The Five Stages of Indy-Grief

Even the most enthusiastic and optimistic independence supporter has had much to deal with over the last five years – the promise of imminent referendums that keep failing to show up, the fear that the next one might not show up either. This leads to the Five Stages of Indy-Grief – which are exactly the same as the five stages of normal grief but in a different order. To help guide you through what lies ahead, what are the five stages and how do you know which one is you?

(With apologies to the entire indy movement and with tongue firmly in cheek. Mostly…)

The stage where you believe that the only thing which lies between you and an independence referendum is a set of specific conditions which can be met, that when those conditions are met the outcome is inevitable and that the inevitability of the outcome will be accepted and agreed by everyone.

Expressed in the terms “once we have achieved X there is no way London/Europe/the UN can say no…”

You know you’re bargaining if:

  • You believe fundamentally that political mandates always result in the promised action

  • You know precisely the clause in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which appears to guarantee the right to self determination
  • You can immediately recite how many opinion polls in a row had a pro-independence majority

The stage where you realise that the ‘bargain’ was not honoured, the outcome didn’t happen but you believe with passion that this is only a brief hiccup because a politician has promised you something which means it is definitely coming soon.

Expressed in the terms “X said we’re getting a referendum and there’s no way they can go back on that…”

You know you’re in denial if:

  • You get excited when The National has a front page saying an indyref is ‘closer than ever’

  • You ‘know someone’ who told you the exact date of the referendum – but in confidence
  • You’re sure you picked up a hidden message in the leader’s speech at party conference

The stage where you’re suspicion that you may have been somewhat led on turns into a certainty that you’ve been played and that promises that you once believed were sacrosanct were little more than expectation management.

Expressed in the terms “X never actually supported independence and Y is an MI5 plant…”

You know you’re angry if:

  • You’ve joined Alba
  • You want the indy marches to come back so you can share your rage with like-minded people

  • You’ve gathered a lot of background information on super-injunctions

The stage where it dawns on your that making deals in your head, trusting politicians and howling at the moon all have an almost precisely equal chance of delivering Scottish independence.

Expressed in the terms “do you remember how it felt back in the summer of 2014?”

You know you’re depressed if:

  • You’ve bought storage boxes for your Yes memorabilia

  • You’re still reading pro-indy blogs but you’re not sure why
  • Everything politicians say starts to sound the same

The stage where you’ve come to terms with the fact that whatever it is that we’re doing now isn’t working and that whatever we do next needs to be very different from whatever we’re doing now.

Expressed in the terms “I forgot how much I enjoyed gardening/hill walking/golf/badminton”

You know you’ve reached acceptance if:

  • The latest opinion poll is worse than the last one but it doesn’t ruin your day

  • You meet a friend for lunch and don’t mention referendums at all

  • You are determined to get this right as soon as we stop getting it wrong

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