One year ago today Scotland stood as the most democratic nation in the world. We held the sovereignty of our country in our hands against the whirlwind of the British Establishment, against state propaganda, international opinion, and the venom of the press. We were not defeated. We made the pillars of empire quake, and what is more, we still hold that sovereignty and the destiny of our Scotland in our hands. A whole year has passed and we are still Yes!
On the 19 September last year we awoke to country without a mandate to negotiate independence, but our heartbreak did not sink into depression and despondency; we lifted ourselves up, dusted ourselves down, and set out on a longer journey to our destination. Today we should take stock of that, and reassure ourselves that we are still on the same road, and we are on it together. Our first thoughts on the anniversary of the referendum should be thoughts of thanksgiving. Thank you Scotland, thank you every daughter and son of our nation – sisters and brothers all – for standing up against fear in the courage of hope against those who would keep us in chains. Even without that mandate, the referendum campaign taught many of us that we were already free.
Everyone who cast their vote this day last year did so in good faith, and with the best interests of Scotland at heart. So many did so in the hope that promises would be kept, and that the injustices suffered in Scotland would be addressed by a Britain that truly felt we were better together. In the days and months after the election we saw the pain of their realisation that they had been swindled; that their good faith and trust in togetherness had been cynically used against them, and we watched as the Establishment grinned over cigars and brandy and mocked them.
Those of us who said Aye got as little back as those of us who said No, but we expected nothing. What would you expect from an ass but a kick? Within months and on our behalf the Westminster government decided to send down fire upon the children of Syria. We told them no, but since when did Scotland’s voice matter in King Edward’s palace? Syria’s children will not soon forget what Westminster means by ‘freedom and democracy.’ Not happy with the oil it has taken from us – the oil they pretended was running out – they sent death to a nation to secure another pipeline. All in our name! More than the entire referendum campaign, it was the unravelling of the deceit that opened the eyes of the rest of Scotland, and naws became ayes to take every seat in Scotland bar three. What a year it has been.
David Cameron and Gordon Brown’s decisive victory has guaranteed for us the independence of Scotland, and today we are all one year closer to that day. In spite of vows and promises, nothing has changed. We have nuclear weapons and foodbanks still, food poverty and child poverty, austerity and a low life expectancy. Nothing has changed, but we have changed – we have at last learned that only we can change these things and we have determined to stay the course and win Scotland for ourselves and for our children, and this makes today worth celebrating.
More than all of this we have each other to celebrate. We really ought to be thankful and proud of one another. Who would have ever imagined that a thing so divisive – a difference of opinion that has brought war and violence to many other countries – could have united us quite the way it has? When we were children Scotland was a dream, together we began to live that dream and tomorrow we will wake up to a free and sovereign Scotland – no longer a dream. Today marks the anniversary of the day we lost nothing. Today is a day to remember.
The Butterfly Rebellion