TUESDAY’S National resonated with me since it seemed to show where we’re at as a nation – waiting to break free and regain our independence. Many of us champing at the bit, ready to go, many distraught at the infighting and the obvious failings of Westminster whether in relation to rUK internal politics, or policies relating to immigration.

In his article, “This is answer we need for fairer indy Scotland”, Gerry Hassan identifies two main themes that require both “airing and challenging”. Firstly, the hiatus caused by the entrenchment of politics, now primarily the province of the SNP and old Labour, followed by how we move beyond the status quo of tribalism, our existence within a fixed perimeter we are not equipped to leave, and the blame culture we each heap on our chosen “opposing” parties.

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And here we stay, stuck in the current political stalemate, held in place by Westminster and the Tories. What an irony that the Tory party is never the frontrunner in propping up the dying Union in Scotland. That is left to the outflanked Labour Party and the ghosts of days past, the likes of Gordon Brown. Brown is proffered up as the guru-like spokesperson for a nostalgic past, the historic establishment that is now disestablished.

If the dysfunctional Tory continues to be unattractive and unelectable, why does Labour think we’ll happily rewind the clock back? Not when the last 20 years of devolution have underscored our different and continuing evolving approach to social justice, both in our day-to-day living and evidenced in our voting patterns that brought about the very demise of Labour and rise of the SNP.

It would seem that both Labour and the Tories are content riding the coat tails of their party HQs providing them with a passing resemblance of political aptitude. Those HQs are firmly established in London and regard us as nothing more than voting fodder whom they believe they can retain via the fear of change and a lack of self-confidence reinforced through slogans, soundbites, and reworked tropes.

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I don’t think the challenge lies with them, their office staff here and their HQs there. The challenge lies with us. They will never condescend to share everyday platforms, church halls, community centres, the very life blood that flowed through the Yes movement in 2014. They will favour controlled TV, radio, political podcasts with vetted audiences, resulting in continued tribal confrontation with little scope to entertain new perspectives.

We need the public debates and discussions with politicians, think tanks, the public, so that any voter – irrespective of party, any ideology, any voting preference – can attend, listen and challenge. Events and happenings where we can become familiar with the the very platforms on which we build post-independence: tax, revenue, economics, currency; state, central, savings banks; business structures, the constitution. That way the understanding is created and shared, the language becomes well known, everyday, not the utterings of so-called experts and politicians.

2014 wasn’t a fussy, formal teaching campaign. It was politics becoming personal. That’s still the challenge. And we know who won’t be there, defending their record, pleading either for more of the same in Scotland as we become a Tory hinterland, or attempting to lure us back to old Labour. That’s the immediate challenge: how we prepare to be public again in 2022, Covid-compliant, indy-ready, confronting the status quo, bringing hope of change, not fear of the unknown. Can we do that, I wonder, or will we continue to score own goals with internal discord, in-fighting and posturing?

Selma Rahman