By James MacGregor Palmer
December 12th was the night of the proverbial final nail.
Yet again, Scotland was left to watch with dismay as the election results trickled in. Yet again, come the morning Scotland was left with a Westminster government it wanted nothing to do with. But this time something is different. This time the people of Scotland are starting to put their foot down. We’ve had enough.
The result of General Election 2019, in case you’ve been living in a cave for the last few days (and who would blame you), was a stonking Tory majority. Vast swathes of England flipped from red to blue.
Meanwhile, Scotland turned yellow.
48 of Scotland’s 59 Westminster seats, over 80%, were won by the SNP. England chose Boris Johnson, Brexit, populism and the right. Scotland chose Nicola Sturgeon, Europe, sensible governance and the left. If you wanted an indication of the irreparably broken state of the Union, then here it is.
Despite Scotland’s choice, we must now face the fact that the fight against Brexit is over. We have lost. Boris Johnson now faces no obstacles to taking the UK out of the EU in whatever manner he sees fit. Whatever approach that is, it will be without Scotland’s consent and against Scotland’s interests. Remain is dead. Now we must rally around ‘Regain’. The only path to regaining the European citizenship that will now be stripped from us against our will is independence.
But the divide that the election showed was not just over Brexit. Across Scotland, social democrats and socialists – heck, anyone who believes in a vaguely egalitarian, fairly governed, green or meritocratic future – are waking up to the fact that the future they envisage cannot be achieved within the Union. Scotland is a small nation. Within the UK, a political arrangement that fails to entrench the importance of its constituent member states, Scotland is small enough to be ignored. And so we have been, time and time again.
Labour and Liberal Democrat supporters the country over have finally had enough. Personally, several of my friends have told me that December 12th was the final straw. Committed ‘Nos’ from 2014 are becoming ‘Yesses’. We’re beginning to see this all over social media as well, as supporters of unionist parties, even those who didn’t vote for the SNP this time around (and might never do so) are expressing support for our movement. They are all so very welcome.
Of course, this is all anecdotal evidence. But I do have a hard time imagining it won’t be reflected whenever the next poll on Scottish independence is released. The stronger the support for a Scotland that takes its own decisions in its own interests, the harder it will be for Boris Johnson to ignore.
That said, he’ll try to. Of course he will, Boris Johnson views democracy as a game played by people from privileged backgrounds. Power is his plaything, why should he pay attention to a pesky inconvenience like Scotland when to do so jeopardises his legacy?
But he should keep this in mind – the longer he denies Scotland’s right to choose, the longer he treats us like our opinions don’t matter, the longer he continues to pretend everything will all sort itself out in the end, the more people will decide they’ve had enough.
Prime Minister, Scotland rejects you. It did so on its ballot papers on Thursday, and it will continue to do so for as long as you remain in office. When you decide to ‘allow’ a referendum on independence is irrelevant. Because of you, because of this election, our movement is growing.
Independence is coming.