I often get asked, why the ISP? It’s a good question and I could shout out the “SNP left me” which is true but doesn’t help anyone. The runup to the 2019 general Election was when I started to become disillusioned with the direction of the SNP.
During the election build up as I was home on leave, I had plenty of time to assist with leaflets and such and so it was a euphoric victory for me personally and of course for the SNP and the Indy movement.
The following Saturday I was in my local YES House; everyone was in good spirits and the mood was infectious. Standing with my hand in bandages I was recanting tales of being bitten by a dog whist delivering leaflets – the story becoming more elaborate with each telling and somewhat along the lines of, “ I bled wi’ Wallace!”. During this I commented to one of the SNP Branch officials that I would be good as new for the referendum campaign.
Only to be told that realistically there would be no referendum in 2020.
To say I was incandescent is an understatement. I cannot even recall the reasons given at the time, but safe to say I didn’t stay for the celebrations of getting some MPs five more years of a good salary. Then on the 31 January I listened to Nicola Sturgeon’s speech as we were dragged out of Europe and realistically nothing was going to happen, despite Ian Blackford “not allowing it”. Words like “betrayal” started to come into my head.
But slowly we come to think of things in different terms. I had told people on doorsteps that a vote for the SNP was a vote for independence and to stay in Europe. I felt that I was tricked but the reality was I allowed myself to be tricked. I had noticed things were not right but I had turned a blind eye. Once you see things you cannot unsee them. And when you don’t trust someone, you start to check everything they say.
During the early wars between England and Scotland simple men of the people prepared to stand up for their country would be raised into armies prepared to lay down their lives. Often at these happenings the Lords of both sides would make a deal involving land, titles and money and the men were told to go home, probably having lost some comrades along the way. History has a habit of repeating itself, I wonder how they felt by their betrayal?
At this stage I started to think why did it have to be the SNP? I had been to several All Under One Banner marches, I was a member of three YES groups, maybe this could be a grassroots uprising.
At around this time I actually learned about how the list voting system worked. To learn that we didn’t have to have London registered parties in Holyrood was unbelievable and easily achievable! But why wasn’t the SNP shouting this from the rafters?
And then I found the ISP, a party of grassroots Yessers and Ex-SNP members. Wow. The potential. They were organised and efficient, which I like, and more importantly were designed to remove the Westminster parties from Holyrood to allow the Scots to debate their future there. It would also send a warning shot over the other Indy parties’ bows to get on with what should be their day job but had now become a hobby; independence.
If Scotland gained independence, then the SNP would be the main party in negotiations. This would involve oil rights, Trident, the national debt, the Border and a thousand other issues; in short, the most important negotiation in Scotland’s history.
What I also felt was required were people with a critical eye to question the negotiations with Westminster for the benefit of the Scots and it would have to be someone who was not one of the established parties, but an honest broker.
It now became clear to me that the ISP was needed not only to help gain independence but to fulfil this role of supervising the negotiations. To do this effectively we needed MSP’s from all walks of life, not just people with a degree in politics. Then came that feeling, the realisation that I fit that role. It was now my turn to pick up my metaphorical Lochaber Axe and make the march south. However this time there will be no letting the “Lords” make deals out of earshot.
There will be no signing of Acts of Union in basements. No excuses that they could only get us further devolution. The ISP need to be there to ensure the voice of the grassroots is heard and heard loudly. It’s time we, the Sovereign Scots, tell Westminster we will not allow them to squander our future in a back room deal!