A guest post by Samuel Miller
Safe to say that, at the moment, polling for the outcome of the Holyrood elections on May 5th indicates that in all likelihood an SNP government will see a third consecutive term in office and with what appears may be an enlarged majority. Now, since every other bod likes to speculate on hypothetical stuff that hasn’t happened yet, I thought we might take a stab at it for a change.
Anyroads, back to the thought of a majority SNP governement and the next term. I hear some folks say ‘so what?’ and I can understand their frustration. What good is having 56 pro indy MPs in Westminster and possibly 70+ MSPs in Holyrood if we don’t have independence now? What use are they if they can’t even slap down an overly hostile media now and again, set up their own broadcasting legislation and yank the country out of the union as and when they feel like it? Used to be a majority of MPs was all you needed right? All valid questions and the last one especially will strike a chord with folks in a certain age group.
I suspect the answer, though again frustrating to many, is as simple as ‘they are democrats and gradualists’. The modern SNP aren’t a party or a movement of protest anymore. They are a grown up party of government who work through consensus and democratic mandate. I see them as wanting people to travel with them, not get dragged by them, toward an independent Scotland. As a party of government, they are bound by two things in particular. Firstly: Democratic mandate, or basically they do what they are given leave to do by the population. Secondly: Abiding by the spirit and letter of the union of parliaments as laid out in the Scotland Bill, again because that is what the majority of the Scottish electorate agreed they should do. That is not what they want. Its not what they argued for, but it is what they WILL do because they were instructed to by their electorate and as a party of government it is the duty they are bound to. All of which means that since our population narrowly voted in favour of devolved government (yeah we’re all aware of the circumstances by this point), their powers/competences are dictated by Westminster vote. Those competences and that system we covered in some detail previously in Bill of Goods.
A government doing what its told… ah know! Pure crazy, bat shit madness, daein’ whut yer telt? Vile Nats cunningly raising people’s expectations of how politics should be done. THOSE SCRUPLED BASTIRTS ARE DOING IT DELIBERATELY!
So again, what good are they? All those seats, all that responsibility and their hands are tied behind their backs by that damned bill and… and… and their own electorate?!?! Their word?!?!
Well in a nutshell, YES. Near as I can see anyway. What kind of government would they be if they didn’t go through the processes we asked them to as an electorate? Basically they’d be no different from the establishment parties (see under misery) who’ve ruled the roost for decades. The ones that same Scottish electorate have gone to no little trouble to vote out. So yeah, they’ll work with that bill and take all the shit that comes with it, because they are our government, because that is the service they are in and because… a majority of our electorate asked them to. In Westminster, the 56 pro indy Scottish MPs WILL fight enforced bad legislation, in the face of a shitstorm of negative media and political pressure,… because we ask them to. They delay, they argue, they amend as best they can and they bring to public notice WHAT they can, again… because that is what we ask them to do. Pretty certain though, they’d rather be practicing the day job elsewhere.
To be clear. YES, the whole situation is a pile of steaming manure IMO and YES it particularly reeks when you consider what was ‘delivered’ as a devolution settlement and just how it was intended to be delivered. Just as well our government were there to help the treasury with those complex sums, yes?
And now the good news!
Having overseen the outcome of the referendum and the delivery of the current devolution settlement, the SNP have stated in their recent conference that as of this summer they will launch a new drive for independence. Their stated aim, to resume their argument for returning all powers of sovereign government into the hands of the Scottish parliament and electorate. What shape this renewed campaign will take is anyone’s guess, but one thing is for certain, I don’t think that under the new management it’ll be quite what the opposition parties would expect.
Then there’s the wider pro independence electorate who, unlike a party of governement, are a true and growing movement. What can they take from such an electoral outcome and what could they be doing to bring about the constitutional change they seek? The SNP have proven themselves a capable and credible party of government, but is that all that they are? Well no, in this instance they, along with other smaller pro indy parties, are arguably the Scottish electorate’s only guarantee of full democratic choice and systemic constitutional change being on the table at all. They’ve been selected by a broad spectrum of the Scottish electorate as whut ye might call, gatekeepers. I’d say the pro indy movement can be fully assured that if/when polls show a regular and clear pro independence majority, that particular government WILL act upon the wishes of that majority and move for a second referendum. I would speculate, with a reasonable degree of certainty (cough), that the two and a bit establishment parties, Conservative and Unionist, Labour and Libdems, would bolt that gate, padlock it and throw a chest containing the key into the sea, arbitrarily removing any such choice from the Scottish electorate. Does anyone seriously believe they could ever be trusted to act upon any clear constitutional desires for change from the Scottish electorate?
As for what the pro independence movement could be doing? Well I’d say they’re pretty much doing most of it right now. Investing in their new media, continuing to keep open lines of communication, spreading news and sharing information, patiently convincing and pressing their arguments, all looks good as a starter for ten. Some groups organise get togethers, discuss ideas and current issues, cementing that sense of cause and community, of forward momentum. Being seen to help out deserving causes where and when they can, whether through crowdfunders, group or personal action also seems a good pro active step too. It let’s folk know, this is what community and common weal is about, what THEY are all about and what they expect their governments and politicians in Holyrood to be all about. Still speculating like, but I believe its a direct result of this continued communication, the networking, discussions, ideas and actions that the pro indy movement will continue to grow.
In short, whilst the SNP argues from the standpoint of confidence in the capability of Scotland’s government and parliament, the independence movement should carry on doing what it’s doing for the moment. It needs to be remembered that any referendum doesn’t belong to a government. It doesn’t belong to a party. It belongs to you, the public. It’s a people’s referendum and you decide when, or if, it happens. Your engagement, your will, your drive, and most importantly, your mandate. So keep doing what you’re doing and by that I mean stay engaged, and keep biting the hand of project fear.
N.B. This will be my last post before Paul gets back. I’d just like to take the opportunity to thank the readership for bearing with my ramblings and the site over the past couple of weeks and can assure you that normal service should be resumed shortly.
Many thanks folks. 😀