The last few months have been quite the spectacular whirlwind as far as British politics goes. Nothing but utter chaos has ensued since the minute Theresa May arrogantly marched out of Number 10 and announced the most unnecessary election of modern times. From an expected Tory majority to the unprecedented return of the decimated Labour party to a cozy coalition with arguably the most right wing, bigoted party in the United Kingdom. Opinion polls across the entire country were soaring and subsequently dovetailing as each hour ticked by and I suspect the final result would’ve got you a few quid at the bookies.
The Queen’s Speech finally took place after being delayed partly due to the need for it to be written on goat skin parchment that of course takes a week to dry; and news broke of defeated wannabe MP Ian Duncan being royally shipped into the unelected House of Lords. I think I’ve well and truly reached the breaking point. My colleagues and I across the political spectrum have spent the last 8 weeks pounding the streets of Scotland, leaving no door un-knocked, no leaflet undelivered and no voter neglected. All in the name of certainty before the Brexit negotiations began. Yet here we are, election done and dusted, with a hung parliament, a ridiculed Prime Minister in denial, an unelected Tory representing Scotland at the Brexit negotiations and even less certainty than we already had the pleasure of before the election was called. It truly beggars belief.
As I attempt to be light-hearted about what this utter shambles of a Government means for our country, I can’t help but fear the unknown. Theresa May’s increasingly desperate grip on power has reduced the Conservative party to enter into a deal with the DUP, a move that sacrifices our modern way of life. Amongst the most archaic of the Democratic Unionist Party’s policies is the criminalisation of abortion, even when the child was conceived through rape and the belief that homosexuality is unnatural. Has Britain learned nothing from the trials and tribulations of the past? As right wing-ism is on the rise globally, we need an effective antidote to this kind of rhetoric – not another apologist for it.
While Theresa May Mexican waves her way across Europe and gleefully describes the DUP as not only “allies” but also “friends” – more people per year are dying from her parties policies than lung Cancer. We have children, in one of the richest nations in the world, going to school on an empty stomach. Disabled people unable to leave their house due to their motability vehicles being confiscated. People with severe mental health disorders being deemed “fit for work” and having their benefits confiscated. Now on top of what was already a shambolic attempt at leadership, in a last ditch attempt to cling on to power, the PM is entering into a deal with a party that doesn’t believe in the rights of women or LGBT citizens.
As an avid believer in Scottish Independence, the continued failures of the UK Government only reaffirms my belief in the cause. However, what troubles me is that despite these policies, despite the need for food banks in a first world country in 2017, despite the consistent ignorance towards Scotland – so many Scots are still adverse to the idea of Scotland being independently governed. From my experience, independence doesn’t appeal to the majority for a multitude of reasons but is specifically due to a lack of understanding about what it would actually mean for us to be independent. I have genuinely heard horror stories about Scotland physically breaking away from the UK, as if the moment we declare ourselves as Independent, we’re going to break off and float away into the sea. It’s absurd. It is so drastically important that as we move towards Independence, we properly address these concerns and become more radical in our approach if we are ever to succeed.
Scotland is crying out for a leftist, socialist movement. We just witnessed a massive surge, particularly in young voters, towards Jeremy Corbyn for that very reason. Although his title as king socialist is rather questionable gathering his manifesto approved the renewal of trident nuclear weaponry when foodbank use across Britain is at an all-time high. The appetite for socialism in the face of a hard right, hell-bent on austerity Conservative alternative is enormously apparent. This is why I find myself confused. Independence is all about freedom and socialism and collectivism. What I became a part of in the run up to 2014 was a beautiful movement of people who wanted better. Not only for themselves, but for each other. I witnessed a movement that stood up for the rights of women, the disabled and ethnic minorities. A movement that stood up for the abolition of the obscenity that is nuclear weaponry, a fairer welfare system, the future of our children and so much more. What I experienced throughout my months of campaigning was pure, raw passion for change and most importantly, hope. Yet, while Scotland craves a shift towards collectivism, this opportunity for real social change was rejected by the very people that disagree entirely with the UK Governments god awful policies and long for change.
One of the biggest issues our movement now faces is the growing opinion that the Labour party are somehow going to save Scotland from this great big Conservative disaster. As a party that claims to be the height of socialism and a friend to the working class, we have literally witnessed their Scottish leader encouraging her voters to VOTE TORY to “beat the SNP”. They are a party so blinded by their hatred of the SNP that the people they are supposed to represent often come second on the agenda. A party that is so desperately split between Corbynism and Blairism that they don’t know left from right, this isn’t a party that can protect Scotland from the Conservative agenda. In fact, if Labour would hang up the boxing gloves and get on board with Independence, they’d see their popularity soar when it came to the first parliamentary election in an Independent Scotland.
As a movement, before we plough into Indyef2 we need to address these hurdles properly. We need to ensure that before we put this back on the table, we have listened to the 55% and have answered their questions thoroughly, effectively and most importantly, positively. I know how impatience might want to get the better of us, but Independence IS coming. Our generation will deliver it, but timing is imperative.
-Kelly Given, YSI Equalities Officer