The Yes campaign was not, is not and will never be a movement where everyone agrees on everything. How could it be? From those who favour a left wing socialist Scotland to those who align with the more conservative ideals of Michael Fry, the movement for Scotland’s Independence covers a wide array of political viewpoints – and that should be respected.
It was obvious that the Sustainable Growth Commission, or any report from any specific body, couldn’t appeal to everyone who supports Scotland’s Independence. I’m sure there were a few raised eyebrows at Common Weal’s ‘How to start a new country’, if not the same level of opposition to it.
The point is the independence movement – if it is truly to be a movement – has to capture the hearts and minds of a wide range of people. From unskilled workers to high flying executives, from teenagers just old enough to vote to pensioners who have been voting for decades – we have to connect with everyone. It has to embrace the foibles of the rights and the opinion of the left, the environmentalism of the greens to the determination of those who want to use all our resources for Scotland’s benefit. A movement can’t be narrowly defined, following a strict set of policies and aspirations. It has to be a bigger tent that allows everyone in who supports the single, basic premise that decisions made about Scotland should be taken here in Scotland; that Independence is the only future for Scotland.
Sometimes I worry that we are too busy trying to figure out what we want to see in an independent Scotland that we’ve lost sight that we haven’t yet won our independence.
The Sustainable Growth Commission is a valuable addition to the debate about independence – as were documents from Common Weal and others. It is about independence and the possibilities that independence can bring but it is not a prescribed route to independence any more than Common Weal’s recent paper, or other ideas currently doing the rounds such as Land Value Tax (Aggregate Ground Rent) or a Citizen’s Income. These are contributions to the debate that we can sit down and settle when we get to vote for our first Independent Scottish Parliament.
In some ways I’m wary of reports like the Sustainable Growth Commissions – in the same way as the 2014 White Paper gave too many options for disagreement and too much latitude for opponents to find issues that they could attack Independence with.
Independence to me is not about economic or currency – as important as these issues are – its about having a fully functioning democracy in Scotland where our votes count. It’s about choosing a government, of whatever political flavour, that is favoured by the majority of voters in Scotland, one whose sole focus is to make an Independent Scotland prosper.
Maybe instead of long winded reports we should simply paint a few slogans on a bus instead!