There is one word that you won’t find in the independence debate and that is the word ‘freedom’. You will also not find our independence movement being described by anybody as ‘national liberation’. Such is the almost exclusively civic nature of our movement that such terms seem almost alien and as such are mentally proscribed. They’re also maybe irrelevant because we’re not being oppressed by anyone. It would be very hard to portray the current Government as some sort of bunch of bloodthirsty tyrants. Posh boy ‘Dave’ Cameron is certainly no Edward Longshanks, and if anything they’re oppressing us by their sheer reasonableness as evidenced by the Edinburgh Agreement. There’s also the No campaign and our friends in the press who just love to lampoon any patriotic case as a sort of woad-laden romantic Braveheartism with the accompanying cry of freeeedum!
In so many ways our independence movement is historically unique. It basically starts with the simple tenet that it is the people who live and work in Scotland that are best placed to decide Scotland’s future. It is a political solution we seek, the return of economic powers to our Parliament. Most of the other relationships throughout these isles would continue and even thrive. It’s all about presenting a reasonable, cerebral case, one based on looking at the reality of our situation and deciding we could do something different whilst keeping in place the things that are important to us. Such is our attention to detail that we will also decide our constitutional future on the most worked out and carefully considered prospectus ever presented to any people considering opting for self rule.
And this is the way it should be, our independence case is measured, reasonable even beautifully (and always patiently) explained. But it is more. It’s also about how we feel about our country. We want independence, and we fight for it day in and day out, because we love our country and we want it to be all it can be and better than this. We want it to be ‘freed’ from its current chronic condition.
And yes, I suppose we are seeking to secure a type of ‘freedom’ beyond the jibes and the tired definitions. We will have the ‘freedom’ to make decisions for ourselves and have a country that we as Scots will govern. We will be ‘free’ to make our own international contribution. Our nation will be ‘liberated’ from a Government we didn’t vote for imposing policies that we don’t want. ‘Liberated’ from continuing decline, nuclear weapons, austerity, illegal wars and attacks on our vulnerable.
We shouldn’t be embarrassed out of talking about what a huge proposition this is for our nation. We are doing what countless other nations and independence movements have done and secured over the centuries. We may be doing it by our own civic and entirely peaceful and democratic means but when we secure our independence we will also have achieved our ‘freedom’ and our ‘national liberation’ in our uniquely Scottish way.
This is Pete’s article for the Scots Independent.