WE’VE kept the flame of hope alive – feel its warmth, hold on to it. We will heal, and we’ll be stronger for it. The pain we feel is the birth pain of a better Scotland. Bruised, but unbowed, bloodied, but unbeaten, we’re still standing. All movements have reversals. All campaigns for a better world have their setbacks.

We’ve stumbled but we haven’t fallen. We’re still standing, and we’re still clutching a mandate for another independence referendum in our hands.

It’s healthy to weep for those we’ve lost. It’s necessary to grieve for the good people who lost seats, but life goes on and so will the independence movement. We’ve been wounded but they’re wounds which can be licked. We’ve been slapped but not subjugated.

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Hold on to the dream of an independent Scotland where we treasure social justice and value equality. Hold on to the dream of a land where opportunity is available to all, where your chances in life don’t depend on who your parents are, but on your own talents and skills and abilities.

Hold on to the dream of a Scotland that belongs to all of us, and not to the lucky few. Dreams are the salve that soothe the hurt. The candle sputters but the dream burns bright; the dream burns pure. It’s the light in the darkness during a bleak depressing night. It’s the warmth in the cold gale of a howling British establishment. Focus on it, and you will heal.

There are lessons to learn and work to do. We will still win our better Scotland, but we won’t win it just by blaming the Unionist parties for being venal and for dissembling and lying. You don’t defeat a crocodile by blaming it for being a crocodile. We need to look at ourselves and what we can do better, what we can do differently.

And it needs to be said that for two elections in a row the SNP leadership have fought a poor campaign. It was entirely predictable that the Unionist parties would try to make the campaign all about independence, and the SNP’s Stronger for Scotland message was weak and unpersuasive.

An independence party can’t hide from independence. We need to own it, be proud of it, shout it out.

And we need to shout the reasons for it. We need to tell a story of a better Scotland, and how only independence can achieve it.

We need to make the dream come alive and dance.

It’s not coincidental that Labour’s vote went up and they won seats in some of Scotland’s most strongly pro-Yes areas. Places such as Glasgow North East and Coatbridge voted in favour of independence in 2014 because they rightly saw it as the opportunity to bring about a fairer Scotland. Many working-class Yes voters voted Labour on Thursday because they were attracted by the promises of Jeremy Corbyn. Their support for independence isn’t unconditional, it’s support for an independence that delivers social justice, that tackles inequality, that offers relief from the grinding despair of a system that doesn’t care.

Despite the claims of Kezia Dugdale, their Labour votes are not votes against independence. People in Scotland’s poorest communities still want the same as they wanted before, and we can’t blame them for taking each and every opportunity on offer to get it.

We need to ensure that the independence movement offers it too, is seen to offer it, and offers a convincing story of how to get it. We need to embrace the radical instincts that motivated the campaign in 2014. We won’t win independence by pretending that nothing much will change. Independence is a radical and transformative act, or it is nothing.

It’s now time for the Scottish Independence Convention and other non-party organisations to step up and take a leading role in the movement, to define it and guide it. We need party politics to get a referendum, but we won’t win that referendum with party politics. We need a vital, active, energetic, and noisy non-party independence movement.

The SNP are the main political voice of that movement – the movement is not the voice of the SNP. We must not repeat the mistakes of the Labour movement where the Parliamentary Labour Party controlled and defined the movement. The party is the servant of the movement – the movement isn’t the servant of the party. A mass grassroots movement is immune to the ebb and flow of party politics. It is the tide. It’s not all bad news.

It’s not all self-reflection. Despite the crowing and triumphalism of Ruth Davidson, there was only one party that lost their majority on Thursday, and it was hers.

Theresa May asked for a mandate to deliver those secretive plans for Brexit that she won’t share with the country, and she was rejected. Despite her speech yesterday – which sounded exactly like the speech she’d have given if she’d won her majority, everything has changed for Theresa May, and changed for the worse. Now she can only govern in a coalition of chaos with sectarian bigots, evolution deniers, and homophobes.

It’s time for the Unionists to put their money where their mouths are, to step up and deliver the better Britain they claim Brexit will bring. When they fail, as they most assuredly will, Scotland knows the path that it can take. The flame of hope still burns on the hill, the beacon is still there to guide us. The party have lost seats but the movement hasn’t lost heart. We’re still standing, and we’re not standing still.