over the autonomous aspirations of it’s own regions, would block any move to reward Scotland with admittance. That may well be the case, but for me the risk is to great. The Notionalists are a greater threat to my national and personal sovereignty than the traitors who enabled the Act of Union in 1707. Many for exactly the same logical sounding social and economic reasons as Nicola Sturgeon gives for the European Union. As long as the independence question remains inextricably linked to the SNP desire to sell on my sovereignty. I cannot and will not return a yes vote.
As long as I remain alive I will never submit to EU rule. It is not for investment, security, or farming subsidies for which I fight. But for freedom ALONE. It’s time to send Little Nicky and the SNP homeward. Tae think again.
Tom Laird is Leader of the Scottish Libertarian Party and co-host of the Scottish Liberty Podcast with Antony Sammeroff. He lives in Edinburgh