Socialist Worker

Scottish independence march keeps pressure on the Tories...and the SNP

by Raymie Kiernan
Issue No. 2610

Thousands joined the march in Stirling on Saturday

Thousands joined the march in Stirling on Saturday


Some 15,000 people joined the latest march for Scottish independence last Saturday in Stirling.

Turnout surpassed organisers’ expectations, continuing the trend seen at marches in Glasgow and Dumfries in the past two months.

Upwards of 70,000 have taken to the streets across all three.

A rally was held at Bannockburn on Saturday, the historic site of a battle between the armies of feudal lords over 700 years ago.

For some the history was the draw that brought them out and a lot of the press focused on a tiny minority in medieval dress.

Organiser All Under One Banner (AUOB) had said it would be a gathering of the “Yes clans” to prove “that it is the people who are driving this movement”.

It also said the march was “a key opportunity to highlight that our independent Scotland has evolved from medieval madness and will welcome refugees with open arms and never lock them up like animals in wire cages”.

Anti-racism and opposition to Donald Trump’s visit next month were popular.

Swelled

But the biggest factor that swelled the numbers was the Tories’ move at Westminster to retain devolved powers after Brexit. What little power the Scottish parliament has is under attack and this is fuelling the mood for a second independence referendum.

The “Tories out!” chant was as popular as it was in Glasgow and Dumfries. And as marchers snaked through the working class St Ninians area of Stirling, locals congregated on street corners to greet them or shouted support from their windows.

The new Scottish National Party (SNP) deputy leader Keith Brown attended. Last week he argued that the “tectonic plates are shifting” around the independence debate.

Credit for this, according to Brown, goes to the SNP’s recent economic blueprint for an independent Scotland and its Westminster MPs’ walkout shining a light on the Tories’ disdain for devolution.

This gets it the wrong way round and masks how unpopular the Growth Commission economic plan is among independence activists.

Brown and the SNP leadership are running to catch up with the movement. The marches are building confidence among activists and putting pressure on the SNP leadership, which has had a mandate to push for another referendum since March 2017 when Holyrood voted for it.

Many in the movement grow restless. They want SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon to use that mandate and push for independence as soon as possible.

With more marches over the next four months, that pressure may become too much for her to ignore.


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