Yessers, we should be proud of our efforts. What Next?
Well done to everyone who was involved in the Yes Campaign. The goodwill, hope and determination displayed by you all was awe inspiring. Autonomyscotland was formed on a whim one Saturday morning by a couple of friends who had, until that point, little interest in politics. We were disgusted by how the positive case for self determination was being misrepresented. We, like most of the Yes campaign, are complete amateurs. Despite the way we were sometimes portrayed, we can be proud that we were all part of such a diverse, harmonious, energetic and focused movement. Ultimately, we lost to the cold calculated power of the state and the mainstream media.
Whether we like it or not we will be remaining part of the UK for the foreseeable future and it would be a shame to let all of our collective enthusiasm drain away. We need to take the positive messages of the Yes campaign and apply them to our current situation. We were always interested in Independence as we understood that if we moved the power closer to the people in a representative parliament we would start to see policy being drafted that was for the benefit our country. We knew Independence would have brought about a more prosperous, fairer and more equal society. For most of the Yes movement Independence was a means to an end as we were not all fundamentally nationalists. It is getting the type of society that we want that should be our ultimate goal and we should all get behind a strategy to achieve this.
Grow the 45
A lot of people voted Yes given the power and negativity that went into persuading people not to. Even without doing anything the movement will grow as austerity hits and interest rates go up. The young voted Yes so we have demographics on our side. We need to keep talking to the No’s in our life to persuade them how Scotland desperately needs and would benefit from more power.
If the hastily promised new powers are to materialise we think that they will be insignificant compared to full Independence. There is not enough political pressure on UK politicians to grant us anything meaningful and the powers will be divisive in the rest of the UK.
We believe that as the move toward Independence has stalled we need to focus on a new constitutional settlement for the UK.
The centralised nature of decision making within the UK is outdated. Each area has different advantages to be capitalised on and specific needs to be addressed. It would benefit most citizens if the UK had a written Federal constitution, divided into states each with a constitution of its own, with each state responsible for most of its own tax and the policies it spends those taxes on. Certain issues including foreign policy and defence would remain the responsibility of the Federal Government.
The exact nature of how this should work should be open to inclusive debate. I hope that enough people in other parts of the UK want the same type of society that we have been fighting for and would be motivated to organise themselves in the same way that we did. New groups lobbying for change could spring up everywhere. The old parties are dying and they will need to evolve to survive.
Having a Federal Scottish State would help us achieve many of the Yes movement’s goals regarding equality, prosperity, social democracy and culture. However, a Federal UK would also be a step in the right direction for nationalists who see the long term goal as Independence.
We were planning to start a petition to the House of Commons but were happy to discover someone had beaten us to it. We would urge anyone who is interested in putting pressure on government to create change to sign here.
We also created a subreddit to discuss the logistics of the creation of a Federal UK. There is nothing on there as yet but it would be great if people contributed.
We should think about how we vote in the upcoming Scottish and Westminster elections. We should punish the Unionist parties for the way in which they have forgotten their core values and are now, barring a few minor details, indistinguishable from each other.
In the Scottish election the 45 should back the Greens, SNP, Socialists and any new political party that may emerge from some of the grassroots movements. This will give us a lot of power to change things at the local level and protect us from the worst of the cuts.
Also, at the General Election we should probably all think about voting SNP in the hope that they become a party at Westminster that holds the balance of power and is able to form a coalition with the party most willing to offer the best deal for Scotland.
Choose Where You Spend Your Money
If you were let down by the way some companies acted in the referendum then vote with your wallet. There is nothing to stop you from withdrawing funding from the BBC, the mainstream media, RBS, Lloyds, Clydesdale Bank, Standard Life, Sainsburys, Asda, Tesco, John Lewis, Barrhead Travel and B&Q. Or any other company whose intervention sticks in your mind.
It would also be worth telling them why you will no longer be using their services. This website gives the direct email addresses of most of the CEOs in major companies in the UK.
Work At The Local Level
Finally, there is a lot that can be done at the grassroots level. Not just to further the delivery of autonomy for Scotland but also to increase the power and social mobility of citizens. At the moment power in Scotland is very centralised. This referendum has shown that people can organise at the local level behind a common goal.
We should look to put pressure on the Scottish Government to devolve more power to the regions. There is a lot that the organisations we have formed could do to improve life at this level. There are so many skills in the movement.
Even though we lost the referendum, a lot of the ideas we had could still come to fruition now. We could start crowd funding for start ups for instance, drop in centres for people to meet and learn skills, places for kids to congregate off the streets. We should look at every idea we had in the Common Weal and see how many of them we can put into action now? With modern technology we can certainly create a new media locally for those of us let down by the BBC.
We tried to achieve our goals in one vote from the top down, now we need to win it from the bottom up. Building up our communities would also mean that the next time we are asked to vote on self determination, then maybe more people will feel empowered to take matters into their own hands.
Once again, let us say that we have been proud to be part of this movement and we look forward to seeing how we evolve and move forward in the future.
Please comment below and enter an email address to receive notifications of new articles. Also, if you enjoy our content you can find out how you can help support the site by clicking here.