We’re back to political business as usual after the craziness of the summer break. Which in Scotland’s case means that we’re still subjected to a barrage of stories in the media about how crap the SNP are. So it’s not really that different from the diet we were fed over the summer break when politicians got to go off on holiday, or, in the case of Labour politicians, accuse one another of anti-semitism. Labour really enjoys the summer break, because it means that its political representatives can have a rest from attacking the Tories and instead can concentrate on what they really love, which is attacking other Labour politicians.
We have discovered that Ruth Davidson has her eye on a political career south of the border, from where she can launch her bid for leadership of the bunch of rightwing malcontents who make up the Conservative party. The Conservatives are really impressed by what Ruth has done for Scotland, which consists of bringing up her opposition to another independence referendum at every opportunity because she has no other policies, avoiding questions about Dark Money, looking the other way as a series of Scottish Tories were unmasked as sectarian bigots, homophobes, racists, or social media trolls, appearing on Bake Off and Have I Got News For You, writing a book, dressing up in uniform and becoming a pretendy colonel, and trying to pretend that Ross Thomson is a positive asset for her party, or indeed the human race.
But then, this is the Conservative party we’re talking about here, so the standard for impressive political performances is set pretty low. Compared to the political contributions of David Davis, Boris Johnson, or Jacob Rees Mogg, a 70 year old overweight 60 a day smoker riding a rusted bike rescued from the bottom of a canal would be an impressive performer in the Tour de France. So to be fair, Ruth’s lengthy list of achievements is indeed pretty impressive. She hides from controversy and idiocies where other Tory politicians march straight into them waving a Union fleg.
Ruth’s plan, which has been denied by “sources close to her”, is to be parachuted into the Lords so that she can take a position in the cabinet, and then later to launch her bid for leadership of a rightwing English nationalist party full of gammonesque bigots who just love Scottish lesbians with a history of opposing Brexit, and without the adoring and uncritical Scottish press to protect her. So that’s going to end well. When her unique selling point is “Scotland doesn’t want another referendum,” it’s not going to be easy for her to establish herself as a great political thinker in a country where most people don’t actually give a toss whether there’s another Scottish referendum or not.
Meanwhile Labour in Scotland is flailing around trying to find something to accuse the SNP of being bad at. Their problem in this respect is that Labour is the party of government in the UK’s only other devolved government, at least while the Northern Irish government is suspended. For every area of devolved policy which Labour in Scotland latches on in order to attack the SNP, Labour in Wales is the problem child that Labour in Scotland would prefer not to acknowledge, sitting there covered in snotters and vandalising bus shelters and dogging school while Labour in Scotland complains that the SNP got a marginally lower pass mark in their exams compared to last year. It’s safe to say that Nicola Sturgeon has seen off the challenge to SNP dominance from the new Labour leadership of Richard Wossiname. But then that’s like Lady Gaga seeing off a glam challenge from a polyester wearing tone deaf winner of a karaoke competition in Coatbridge.
So now that the Scottish and British parliaments are back in session, we’re back to the dysfunction and incompetence of the British state and its disastrous Brexit being paraded before us on a daily basis. I’ve never in my lifetime known such a poor British political establishment. They are utterly bereft of ideas, of imagination, of compassion, of competence. Those of us who are already convinced of the need for Scottish independence are only going to become even more convinced over the coming months. Those who are open to the idea are going to become even more open to persuasion. We’ve got a lot of work to do over the coming months.
The recent opinion poll which said that in the event of Brexit there would be a majority for Scottish independence was a great morale boost for the independence campaign. But it doesn’t mean that we’ve already won. It means that we have a good chance, but we can’t take anything for granted. This opinion poll tells us that if we put the work in, then we can win. But we have to put the work in.
The question in the recent poll was framed in a non-standard way and the poll was carried out by a company which has never asked about Scottish independence before. It’s quite likely that a future poll from another polling company will put support for independence in the low to mid 40% range again, and the media will tout that as a reverse. So we must not allow this recent poll to lull the independence movement into a false sense of security. The chances of there being a nailed on majority for independence in the polls before the launch of an official campaign remain slight. Most people don’t live and breath politics. Brexit hasn’t happened yet. Most people won’t engage with the issues until they have a reason to in the form of a date for a referendum. It’s during that campaign that we can work to shift the polling numbers in our favour.
However there is plenty to be getting on with in the meantime. We’re going to win Scottish independence with a well organised, energetic, and enthused grass roots movement. We need to look after our movement, to ensure that we are ready for the campaign ahead. We have forces to marshall, morale to raise, but we’re on the right path, a path that leads to an independent Scotland. There will be surprises along the way. There will be difficult days. There will be struggles. But we are in movement, and a people in movement are a force of nature. We’ve already changed Scotland, and we’re not finished yet. It’s never going to be business as usual again.
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