THERE are a thousand thoughts in my mind on the subject of SIC, Yes and the grassroots campaign, but the first and foremost is this, how do we do this together?
I still have the vivid memories of how positive the 2014 Yes campaign was and the hopes, dreams and aspirations we had. That hope was such powerful fuel for so many people – it still is – but after 18th Sept 2014 many backed away, too disappointed to continue.
On January 23, 2014 independence was just a thing on the news for me, a subject that I had given little thought. On January, 25 I was desperate to get involved in the Yes Campaign, it became, in one day, an overriding priority in my life. So what had happened?
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On the morning of January 24, 2014 I picked up for the first time baby Joel Duncan McHarg, 8lb 2½oz, born at 12.14am two weeks earlier than his mum had intended. I had left the hospital about 3am to get home for a sleep and on returning about 10am I drove through two particular places that really set the reality of the situation in Scotland starkly into contrast.
These places, as I drove through them hit me like a sledgehammer: they were run down and destitute, victims of the greed and austerity of so many Governments.
That drive and the predicament of so many others made me think sharply about two lives: my own, my background and upbringing in the east end of Glasgow, what I had seen and experienced through several failed Governments, specifically Thatcher and her viciousness: and more importantly Joel’s.
What was to come for him? I know, he was only hours old but this wee human was and is my main priority in life and so much was going on after that sledgehammer awakening in my mind on the way to hold him for the first time.
What is his future? What is the future for every child in Scotland to come?
From January 25 I sought involvement with the independence campaign and speaking since then until this present day the priority for a massive number of mothers, fathers, grannies, granddads, aunties, uncles, brothers and sisters is: “What is the future going to bring our children?”
The Yes campaign offered not just hope but a realistic way of taking control for ourselves the running of our country and its resources for the benefit of the likes of myself, you and yours.
Yes2 was started on September 19 2014, on an iPhone on social media through a flood of tears.
More importantly, with the involvement of Iain Aitken and Tony McCandless, in June of 2015 Yes2 was really set in place and we decided as a trio: “This needs to continue and build” and something really positive started to happen.
Numbers on the page following went from the low 100’s to near 54,000 now and building daily. We have grown and learned so much going from a conversation around a table at Iain’s to now, not just the three of us but a whole range of others assisting and contributing to the continuing Independence Campaign. My excitement at the prospect and possibilities the SIC can bring to our mutual campaign, its cooperation and coordination is limitless and achievable, if we can not just recapture the energy of the 2014 Yes Campaign but expand on it to include so many more people and their priorities.
This is the way we work together, through the SIC as a multi-platform inclusive organisation.
I have so much I’d like to say about the benefits of a wee table underneath a pop-up Gazebo in the high street of your local village, town or city, talking to people as they pass by.
But I’ll cover that at another time, I hope, as it really is the best way of respectful communication and sharing of knowledge I have seen so far among a multitude of Yes groups – and my admiration for these groups is huge.
Joel is three this year, and every day he boosts my determination battery, but having spoken to so many people it’s now about my family and theirs.
Our sons and daughters are not zero-hour contracts statistics.
They are not fodder for illegal wars.
They are not numbers to be selected at a whim.
They are not drones for the workforce.
They are not to be used by the rich and greedy when we have given our all for them to be free.
They are why we get up at six in the morning and go to work.
They are why we pay tax.
They are to be happy.
They are to be whatever they choose to be, They are to be protected by us, at all cost.
There is no doubt whatsoever that the forces of Unionism are preparing a project fear like we have not seen yet, making the last one look like an episode of Peppa Pig (I’ve seen them all, several times! Me and his mum have a competition to see who can count how many jobs Miss Rabbit has, mum is winning, 26 so far.) We all just need to remember this is for the benefit for almost everyone except the wealthy elite.
Speak and reason with integrity, intelligence and facts, there is little-to-no response that can support the Unionists position on retaining our subservient place within the disunited Kingdom.
Don’t get angry, get active.
John McHarg is addressing the Scottish Independence Convention conference Build: Policy – Strategy – Movement on Saturday in Glasgow.