It will happen one day, thanks to you…
It might seem to you that 1997 was a long time ago. For many in Generation Yes it was around the time you born. That was when we had the 11/9 referendum, the ‘Yes/Yes’ vote, that saw the establishment of the Scottish Parliament. Until it happened, few people had dared hoped to see the day.
We remember the despair of the years before, particularly on 10 April 1992, when not a single Conservative MP was elected in Scotland, but we still had the prospect of another five years of Tory power in Westminster. Any form of ‘home rule’ in Scotland at that time seemed like an impossible dream.
But on 11 September 1997, just five years later, we had the chance to make that change. We were able to deliver our votes to create our parliament.
The Scottish Parliament that we now take for granted. The Parliament that many were sceptical about, that Billy Connolly worried would turn out as a ‘wee prentendy parliament’.
This Parliament is not everything that it could and should be. But it has given us the chance to make laws for ourselves, preserve the NHS, keep free university tuition fees, protect our vulnerable, and pursue a society based on social justice.
This is the Parliament that enabled us to have the 2014 Referendum on independence. And it has changed the voting age for the referendum (and hopefully will do so for all elections) to 16, so you could have your say.
The Parliament is still young, it has much work to do. And hopefully it will become more powerful now.
Scottish independence used to be the dream of the few, of a minority of a minority. It was seen as the pursuit of the idealists and the fringes. Even when the Scottish Nationalist Party first formed a government in 2007, they were seen as winning despite their agenda for independence, not because of it.
You were given a vote this time and you used it wisely and responsibly. Those of us in the older generations gave great thought to you, as you will one day inherit the leadership of this country. We want it to be a country you are proud of and that gives you every opportunity to prosper and succeed.
What is it about the union that they wish to keep, and what is it about independence that gave them caution? If we can understand those things, then the task of convincing the majority that independence is the best future for Scotland becomes so much easier.
Just as in 1997 the idea of a Parliament was unstoppable and uncontroversial, we can similarly work together to make the idea of independence the most secure and viable option for our future – without the room for doubt and fear.
To do this we can and should work together. As Salmond has said, this is about far more than a single person, or a single party. The SNP have been the catalyst, but the Yes Campaign mobilised people and ideas from across the country.
The cause of independence needs a rainbow alliance that continues onwards and upwards from the 45% on 18 September 2014. People of all parties should be part of this, as well as those who have don’t want to give allegiance to any.