A long-time campaigner for r Scottish independence, the e Glasgow artist and author Alasdair Gray has written several political pamphlets on home rule, including Why Scots Should Rule Scotland (1992) and How We Should Rule Ourselves (2005), both ) b h timed to coincide with UK general elections. Here, we print an extract from the latter, where Gray outlines his republican vision: (

‘What Should We All Do Now? As Edmund Burke is often said to have remarked, ‘all that has to happen for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing’. We believe that we are a sovereign people. If we are unhappy with our present system of government in Britain, all that stops us from acting to change it is our own laziness or lack of imagination. In the immediate future we should

take part as widely as possible in the coming general election. At the minimum, this means we should vote. We should talk, publicly and privately, about what we want. We should campaign. We should harangue the powerful and speak up for what we believe. When young William Pitt was out of ofi ce and wanted parliament reformed he advised like-minded folk to form clubs and join associations to petition parliament and lobby for change.

So vote! Speak! Make sure that

your representatives in parliament represent what you want. If you want accountable government, vote for an MP who will insist our government accounts for itself: not for one who will merely obey a party’s managers. It is your sovereign right to have a government that answers to you. And it is your sovereign right to have a parliament that works tirelessly to make sure this happens. We are a sovereign people. So let’s

act like one.’

Extract from How We Should Rule Ourselves by Alasdair Gray and Adam Tomkins, with kind permission of Canongate Books. A new book by Alasdair Gray, Independence: An Argument for Home Rule will be published by Canongate in June 2014.

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