By Pilar Fernández, translated from Galician by Paul Kavanagh
I must recognise that I am not objective, I cannot be. From the first time that I stepped on Scottish soil 11 years ago I've been completely enamoured with the landscape, the intense history, the people, the culture, the traditions, so similar to Galicia's, and with Scottish idiosyncracies.
Then, Labour were still in power, but winds of change were blowing, so much so that within a while the Scottish National Party won a relative majority in the elections. Already at that time one of the objectives of the SNP was to hold a referendum on independence that would reinforce the social and economic policies of the country.
By not achieving an absolute majority, it was the votes of Labour and the Conservatives who boycotted over and over again, not only the social policy programme of the SNP, but also and especially, prevented the referendum from getting off the ground. The pathetic and mediocre performance of Labour and its spokesman Iain Gray received a response in the following elections, and it was unexpected. The SNP achieved an absolute majority in a system that was designed and prepared so that such a thing would not happen.
And the referendum project became a reality, although with many obstacles, and great opposition from the media, with voices inside and outside the UK who have tried, and try every day, to interfere, poison and dirty this process - giving it so much more of a reason for being.
And yet although it doesn't need to be said aloud, we're not dealing with a simple referendum. The historic context must be taken into account, the need for a political alternative to the politics of globalisation, to try and prevent the massive cuts imposed by the Westminster government, the systematic theft of Scotland's national resources. It's about a great lesson in democracy, to exercise the most sacred right of a people - to choose their own destiny and their social reality. That great democratice exercise will take place on 18 September 2014.
Neutralising the poison of the media
While negotiating with Westminster was not easy, Scotland now enters into the most delicate phase, to convince those who are not convinced, to explain to them what an independent Scotland actually means. And to neutralise a media which is anything but impartial which confuses and misinforms the population with smear campaigns and fear.
So far all we have heard are things like Scotland would not be a part of the EU, the referendum is all about Alex Salmond and is only for the people of the SNP, independence would break ties with all neighboring countries, it would be disastrous for the economy of the country ....
Fortunately, all these lies are being rebutted one by one both by the SNP and by various groups supporting independence linked to the Yes Scotland platform - Green party, Scottish Socialist party, even Labour (yes, there are also Labour party members who support independence). This platform is carrying out amazing work informing all the territory of Scotland.
I invite you to become aware of the publications and activities of Yes Scotland, (http://www.yesscotland.net/ and @ YesScotland) as well as the articles on Newsnet Scotland (www.newsnetscotland.com and @ NewsnetScotland). And if you use Twitter do not miss out on people as spectacular and interesting as @ wingscotland @ BellaCaledonia @ Moridura, @ nwsocialist or @ WeareNational ... since they have a lot to say about the social reality of Scotland's present and future and, of course, about independence for their country.
I also invite you to follow the Scottish Parliament every Thursday during First Minster's Questions. First Minister Alex Salmond is for me the best politician in Europe, by a long chalk. Where, in addition to better understanding what kind of policies are even now being put into place in Scotland, you can listen to people as iconic as Margo MacDonald, who are convinced that their country needs mature decisions made by mature people in order to defend and protect the future of their children and grandchildren, the future of a people who inspire affection and respect wherever they may be.
Parabéns Escocia! Deséxovos todo o mellor!
Congratulations Scotland, I wish you all the very best! Alba gu brath, saor Alba!
This article first appeared in the Galician magazine Sermos Galiza. It appears here in English translation by courtesy of the author.