The Scottish Independence Convention (SIC) is re-launching today with a new website and programme to contribute to the referendum debate.
According to the media release: “The independence movement is broader and deeper than one party and includes the great sweep of people who want to transform Scotland not just tinker with its governance. The SIC is the place for those who back independence but aren’t a member of any party, or who support any of the pro-independence parties to collaborate, or the thousands of people who want to work for a YES in 2014.”
The role of the Convention is potentially vital – independence will be won for Scotland only if everyone works together and reaches out to people all over Scotland. The leadership of the SNP with its superlative campaigning skills and resources (not just financial ones) is essential, but the other parties which support independence – the Scottish Greens being the main ones, but also the Scottish Socialists – need to be involved and motivated to campaign for a YES.
Not everyone currently supports the case for independence. There’s a lot of persuading to be done in the next two years, and that’s where movements like the SIC come into their own. Pluralistic and diverse, the SIC and its membership can help make the case.
As Elaine C Smith, chair of the SIC, puts it: “The role of the Scottish Independence Convention has changed. We were founded to deliver a referendum. That battle’s now been won. Our role now is to be creative and engage as wide an audience as possible in the discussion about the future of our country and what we mean by sovereignty.”
Kevin Williamson, deputy chair adds: “Independence isn’t an end in itself – it’s an opportunity for a fundamental reappraisal of who we are and what values we hold.”
While the tactics for a yes vote require convincing enough people not to be scared of independence, the strategy must involve the reappraisal that Kevin Williamson talks about. Independence is not an end, but a means to an end. Mike Small, secretary of the SIC, suggests what this might mean: “Voting YES for independence gives us the chance to never have Tory rule again in Scotland. It gives us the chance to rid our land of Weapons of Mass Destruction. It gives us the chance to decide what our foreign policy priorities are and not be dragged into illegal wars. No other constitutional settlement offers these opportunities. This is a historic chance to gain control of decision-making.”
The Scottish Independence Convention website has had an overhaul and is now much more user-friendly and informative.
There’s also a Facebook page. And a twitter account to follow – @ScotIndConv
It all marks a first big step on the road to a yes vote, and there will be more such milestones in the next few months. These are indeed exciting times to be living in Scotland.