A real bid for Scottish independence needs to have a manifesto, an emotional statement of values that the new country stands for. It might go something like this:“We the Scots want to end all association with the United Kingdom and the British Empire. Scotland will be a democracy and the queen of England will be regarded as a foreign diplomat in our country. We will nationalise crown estates and lease the palaces to the UK government as embassies, with a view to returning them to Scotland as monuments. Scotland will remove all symbolism relating to Britain or the crown from its institutions and replace it with a Scottish identity.
We recognise and wish to undo the damage done in the worst periods of our history, including the clearances. Following independence there will be a reform of large land holdings in Scotland, which will return the land of large estates to local communities and encourage people to settle in areas that are presently sparse.
We assert that the culture of Scotland is predominantly celtic. We will revive and nurture our celtic heritage and seek to form the strongest cultural ties with Ireland, Brittany, Wales, Cornwall and the isle of Man. We feel European as well as Scottish and will pursue a vision of a strong federal Europe composed of regions rather than nation-states.
Our culture is joyful, and the purpose of culture and the state is to allow all people to thrive and enjoy life to the fullest. We reject puritan repression and all forms of discrimination and control over people. We embrace personal freedom, the pursuit of pleasure, inquiry, and industry, responsible participation in society, and democracy as the means to settle all social affairs.
We believe that people are the same one the the other and the world over, and that a good society is defined by its values. Our borders will be open to all who wish to settle in Scotland and live by those value, as long as can be supported by our small country.”
That’s what an inspired call for independence might look like. I’d vote for that. Or people might vote against it for deeply felt reasons. Either way, when setting out on independence you need to nail your colours to the mast like this. It’s not hard to do, you just have to say it.
That’s what I feel is lacking from tomorrow’s bid. Friends who vote yes for these reasons, or who think we’ll get there post-independence, I hear you but I’m not as optimistic.