“I said, that we are important people. Right up until the 18th, us of the working class, from the 19th on we’re even more important. We have to take power for ourselves. On the 18th between 7AM and 10PM, 15 hours, a wonderful thing happens to us. When we pick up that wee bit of paper, we are sovereign, for the first time in the Scottish nations’ history, with all the power required over our country, our ancestors didnae have the vote 300 odd years ago. We have it now. And that vote is powerful. If at 1 minute past 10, we voted no, we give it away, and virtually become a region of England. But if at 1 minute past 10, we have voted yes, all those powers we had in 15 hours, remain in Scotland forever.”
Jim Sillars’ final public meeting 15/09/2014
Just take a minute to reflect on those words. Scots can become independent and chart their own destiny literally with the stroke of a pen. Countless other countries have only achieved their independence through war and slaughter.
Because you will be choosing independence with virtually 100% of the voting population, you can be assured that the result will have irreproachable democratic legitimacy.
What happens in the next 18 months after a yes vote and before independence has been little discussed, but is of primary importance. Scots must create the most democratic state on earth.
There is the potential for Scotland to unleash a true political enlightenment, showing the world how a state can organize itself to properly take care of its people. After all, isn’t that what governments are for?
The possibility exists for Scotland to learn from all existing constitutional models, then construct a political system that is the most democratic, honest, and forward-thinking in the world.
The key word is ‘can’. Never again let the mainstream press and the Westminster establishment tell you what you can’t do; that is over on September 18th. Scotland will be the 14th richest country in the world upon independence, with full control over its resources and public policy. Scots are among the most ingenious people in the world, with the list of contributions to humanity too long to enumerate. It’s time to apply your ingenuity to building your own state and a more caring, prosperous society.
Everything that Scots have within their grasp is a pipe dream for billions throughout the world: true democracy, freedom from corporate domination, proper environmental regulation, workers’ rights, and other policies that actually help people, as opposed to serving the interests of the corporate elite.
With modern technology, the world will see what Scots are doing. The mainstream media will have so discredited themselves after a blowout yes vote, that new citizen-based media will grow in scope and credibility.
When I began writing columns 2 years ago, I wouldn’t have said that. I too had ‘the cringe’ about Scotland. I had this idea that Scotland was a lovely place with lovely people, but that the lack of prosperity and opportunity showed that Scots really weren’t up to the task of running their own country.
Critically, the attitudes of the Scots I know when I have spent time there have rapidly evolved. Some 20 years ago when I visited relatives in Govan, there was a pall over their outlook on life. It was as if they weren’t allowed to dream of a better future; things just were the way they were. They were utterly disillusioned with politics and the state of Scottish society, but they were helpless to do anything about it.
I have seen these attitudes rapidly melt away. The last 2 years of debate have educated the Scottish people about why things are the way they are. Online media has refuted the lies that Scots have been told for decades, even centuries. ‘The cringe’ is melting away and Scots are realising the potential to reshape their destiny.
If Scots say ‘no’, it will be justly viewed as the stupidest vote in history, and Scots will be rightly seen as ‘too wee, too poor, and too stupid’ to govern themselves’. I know you won’t. A global political enlightenment will begin in Scotland.
Go for it, Scotland. Show the world how true democracy is done.
First published on Newsnet.scot on 16 September 2014 as part of a series of articles on constitutional issues published between July 2012 and Sept 2014.