Will you stand?

When I took to the stage at Glasgow Green after the magnificent All Under One Banner march from Kelvingrove Park on Saturday, I spoke without notes. The following is partly a transcript of my address based on Martin Hannan’s report in The National, and partly the speech I would like to have made. Little of it is based on personal recollection, as I confess to having been quite overcome by the immensity of the occasion.

auob_stageI have supported independence all my life. I joined the SNP as soon as I was eligible. That was in 1962, when I was aged 12. A lot has happened in the fifty odd years between then and now.

I remember Winnie Ewing’s stunning Hamilton by-election victory in 1967.

I well recall the hard graft of the two UK general elections of 1974 – both winter campaigns.

I remember the British Labour betrayal of Scotland in 1979 and the ugliness of the Thatcher years which ensued.

But we got past all that. We got over it. We survived it. And here we are, 50-odd years on, in May 2018.

May is a significant month. It was on 12 May 1999 that the Scottish Parliament was reconvened by Winnie Ewing – three decades after her historic victory.

At last, Scotland had a real Parliament again!

On 3 May 2007 there was an election which shocked the British parties and broke their stranglehold on Holyrood. On 11 May, SNP administration was sworn in and Alex Salmond became First Minister.

Somewhat inconveniently for my rhetoric, it was 3 September 2007 before we were finally rid of the derisory ‘Scottish Executive’.

At last, Scotland had a real Government again!

In the years since then, Scotland has developed an increasing distinctive political culture. As far as the limits of devolution allow, Scotland has been doing things its own way.

At last, Scotland was acting like a real nation again!

And the British political elite doesn’t like it!

Friends! Over the years of campaigning to restore Scotland’s rightful constitutional status there were times when I felt great elation. There were times when I felt bitter disappointment. But always I felt quietly confident that our cause would prevail.

Lately, however, I have felt something else. I have felt anger. And I have felt fear.

I have felt anger at the British state and its utter contempt for our Parliament and its disrespect for our Government and its disdain for our people.

I have felt fear for what British Nationalists will do if we fail to stop them. They will emasculate our parliament. They will dismantle our democratic institutions. They will eradicate our distinctive political culture. They will sacrifice our public services on the altar of private profit.

Friends! I will not let my anger turn to impotent rage or misdirected hate. I will not let my fear turn to tremulous hesitancy or paralysed inaction.

I will hold fast to my fear. I will be motivated by it. I will raise aloft my anger. I will be energised by it. And I will make a stand against the rolling juggernaut of anti-democratic ‘One Nation’ British Nationalism which is threatening this country.

Will you stand with me?

Will you stand in defence of Scotland’s Parliament?

Will you stand in defence of Scotland’s Government?

Will you stand in defence of Scotland’s public services?

Will you stand in defence of Scotland?


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9 thoughts on “Will you stand?

  1. Thanks for that, Peter! Moving, inspiring, and good for the morale.

    It seems we are the same age and remember the same things, though joining the SNP at age 12 would have got me into a whole lot of trouble at home, so that came later with me.

    I’m not well enough to go on marches, but I do hope to live long enough to see our Scotland become a normal country again.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. You made a great speech Peter! What I don’t understand is the attitude of a majority of SNP politicians to an early referendum. It has to be before March next year. Who can campaign in the winter?
    I too have been SNP from being able to use my first vote. That is 55 years ago. No other party will get Independence for Scotland, but I wish some of them would say nothing rather than give folk like Haggerty the chance to say 2022! It’s not on!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I very much suspect that the SNP leadership, and Nicola Sturgeon in particular, have a very much greater sense of the urgency of our situation than the “majority of SNP politicians”. Of course, cards are being played close to chests, as you’d expect. But never doubt that Nicola has a plan.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I will stand with you. You cannot understand just how much getting away from Wesminster means to me. I am shamed & disgusted by it’s treatment of people unable to fight back. I’m English & moved to Scotland 2 years ago & it’s the best decision I ever made. Nothing would make me go back.

    Scotland is very different-it is kind, thoughtful & values difference- how can anyone not stand up for those values.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. Watched your speech on Saturday through the IndyLive feed (my wonky knee said “Not on your LIFE!” when I thought ‘Indy March’!) – you were very inspiring! Great speech, sir! Thank you for that!! And I totally agree with your comments re Nicola Sturgeon having a plan. She and Michael Russell are a formidable team and I don’t believe either of them would let the opportunity go past to save Scotland from a unionist take-over. I too suspect they have a cunning plan… And I’m willing to wait to see what that plan is. I doubt we’ll have to wait too long now. They know time is running out…

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I stand with you 100%, Peter.Enjoyed our recent, brief chat outside Holyrood Didn’t realize we were the same age and that our early political history was so similar. I started supporting Billy Wolfe at age 12. He was my hero. Keep doing what you do so well,my friend.

    Like

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