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Gavin Greig [userpic]

March the second, in September

September 22nd, 2013 (11:21 pm)
current location: KY16 8SX

Independence March 022As advertised last weekend, yesterday I attended the second march for independence in Edinburgh. Turnout was considerably higher than last year with even a notable opponent suggesting that the lowest estimate for this year (the police estimate reported on news) was unlikely to be accurate. Most estimates put it between 20,000 and 30,000.

Year: Lowest estimate: Highest estimate:
2012 5,000 9,500
2013 8,000 30,000

Edit: Police estimate since updated to 20,000.

This time I wasn’t alone in the crowd. I met up beforehand with undecided friend myceliumme (who has already put his account online), and as we marched past the Scottish Office we were joined by another friend we weren’t expecting.

I’m proud to say that both of my friends have English backgrounds (and I hope they’ll excuse me if I oversimplify there!). It’s not something that usually exercises me, but I’ve always had a lot – at times perhaps even a majority – of English friends, and of course it matters to me that they’re OK. Being confident that Scottish nationalism is not a threat to them is important, and something I had to satisfy myself of before changing my preference from devolution to an independent Scotland.

So it matters to me too that the friends that joined me were comfortable enough to do so.

The No campaign is keen to present nationalism as intolerant in the hope it’ll put people off, ignoring the aspiration of Yes campaigners to civic nationalism. In the words of Elaine C. Smith yesterday, “We are all Scots. No matter where you started out, be it Ireland, India, Pakistan, Poland, Somalia or England, if you live and work and contribute and love this country then for me you are a Scot.” That seems to me to be a good sort of basis for inclusion. (I’m sure it’ll be possible to opt out too!)

In a week when UKIP have covered themselves in whatever the opposite is of glory again, I’m just going to embed videos of the speakers and let you make up your own mind as to whether any comparisons with Scotland Yes hold up. Starting with MCs Hardeep Singh Kohli and Elaine C. Smith:

MCs: Hardeep Singh Kohli and Elaine C. Smith
Margo McDonald: Independent MSP (formerly an SNP MSP)
Denis Canavan: Chairman of the Yes campaign (formerly a Labour MP and Independent MSP)
Blair Jenkins: Chief Executive of the Yes campaign (former Director of Broadcasting at STV, and Head of News and Current Affairs at STV and the BBC - at different times, obviously!)
Carolyn Leckie: Women For Independence
Allan Grogan: Labour For Independence
Patrick Harvie, Co-convenor of the Scottish Green Party
Colin Fox, National Co-convenor of the Scottish Socialist Party
Nicola Sturgeon: Deputy First Minister of Scotland (Scottish National Party)
Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh: Scottish Asian Women's Association, Lawyer
Alex Salmond: First Minister of Scotland (Scottish National Party)
Aamer Anwar: Lawyer

Comments

Posted by: silverwhistle (silverwhistle)
Posted at: September 23rd, 2013 11:58 am (UTC)
Smiley Rosa

It's another form of 'divide and rule'. My family and life is cross-border. You want me to draw a line through my family, and abandon a fair portion of them in NE England, including my ex-SNP member father, to dominance by London and the SE, which is the real problem afflicting the UK politically. What people should be campaigning for is equal devolution across the English regions and full-on federalism, not an "I'm all right, Jack" turning their back on those parts of England that are in the same boat politically and economically. You're saying I shouldn't care what happens to a lot of my family and friends, and I don't accept that at all. I'm defriending you on LJ, hopefully not in real life, but I really don't think you understand that you can't simply draw lines through people's lives. We should be tearing down borders, not erecting them.

Posted by: Gavin Greig (ggreig)
Posted at: September 23rd, 2013 01:41 pm (UTC)

Of course not in real life! I respect your right to disagree with me; and I respect your actual position too, although we disagree. I certainly don't want you to draw lines or not care about your family.

What I do think is that with less than 10% of the UK population, the Scottish tail can't wag the dog, and it would be wrong if it could - but that shouldn't prevent Scotland from having the sort of government it wants. Having friends and family of my own in England doesn't change that view - for me. I understand your view is different.

Sorry we can't agree on this, but look forward to seeing you next time and talking about more convivial things.

Posted by: Toby Atkin-Wright (tobyaw)
Posted at: September 23rd, 2013 01:46 pm (UTC)

But there is little support for federalism or regionalisation in England; to link Scottish independence to a non-existent English political movement would be to do Scotland a great disservice.

You should see the potential for Scottish independence as not so much turning backs on northern England, but rather showing an example of how things could be.

Posted by: Gavin Greig (ggreig)
Posted at: September 23rd, 2013 02:20 pm (UTC)

I'd like to think that could be the case; and I understand that northern authorities are already considering how to encourage cross-border business opportunities (wish I could produce a reference for that but you'll have to take it as hearsay), so there's potential for an independent Scotland to help the north of England.

But it's understandable people may feel uncomfortable about it. I certainly went through such a stage, and some people may never be happy with it.

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