According to Wednesday’s Herald, a group of “experts” on devolution have said that there should not be another independence referendum for at least fifteen years. So that’s us telt then, the experts say no. Mind you, at least one of the experts was a fully paid up member of the nawness faction during the referendum, so the fact he’s saying no again counts as consistency, not as news per se. The reason that the period of fifteen years was chosen was because that’s a generation as measured by teenage pregnancy, or the approximate life expectancy of a mongrel dug. It is immensely flattering that unionists think a wee ginger dug made such a contribution to the independence debate that they want to make sure he’s popped his clogs by the time there’s another. But this dug is going nowhere.
The whole generation thing originates in an off the cuff remark made by Alicsammin. Since the UK media and Unionist parties persuaded themselves that Scotland was really voting for alicsammin in September 2014, they feel it’s only right and proper that everyone else in Scotland ought to suffer from the same delusion. They fondly believe that the country rejected alicsammin by 55% to 45% and so the Unionists are quite determined that Scotland shouldn’t have a chance to vote for alicsammin again until alicsammin’s asbo has expired. However since the rest of us thought we were voting for or against independence, a large number of us don’t feel bound by alicsammin’s conversational comments.
I certainly don’t – no one asked me if I was agreeing not to want another independence referendum for a whole mongrel. I don’t recall placing my X in a wee box marked YES in answer to the question: “If it’s a No vote to alicsammin do you agree to shut your gob and tug your forelock until your dog has died and then at such time as a Tory government deigns to allow Scotland to have another referendum because by participating in this referendum you are conceding any rights to an opinion?” I’m sure that wasn’t the question.
The basic principle here is that it’s not for Davie Cameron to be telling Scotland when we can have another referendum, we’ll be telling him. That’s what this democracy lark is all about after all. And let’s not hear any of that guff about respecting the will of the 55%, because as I have previously argued – if there’s going to be another referendum it will be because there is no longer a 55% whose will must be respected.
The truth is that while we may quibble with the experts’ timing, we shouldn’t have another independence referendum for a good while yet, for simple tactical reasons. If we have a referendum too soon, and without a material change in circumstances, the Yes side would lose, and that really would set back the cause of independence for a generation. A proper generation and not just a teenage pregnancy one like you get on all the poverty porn programmes on the telly. That said, Scotland should definitely have another independence referendum – but only when the Yes side knows we’re going to win it. In the meantime, with a majority Tory government, we’re in for a dog’s life.
A week is famously a long time in politics. Fifteen years is an aeon. Fifteen years ago a modem was the height of internet speediness, we had animated gifs instead of video streaming, Facebook and Twitter hadn’t been invented, and social media meant putting an advert in the classifieds in the Evening Times. There was no alternative media in Scotland and we relied almost entirely for our news on Reporting Scotland and the Daily Record. Not surprisingly Labour was utterly dominant, people didn’t giggle every time a Liberal Democratic MSP was interviewed on telly, and idea of independence was the preserve of a marginalised SNP which was struggling to find a place for itself.
All sorts of things could change between now and 2030, none of which will be reported on Reporting Scotland if they’re any good for Scottish independence. Although by then the Tories will have privatised the BBC and outsourced Scottish programming to Serco and we’ll get getting wall to wall reality shows about poorly paid security guards in hi-viz jaikets chasing shoplifters, and an investigative programme in which the last person in the country who hasn’t had their benefits sanctioned is hunted down with hounds – so pretty much like the telly is just now then. However if there’s still a Reporting Scotland in 2030 you can be sure that it will still be doing a sterling service telling us about the important things that happen in Scotland, that would be the murrdurrs, the fitba, something about waiting times in hospitals and how it’s all the fault of the SNP, wee cute kittens and mair fitba.
Back in the present day, the programme has just won an award for being the best Scottish news programme. No seriously. Reporting Scotland has won the RTS Scottish TV award … Aye that’s what I said too … It’s really the “Thank fuck Scotland voted No” award. And they wonder why the traditional media is rapidly losing credibility. Perhaps the RTS has a category for news programmes that try to present the Daily Record in video form, or the best presentation of Labour press releases. Or maybe it’s because you can now get an award for finding new and inventive ways to say SNP bad. Someone ought to tell Kezia Dugdale.
A whole lot of things can change long before the fifteen years are up. There’s the EU referendum looming, there’s the impact on Scotland of five years of durrty Tory basterts. There’s the still unanswered question of a devolution settlement. And there’s a Scottish Parliament election in a year’s time. Scotland can’t tie its constitutional hands for an arbitrary period of time just to keep discredited politicians happy. It’s not for them to be telling us, it’s for us to be telling them. And we will tell them when we’re good and ready for another independence referendum.
We’ll be good and ready for one when Yes is certain to win it. It will be when Scotland is sick of the dog’s life we live under the Tories and a British Labour party determined to ape them. We’ll be good and ready for it when the 55% is no longer a 55%. That’s not yet. But the clock is ticking on the dog’s life.
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