They say that the darkest part of the night comes just before the dawn. Politically, in the UK and the USA we seem to be at that stage. In the UK we’ve got an out of control unrestrained right wing faction of the Conservative Party who seem to be making the rules and behavioural norms up as they go along. And in the USA today they’re about to anoint the most unlikely President ever, who gives every indication of being just as out of control and of making up the norms of behaviour as he goes along as the right wing in the UK is doing. Only the very fortunate and very few on this planet can see either of these “leaders” as portents of the breaking dawn. To the remaining 99% of us it’s dark, and getting darker.
How long this night will last we don’t know. For the UK it could be a very long time. The USA will have an election in another 4 years in which they can undo the mistakes they’ve made (assuming that President Trump remains in office for a full term). But for the poor UK the calamity of Brexit will still be in full flow at the time of the next election. There’s also every sign that the Conservatives will be returned to power in that 2020 election, although I’d bet on a far lower turnout than at any election. So the night in the UK could be another decade long. A darkness in which it is forgotten that we are all humans, that we all need shelter, warmth, food, health and society. I can’t help but feel the leaders we have currently got seem to have lost sight of this, as they luxuriate in the rarified atmosphere of their riches.
And yet, there’s a spark of light in Scotland. The Scottish National Party has it’s core the belief that Scotland can be a successful independent nation state once again. The SNP is fortunate to have the most capable leader and gifted politician in Nicola Sturgeon leading them at this time. The SNP is a broad church with over 120,000 members. As a share of the population, this is truly remarkable, I doubt if many other political parties anywhere in the world can match that. Certainly, none in the UK can. The problem the Unionists have with the SNP is that it is that at the moment the SNP is the party of hope. While it’s easy to snipe and argue that hope doesn’t pay the bills, it’s not something that can ever be taken away from people. You can’t kill an idea. As the UK is accelerating towards societal upheaval and the economic calamity of Brexit, taking back control of our own destiny looks ever more attractive. (irony alert – yes I know….. I’m using the slogans of the Brexiteers. Double irony is that they used those words and didn’t see that they could just as easily be applied to another situation within the UK)
One by one, the ‘promises’ and ‘vows’ made in 2014 by the Unionists in the “Better Together” campaign have been dropped, forgotten or just ignored. The men who made those promises are now, a mere two and a bit years on, either sidelined by their parties or have left the field of politics. Yet, the new leaders of the parties continue to make more ‘promises’ and ‘vows’ to Scotland. Ask yourself – what credibility do those leading the UK parties have? When will they be gone and will their repacement(s) set any store by what was ‘promised’?
So, Scottish friends, what can you do to help keep the light burning in the darkness? For sure, regaining independence for the people of this wonderful country will not be easy. It will not be an immediate land of milk-and-honey. There will be economic problems to overcome. What currency? What tax? How will we be organised? But these are short term problems and are being worked on and tought through. The light in the darkness is to build an undeniably fairer and more equitable country. That desire runs through the SNP like the lettering in a stick of seaside rock. That’s what the 120,000 members signed up to. One of the USA’s most charismatic President’s asked at his inauguration : “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country”
Scotland can show the way. The Scottish Enlightenment did exactly that back in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. So what are you going to do to keep a light shining in the darkness?