“..the need for all the people to participate in the decision-making process, to take control of their politicians and make them dance to our tune.” A rough text of the speech given by Duncan McCabe of Radical Independence Dundee, at the city’s historic Mercat Cross, to mark the publication of the Scottish Government white paper ‘Scotlands Future’.
We are very lucky to be living in an exciting and historic time.The publication today of the Scottish Government’s White Paper on independence marks another milestone on our journey to self-determination and self-respect . The SNP government do, of course, have both a right and a responsibility to place their vision and their plans for independence before the people of Scotland and I welcome their contribution to our national conversation. I must also express my respect for the SNP activists whose dedication and hard work over the past eighty years has brought us to this point where freedom is now within our grasp.
However, it also important to recognise that the vision of Salmond, Sturgeon and Swinney is not the only vision of independence that we have before us. Last weekend over 1000 people expressed their visions, values and ideas for the sort of country in which they want to live. The Radical Independence Conference in fact could be viewed as an ‘ideas factory’ where the opinions of the ordinary people of Scotland carry as much weight as those of the politicians, and where optimism and enthusiasm for a progressive vision of a society based on values of community, co-operation and caring are to the fore.
Near this spot 220 years ago at the time of the French Revolution, the Citizens of Dundee, emboldened by ideas of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity, planted a Tree of Liberty and forced the then Provost, the infamously corrupt Alexander Riddoch, out of his bed in his nightshirt and made him dance around the tree shouting “Liberty and Equality and No Union”. I am not suggesting that today we force our current Provost to repeat this event, but it does, at least to me, symbolise the need for all the people to participate in the decision-making process, to take control of their politicians and make them dance to our tune. I hope you will take this opportunity to express your hopes and aspirations for a Free Scotland by writing them down on the tags provided and tying them to the Liberty tree we have brought here today.
This referendum, and the independent country that will arise from the Yes vote next September, is too important to be left just to the politicians. We have all a right and a responsibility to engage in the debate and get our hands dirty in the work that lies before us: the work of building a better, fairer and more equal society. A society of which we, and the generations that come after us, can be justly proud.