My journey with independence hasn’t always been a smooth one. It’s been a road paved with questions, ridiculous amounts of optimism with the odd family argument thrown in for good measure. With all of that taken into consideration, I have never wavered in my core belief: Scotland should be a free, independent country.
My first outing to the polls was over a decade ago in the 2007 Holyrood elections. I was so excited to cast that first vote. I can still picture the polling place, I still lived with my parents and we made going to vote a family event. Granted, I voted for the Liberal Democrats. Oh my young, naive mind. So much to learn. And boy, did I learn. Fast.
By the time the 2010 General Election came around (ah, the days of when something shocking happening within politics was a Conservative/Liberal Democrats coalition. Take us back, Hot Tub Time Machine, take us back! ) I was voting SNP. I didn’t get actively involved in the branch or even really campaign for independence for the first time around. I’ll be really honest: I thought there were other people who cared more than me doing the hard work. They didn’t need me. And I was scared to get out of my comfort zone and try something different.
But then Thursday the 18th September 2014 happened. And I really cared. I cared more than anything. It felt like the nation was on tenterhooks. And by Friday the 19th, just under half of us were devastated. That is when it hit me. I cried in my car. I cried pretty much all day. And I joined my local branch that following month.
I’m not going to say that I have been a model member of the independence movement. Or a model branch member. I’m essentially no role model when it comes to great attendance at meetings. But I have a passion for this country and the people in it.
I have a passion for Scotland. And although I could go on some rose-tinted glasses filled rant about my hopes and dreams for a brighter tomorrow, all I know is that I believe with every inch of my being that the people of Scotland deserve better than what they are currently getting. We are not the second class citizens that Westminster treats us as, and we have a way to sever the ties that are shackling us to a system that suits them exactly the way it is. So let’s support those who can make a way for us, campaign until the last moment and be our Scotland.
A free Scotland.
I know, I just did the thing I said I wasn’t going to do. Sue me.
So if you are on the outskirts of the independence movement/SNP and want to get involved as we gear up for IndyRef2, I would like to encourage you to step out of your personal comfort zone. You never know what opportunities await and whose lives you may get to encounter for the better. Don’t get me wrong, there will be challenges along with it, but thankfully you get to do it all alongside a great group of like minded folk.
You never know the difference you may make.