Scotland narrowly voted to remain in the United Kingdom last Thursday.
The young, the poor, the idealistic voted for YES, but the older generation, those frightened by the BBC and Big Business, and British cultural nationalists voted for NO.
Alistair Darling, speaking on Friday morning, proudly proclaimed that Scotland was now secure within the United Kingdom and that the Union would never be torn asunder.
How wrong he was….
Yes activists have decided not to be silenced, or to merely fade away into the night. Gordon Brown has told the Yes supporters to put away their signs, their badges, (and their aspirations) and to consign themselves to the history books.
What has happened instead is that the Greens, the socialists, the SNP and the pacifist core support of YES are dusting themselves off, and preparing for the next stage of the journey to an Independent Scotland. Outraged by the bullying conduct of the UK institutions, as well as neo-Nazi celebrations of the NO vote in Glasgow’s George Square, the YES movement has reinvented itself on social media fora. Adopting the taglines #the45plus and #YesAlliance the activists are preparing to deal the Westminster parties a bloody nose in the forthcoming 2015 election.
This is significant given Alex Salmond’s accurate statement that the YES movement does not necessarily require a referendum victory to obtain full sovereignty for the Scottish people. Indeed, there is a gradualist route which Salmond outlined – which involves the Scottish Parliament slowly but surely accumulating all the powers of full statehood by piecemeal devolution. Scottish MSPs, once the country is independent in all but name, would then eventually take the step of declaring formal independence from the British state.
Another option – advocated by others in the Yes Movement – is to use the Westminster and Holyrood elections as (continual) plebiscites on the Independence Question. The SNP Manifesto in 2015 could pledge to declare independence if it won a simple majority of votes. The electorate would then know that a vote for the SNP would mean a vote for independence. Any Indy declaration in the event of a SNP victory would then be legitimate in the sense of having the conscious backing of the Scottish people. This strategy will likely become necessary since the Westminster parties have broken their solemn Vow to deliver Devomax. The 25% of NO voters who claim that they did so in wake of the DevoMax pledge, will be angry at being lied to, and will wish a chance to endorse Independence in the 2015 election. If the SNP and other progressive parties come together to form an electoral #YesAlliance for Westminster 2015 then this would make the chances of a Yes victory all the more certain.
Alex Salmond has not often been wrong – but he was mistaken in that he called independence a ‘dream’ in his resignation speech. Independence is not a dream – it is an objective, a goal, a destination, that shall be reached much sooner than Alistair Darling and Westminster politicians realise.
The YES movement will not silently fade into the night and let the politics of the purse, militarism and fear prevail.
And democracy demands that the 45% of YES voters have a continual chance to argue their case to those who voted NO on Thursday in the mistaken belief of being offered Devomax by the Westminster establishment.
#Yes Alliance and its supporters will go on, and an independent Scotland is not on the distant horizon, but remains within touching distance.