Between 1791 and 1845 records of social, economic, geographical and popular matters in Scotland were created. That operation was mammoth and gave us a reliable benchmark of a people able to read, write, opine on politics, history and language. If we repeated that analysis today we would find that our country’s population is about half of  what it should and would have been – losses arise from Clearances, economic and forced migration, lowered life expectancy, premature death from illness arising from poverty, drugs and drink and reducing birth rate. Our political aspirations and revolutionary efforts are equally dimmed – for now.

It was ever in the interest of colonial governors to maintain an impression of Scotland as subservient, ignorant and savage. Had our population not been so suppressed, we might have had the courage, confidence and manpower to keep our ballot boxes stuffed, unions mobilised and fierce, educators determined and independent, care homes staffed, hospitals organised and schools manned.

For Scotland is not a country of dunces; we were educators 500 and more years ago. Our students exchanged with those in Brussels, Utrecht, Frankfurt and further afield. Erasmus wasn’t a new project but the continuation of a mediaeval cameraderie. That it is now extinct is testament to the folly of a government whose ethos pretended to be egalitarian and Scots-centric, but in fact surrendered Scottish expeditions and bravery to Westminster restraints. 

It was a rare privilege for me tonight to listen to Patrick Rolink speak of poverty, materially and spiritually, of want, hunger and fear. He and I know for sure that Scottish Independence will rejig our country’s expenditure and obligations, its priorities and hopes. But time is not on the side of our people who are hungry, cold or afraid.

Last year we were promised an Independence Referendum – no ifs or buts – on 19 October 2023. This can still happen – if – there is a period of 28 days without an FM, which the FM contenders can create, leading to an inevitable HR election ; or there is a vote at Holyrood to enable a 50% rule authorising an HR election – either way there can in effect be a vote for Independence within months. 

The governing party of Scotland, with a genesis of almost 90  years, needs a reset overnight; a reminder of roots and aims. Self determination, independence, self-sufficiency; urgency, desperation, determination and the overwhelming desire to combat for once and all unnecessary want, hurt, pain, hunger, thirst and disappointment created by a Union and able to be obliterated by autonomy. Bairns matter, not bombs. Free school meals, prescriptions, education, a land where food banks, baby banks, warm banks, school clothing banks are history. Where dignity and hope count. Where the Dream shall never die.