At the weekend there was a People’s Vote rally in Edinburgh that had speakers from the liberal left based in England. Sure, the likes of Dr. Tanja Bueltmann were there, but mainly it was people like Rory Bremner, Gavin Esler and Menzies Campbell who spoke to around 1k people about the need for a second Brexit vote. The line ”love the UK, love the EU’ was pitched. This sparked independence supporters to refute this on everyone’s favourite online Thunderdome, Twitter.
The jist is that people saw a movement which til now has focused, rightly, on drumming up support for a second referendum in England but had totally forgotten Scotland existed because Scotland voted 62% to Remain and Edinburgh the remain vote was 74%. So to many people it just looked like a bunch of folk who were in the area for the festival turning up to make a few speeches then vanish back down south.without engaging what’s happened in Scotland since the EU referendum because it hasn’t went down the same path as England.
On Saturday in Dundee, somewhere between 12k and 16k people marched through the city in support of independence, and of Scotland independent within the EU. The People’s Vote has ignored the fact for two years the people of Scotland have been fighting to not just stay in the EU, but to preserve devolution itself which is at risk from Brexit. So to have folk swan in and out telling people in Scotland what they should do reminds too many people of the independence referendum in 2014 when folk based in England swept in to tell people what to do, including telling people a Yes vote would be the best way to lose EU membership so vote No said people like, Gavin Esler and Rory Bremner.
We know how that turned out.
Scotland is treated as an afterthought by the main Westminster parties. Theresa May swans in and out of Scotland giving the air of someone who’d rather be at her own funerals, while Jeremy Corbyn swans up for a few days to put us bloody Jocks back in their place because that’s been Labour’s job.All the time the message is ‘be more like the rest of the UK, just conform to what England does’ and that’s what drives people insane as this has never worked. The UK’s political system was for years held together by bits of string & chewing gum but all its horrible flaws are now exposed, but Esler, etc don’t propose a People’s Vote which will result in this being rectified. They just want Scotland’s vote and when they get them (because polls now show support for the EU to be around 70%) they’ll walk away.
It is the idea that for two years Scotland has sat around doing nothing but here’s Rory Bremner here to put us right. The same man who wrote this now quite pitiful piece in the Telegraph four years ago (there’s also an exceptionally cruel line about Charles Kennedy’s alcoholism) that said basically Scotland should vote No because it might, possibly, perhaps get a better deal and hey, Kirsty Wark made it big so it shows Scotland is doing well!!
It is bullshit.
When pushed as to why they won’t support at least the principle of a second independence referendum, the likes of Esler, Bremner, etc say ‘ah well, you voted No in 2014. Shut up and support this’ which is at best, tone deaf.
So to hell with Bremner and those like him. The English liberal left has never been there to show solidarity with Scotland having chosen to show their solidarity by standing back when the Tories decimated Scottish industry and brought in the likes of the Poll Tax. But Brexit is important to fight however a second UK wide vote will give Scotland whatever England votes for, so independence is important as if Scotland wins it, then all cards are in the air, including Brexit. The problem is that too many pushing for a People’s Vote are also those most in favour of a return to the status quo and that ship sailed.
Want to help? Understand Scotland’s politics and history. Understand what Scotland has done to speak up for immigrants and protect them as much as possible. Perhaps put feelers out to Indy groups; see if you can work together but don’t assume the argument in Scotland is the same as England. It isn’t just as it isn’t the same in Gibraltar or Northern Ireland. Even Wales is starting to shift slightly away but don’t assume things can go back to normal as that (whatever it was) is no longer on the table. Want allies? Then speak to folk and understand the situation rather than preach.
The ball is in the court of the People’s Vote. We have a large organised grassroots campaign in Scotland that can attract tens of thousands in areas that weren’t big on supporting independence four years ago. It has been built up with zero support from the media, or the liberal left in England but it’s the sort of activist base political parties and movements would die for. Why not make bridges to help fight Brexit but the People’s Vote need to give a hell of a lot, and ensure they don’t do anything as cack-handed as the weekend in Scotland again.