The 2014 independence referendum had a clear timescale. It gave time to prepare, to build and to create. The next referendum could be as little as 10 months away according to some sources. It could be much longer. Commentators such as Paul Kavanagh (Wee Ginger Dug) have repeatedly been warning that we need the groundwork in place before any referendum as we don’t know when it will be or how long we will have to campaign. If the British Government felt it was in their interests to call a referendum when they think the Scottish Government is weak or on the back foot, they may do so. The idea that this is a decision for Nicola Sturgeon alone is misguided.
Let’s be brutally honest. We cannot wait on the SNP blowing the whistle to start another Indyref campaign. The SNP have fought two elections in two years and their eyes are firmly set on the 2017 council elections. If anyone can tell us when the SNP have been on the streets campaigning for the broader issue of independence (rather than straight election campaigning) since 2014 we’d love to hear it.
In early 2017 the Yes campaign is looking to reboot itself. It’s time for dormant networks to awake and once again create the cross-party efforts we saw two years ago which took us so close to winning our independence.
We came close, but not close enough, and we need more support than last time. While the leader of the Labour Party in Scotland remains loyal to the UK, that can’t be said for others. The Tory “resurgence” in Scotland is more to do with hard-core British nationalists jumping ship than anything else. Many of those in the Labour Party in Scotland will be willing to put Labour values first and some of them must surely be questioning if those values would be more effectively delivered in an independent Scotland. Margaret Curran was once asked in an interview with Brian Taylor if she would prefer a Labour run independent Scotland to a Tory run Britain. She squirmed and failed to answer. In a right wing Britain, Labour look increasingly unlikely to be elected to government for some time, even with a leader as popular as Jeremy Corbyn. Now is the time for people within Labour in Scotland to again consider that question, and ask if they could bring about Labour policies through independence.