There’s an election coming which will decide whether there’s enough support for an independence referendum. That’s it, that’s all anyone who supports independence needs to know. Do you want another independence referendum and the opportunity to escape this dysfunctional and increasingly right wing inward looking and insular British nationalist state, or don’t you? If you are an independence supporter then Nothing else matters, or at least nothing else should matter. All the media obsessiveness about Nicola Sturgeon vs Alex Salmond while nodding and winking and turning a blind eye to the industrial scale corruption in the Conservative party is an attempt to distract us and dissuade us from answering yes to the crucial question posed by May’s Scottish elections. Do you believe that given the drastically changed circumstances in which Scotland now finds itself, we should as a nation revisit the question of Scotland’s constitutional status?
The relentless focus on the current First Minister and her dispute with her predecessor is an attempt to muddy that question. Independence is a far bigger issue than any one individual or any one party but the British nationalists and their allies are hoping that their incessant attacks on Nicola Sturgeon can divide the independence movement and deprive the SNP of a majority in May. The Conservatives and their British nationalist allies seek to depose Nicola Sturgeon because they fear her ability to attract and build support for independence, some independence campaigners seek to depose her because they fear that she represents the greatest obstacle to independence. They can’t both be right.
We have now reached a place where some independence supporters react in fury when they are reminded that we cannot cease making a case for independence and cannot give up our efforts to persuade undecided voters and don’t knows of the benefits of independence. They appear determined to concentrate all their energies in pursuit of angry vendettas and grudges against other independence supporters. They are so consumed with tactics that they have forgotten about strategy.
It sadly seems to be the case that the divisions and anger have now reached such a point that it’s going to take a new SNP leader to heal them, however the time for deposing a leader who is popular with the public is most decidedly not a few weeks out from a crucial election which will decide the fate of another independence referendum. It’s after that election has been fought and the electorate have returned a Scottish parliament with a solid and secure pro-independence majority. The time to decide issues of leadership is when we are in a position of strength, not when we risk throwing everything away.
The stakes are frighteningly high. If the SNP doesn’t do well in May, then we can look forward not just to any chance of another referendum vanishing for years. There is the very real prospect that we shall never get another chance in our lifetimes. However It is not enough just to win a pro-indy majority in Holyrood.
Personally I do not buy the argument that there must be an SNP majority and not merely a pro independence one. But it’s not the likes of me or other pro-independence supporters that the Conservatives are trying to persuade with that line. It’s the mass of undecideds and soft yes supporters. Politics is not primarily about facts, it’s about stories. If the Conservatives and their powerful media allies successfully establish the narrative that the SNP failed in its objectives in May’s election then the British Government will find it easier to resist pressure from Scotland for another referendum even if there is a pro-independence majority in Holyrood composed of the SNP, the Greens and representatives of a minor party. Only the election of an SNP majority can deprive the Tories of any opportunity to get that narrative established, because make no mistake that’s exactly what they will do, and they will be aided in their efforts by the BBC and the majority of the print media.
The British parties and their allies in the media have relentlessly sought to portray the independence movement as a creature of the SNP. In order to be certain that the next Scottish government has sufficient political capital to pursue another referendum, that government needs to be an SNP majority government. Any failure of the SNP to win a majority of seats in the next Scottish Parliament will be spun by the British media and the anti-independence parties as a defeat for the SNP and they will throw all their efforts and energy into trying to establish the narrative that Scotland has voted against holding another independence referendum.
The Conservatives will be emboldened and will take the failure of the SNP to win a majority as vindication. They will continue their attacks on the devolution settlement with a renewed vigour and may pass legislation at Westminster making it unlawful for Holyrood to hold another independence referendum without Westminster’s express consent. A Scottish Parliament where there is no pro-independence majority will willingly collude and allow them to do so. We have already seen how this Conservative government has passed legislation to by-pass and undermine Holyrood.
If the SNP do not do well in May we can expect to see yet more legislation originating from the Tories aiming to curtail the powers of Holyrood even further and power grabs that will make those they’ve already carried out seem inconsequential. This new assault on devolution is quite likely to be even more draconian than anything we have seen so far as the Conservatives will be able to proceed in the knowledge that there will be no political consequences for them in the shape of having to make a case for continuing British rule in an independence referendum and no Holyrood or Westminster elections for years to come. By the time those votes do take place, Holyrood will have been hollowed out from within and the Tories will have taken steps to ensure that Scotland can never again mount a challenge to what they see as their divine right to rule our country in perpetuity.
Johnson and Gove will do all that they can to neuter Scotland, They have already started. If the SNP do not do well in May the brakes will be off. They will by-pass Holyrood and make deals directly with compliant Tory and Labour run local authorities while hypocritically taking to the airwaves to proclaim that this is “real devolution”. Holyrood will be reduced to a toothless talking shop fit for nothing except grandstanding British nationalist politicians fulminating about Thatessempee. Meanwhile the real decisions affecting Scotland will be made in the increasingly well funded UK government hubs beyond the reach of Scottish democratic accountability. The people of Scotland will have no influence and no choice. May’s election is our last chance to stop the Conservatives dictating our future and keeping the door to independence open. That’s why I’m voting SNP 1 and 2.
This is your reminder that the purpose of this blog is to promote Scottish independence. If the comment you want to make will not assist with that goal then don’t post it. If you want to mouth off about how much you dislike the SNP leadership ,or about some other issue not directly related to Scottish independence – there are other forums where you can do that. You’re not welcome to do it here.
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