Multitude joins huge independence march through Glasgow city centre
Scotland is ours and we want to govern it ourselves – thousands march for independence.
By Bill Heaney
Tens of thousands of Scottish independence supporters have marched through Glasgow today (Saturday).
The estimates ranged from 40,000 to 90,000 flag-waving, kilt swinging, shawled and singing ordinary Scots from all political parties and none.
These were Scots – many of them from West Dunbartonshire – who would like to see their country scrap the union with England and govern themselves.
Not all of them, by the way, are supporters of the Scottish National Party (SNP), although it goes without saying that most of them are.
The organisers of the annual All Under One Banner event said they hoped about 40,000 people would attend, but said early estimates were up to 80,000.
Police Scotland said about 40,000 had come into the city by train, bus and car.
The march left Kelvingrove Park just before noon – and ended with a rally on Glasgow Green.
But the sight of a festoonery of Saltires blowing in the wind as the march eased down Woodlands Road towards Charing Cross was spectacular.
It surely must have sent a shiver down the spine of Prime Minister Theresa May.
“Aye, if only she had one,” said one grizzled veteran of many marches over multiple years.
The event was one of a series being held across Scotland by All Under One Banner whose spokesperson said they estimated 20,000 people took part in last year’s Glasgow march.
Police Scotland said there were an estimated 35,000 at Saturday’s procession, but their record of counting crowds is almost as poor as their track record for holding on to Chief Constables.
All Under One Banner describes itself as a “pro-independence organisation whose core aim is to march at regular intervals until Scotland is free” and says it is open to “everyone who desires to live in an independent nation”.
Co-ordinator Neil Mackay said he was confident that a second referendum would happen soon – “We expected up to 40,000 people on the streets of Glasgow, and then maybe more at a political rally on Glasgow Green.
“The purpose is to grow the movement, to galvanise us and bring more people on board, and to give as good a representation of the movement as we can.”
He added: “As far as we’re all concerned there will be another independence referendum, and it’ll be before 2021 when Brexit finally happens. We’re ready, and we’ll be doing every year all over Scotland.”
Mr Mackay said people had travelled from all over Scotland and further afield for the march.
He added: “People are also coming from England, we’ve got a strong English Scots for Yes contingent on the march today which is great.
“There’s a delegation from Germany, and from people all around the world who have had flights and hotels booked for months.”
The event also featured Catalan flags and banners promoting independence, music and speeches, with marchers urged to “bring your flags, banners, pipes and drums”.
Local SNP supporters were deeply disappointed with the BBC Scotland coverage of the march and the national broadcaster’s obvious reluctance to quote the their estimate of the number of people who took part.
Here are some of their views. Retired librarian Arthur Jones said: “I am very disappointed with The Sunday Herald this morning. Here was the one Sunday paper that claims to support Scottish independence, choosing, on its front page no less, to show a picture featuring a small group of union flag waving, swearing and V-sign throwing unionists shouting at the huge independence march as it passed by. It was, moreover, a wider YES movement march, the very non-party-political position The Sunday Herald claims to speak up for. Yep, the Scottish cringe yet again. Even that newspaper seems incapable of avoiding the “Aye, but…” mentality. People who actually were on the march report that the confrontation consisted of a bunch of about 12 to 14, and a little further on an even smaller group of about 6 behaving in a similar manner. “Yeah, big news, eh, on a day when, reportedly, about 90,000 marched to a marvellously good-humoured, well-behaved family-friendly event at Glasgow Green!
“Front pages are important in the newsstands. The editorial team of the SH should be ashamed of themselves.”
Bill Barlow said: “Couldn’t agree more! Media should have taken their cue from the marchers and ignored this pathetic display of protesters.”
And Danny McCafferty, formerly Labour leader on the council before defecting to the SNP, said: “The Sunday Herald is unfortunately no longer Indy supporting. (if it ever was) … That is blatantly obvious from this front page and a whole series of other negative coverage.
James Cormack (pictured above right) said: We should, nevertheless, keep our eyes on the ball. Too many weirdos and fringe-extremists are going on these marches and waving flags which have nothing to do with Scottish independence.”