Roy Mackie of Inchkeith branch of the SNP was called to speak against a resolution on aspects of the independence journey at the party conference on Sunday morning. He was to be a first time speaker and was naturally enough looking forward to the experience. He was duly placed in the queue and patiently waited for well over an hour to make his maiden conference speech. Just before he was expecting to be called, the debate was closed and moved to the vote. He was naturally very disappointed. I had already spoken on the same resolution, although in my case in support of it. In the interests of free speech, I said to Roy I would be happy to publish his thoughts. So, for this first time speaker (yet to be unfortunately) here is the speech he didn't have the opportunity to deliver.
Thank you convener, and good morning conference.
I feel compelled to speak against this resolution, because I really don’t believe it’s what the majority of our members want to hear. There’s absolutely nothing in it that we haven’t heard already, and frankly, I was very disappointed when I read it. I understand that pushing for independence during the Covid-19 pandemic is not ideal, but these are extraordinary times we are living in, and while we exercise patience and caution, the Westminster Tories just carry on doing what they do - dragging us out of the EU, ravaging our devolved powers, and wrecking our economy. Nothing ever gets in the way of their deeply damaging plans, and for that reason, we simply cannot afford to wait any longer: We need to push for independence as soon as possible, using whatever means necessary. The gold standard, section 30 order, can’t be our only option. We need a plan B, a plan C, and a plan D. In fact we need as many plans as it takes to get us to where we need to be.
In 1990, I emigrated with my wife and 3 young children to Cape Town South Africa just after Nelson Mandela was released from jail. We were there as apartheid was dismantled and the excitement, particularly amongst the downtrodden members of the population, was tangible. We knew we were involved in a huge historic event, and it felt great to be part of it. I desperately want to feel like that again, and I know I will, when the downtrodden people of Scotland finally break free from their oppressors in Westminster.
As well as being an active SNP member, I’m also chair of the Yes2 Kirkcaldy Hub, and a Yes Biker for Scottish independence. I attend independence marches and rallies all over Scotland, because they are so uplifting and energising. Many of the people who attend are SNP members, many are not, but we are inextricably linked through our desire for Scottish independence, and I would urge the SNP leadership to embrace the wider independence movement more, because they are crucial to our shared cause. When we’re marching, there’s a favourite call and response chant that goes around, where one person shouts, what do we want?, the crowd answers, independence !, when do we want it ? now !!! we need it now !!!
Reading between the lines of this resolution, it seems to me, that we are looking at 2 to 3 years before we even ask the section 30 question again, and given the circumstances, that’s not acceptable. For that reason conference, I would ask delegates not to support it. Thank you.