Last October and again in January when I was in the UK there were stories in the press about the possibility of the Scottish National Party winning government in Holyrood, the Scottish parliament. It seemed an almost impossible dream, to unseat Labour from its dominant position in Scottish politics, but it was one which was awash with Scottish pride; a William-Wallace-esque cry for freedom. The SNP had pledged to begin the long road to ending the union between England and Scotland, giving Scotland true independence, true freedom.
Today those stories became a reality, with the SNP gaining the most marginal majority (47 seats to Labour’s 46), but the implications of this victory for the SNP are profound. Scotland has the chance to forge a new nation based on self-determinating policies, not merely be regarded as an adjunct to Westminster. This is truly an amazing achievement, with the SNP nearly doubling its representation in Holyrood; a swing of nearly 6% overall.
I remember the Australian republican referendum in November 1999 as if it was yesterday. I remember feeling devastated that the majority of Australian people had failed to perceive our country as truly independent, entitled to its own Head of State. I’m proud today for Scotland, who have achieved what Australia has yet failed to achieve – a belief in their right to independence and confidence to forge their own future. Well done, Scots.