David McHutchon, Party Leader
Last month, Restore Scotland held its official launch. We aim to serve as a champion for full self-government in Scotland. Our movement is already drawing many to the cause of Scottish independence from among the roughly one million Scots who voted for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union, without there being a clear and consistent campaign for that position in Scotland.
If elected, we will back efforts to pursue independence from the United Kingdom, while completely opposing any policies that would surrender our newfound sovereignty as an independent Scotland to the institutions of the European Union. As a party, we cannot see the merits of decoupling ourselves from one remote and elitist political institution only to weld ourselves to an even more remote and elitist one. In no way does this represent political independence.
Our launch raises inevitable questions for fellow pro-independence allies because, for many, the idea of a new, small pro-independence party makes us all want to roll our eyes. However, it remains important that we understand the reasons for this new emergence, the growing urgency for independence and the fear that genuine concerns within and around the SNP being quashed. People, anxious for independence and setting on a new course, fear our Government are not listening.
The four local authorities to vote by majority for Scottish independence in 2014 were four out of the five most deprived in Scotland. These communities, in which many of our new recruits and members live, ache for political and economic independence. People experiencing poverty and the economic toll the pandemic has waged upon their assets crave the rediscovery of democratic power over their lives, their communities and their politics and they fear politicians do not listen.
The other question this raises is whether the emergence of a new party will dilute the potential we have to achieve our overarching goal of securing independence? To the contrary, the emergence of new parties holding the Scottish Government to account for achieving its reason for existence is critical. Smaller parties with little electoral clout in the rest of the UK managed to urge the Westminster Government to move on constitutional commitments and the same can be true for Scotland.
For years, SNP heavyweights including former deputy leaders, Jim Fairlie and Jim Sillars, have been eloquently making this case within the party for independence from both Westminster and Brussels for decades and have been sidelined. The SNP has moved from “broad church” Scottish nationalism towards EU unionism, “woker than thou” social policies which are out of sync with swathes of the Scottish electorate and a reactive authoritarianism which has left many politically homeless.
The final question this raises is if we have already left the European Union, why do we need a party to support this position? However, the statement by Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon on December 24, 2021, that “Scotland now has the right to choose its own future as an independent country and once more regain the benefits of EU membership” reminds us that her prospectus for independence is coupled with the vision of EU readmission. Again, this is not independence.
Of great concern among many in the independence movement is the absurdity of a policy that wishes to reassert national sovereignty, reestablish the primacy of Scots law and regain control over our economy, labour market, borders and seas only to surrender all that authority to the European Union – a superstate even more remote, unaccountable and undemocratic than the United Kingdom. Scotland should pursue her independence without being ruled by Westminster or Brussels.
Let us make our own way in the world as a nation sovereign, just and free.