Why the indyref changed us all

POSITIVELY YES: the shift began in Scotland with the Yes campaign, where we found our voices. We are a galvanised society, hungry for change. The feelings of many have been made public in our reaching out to those fleeing oppression, remembering we are all humans. (Photo: Craig Maclean)

POSITIVELY YES: the shift began in Scotland with the Yes campaign, where we found our voices. We are a galvanised society, hungry for change. The feelings of many have been made public in our reaching out to those fleeing oppression, remembering we are all humans. (Photo: Craig Maclean)

by Sandra Webster, SSP national co-spokesperson Looking at social media at the moment. It is full of people’s memories of when we were on the eve of the referendum, one year ago. We were all tired but on fire at the thoughts we dared to dream—of an independent Scotland, which had the potential to transform the society we lived in. I was so inspired by the vision so many of us shared. Those behind the No campaign may try to make us believe that the battle has been lost but we are waking up to the fact that the referendum was only a skirmish. The opportunity for a kinder, fairer society is still within reach.

For evidence of this, we need look no further than the truly grassroots campaign that is emerging to offer practical support to refugees and those who want to make Europe their home.

We all want what’s best for our families. Why would anyone send their loved ones on a leaky boat, knowing the dangers, unless there was no other option?

The government would have us believe folk are “economic migrants”, and have spun this rhetoric, demonising migrants and refugees, just as they have the poor and disabled.

Something wonderful has happened though. People are rebelling and are reaching out to other human beings. Throughout Scotland and the rest of the UK, local support groups are being set up, collecting all kinds of essential supplies from baby slings to canned food.

Students at Stirling are a collection point, and one of our own comrades Maria Feenie is one of the organisers in her local community—she plans to go to the refugee camps in Calais to offer the practical help people may need.

This spirit of reaching out beyond all boundaries is part of what the indyref was all about. We want independence for Scotland as a right of self-determination but we will always have an international perspective, and desire connection with others across the world.

Jim Sillars mentioned that instead of nuclear weapons, Scotland should have mercy ships to offer support to where it is needed. This grassroots movement is part of this.

Former SSP MSP Rosie Kane, who has tirelessly campaigned for refugees for many years, has emphasised the need for there to be support for those moving to Scotland. Offering a room is just the beginning—those coming to Scotland will require support from services to make Scotland their home.

Many of us reading this article are the ancestors of economic migrants, many from Ireland, and we know the struggles our families experienced and still experience today.

We know though that Scotland will be a richer place for the new people who choose to make this their home. One of the reasons for this is that, as a nation, we have become more politically aware. Sit in any public place and you will hear people speak about TTIP, benefit reform, trade union laws.

We were encouraged to envision the referendum debate as a conversation and many of us grew in confidence and learned our opinions are valued.

Unfortunately, this newly politicised public are feared by the Westminster government, and the Scottish Government has done little to engage us once again.

Where are the debates about the kind of Scotland we want outside parliament? We are awake now, and want our voices to be heard. Our refusal to accept the Tory government’s narrative about “economic migrants” are a testament to this.

I hope this is only the beginning, and the start of the fightback against the demonisation of the poor, and the fightback against the trade union laws and benefit cuts which will have so much impact on our lives.

The action by so many people in our communities demonstrates that the grassroots movement is already here, and we won’t be told what to believe.

The shift began in Scotland with the Yes campaign, where we found our voices. We are a galvanised society, hungry for change. The feelings of many have been made public in our reaching out to those fleeing oppression, remembering we are all humans.

This is the legacy of the Yes campaign; still alive and flourishing a year after what was meant to be a defeat but the reality is—we won. We all won. I have faith in the future, and faith in Scotland to do the right thing always. Let’s support those who strive for this.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: