It was only to be expected that as the independence movement tears lumps out of itself over Salmond vs Sturgeon or because of issues which are not themselves directly related to independence, the long run of opinion polls showing a lead for Yes has come to an end. The only beneficiaries of these disputes are the British nationalists. That’s what happens when you take your eye off the ball and lazily assume that support for independence will take care of itself. Well it won’t. The Tories and their allies have not had to try and persuade Scotland of the dubious benefits of continuing British rule, they have been able to sit back and rub their hands with glee as supposed independence supporters have done their job for them.
Unlike some who comment on this blog, I do not believe that certain ostensibly pro-independence blogs which have done nothing of late to promote the cause of independence but have instead concentrated all their energy on attacking Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP have become conscious agents of British nationalism and the British state, that is to fall prey to the same conspiracy theorising which these sites promote. Rather I believe that these sites have fallen victim to their owners’ obsessive pursuit of their own grudges and vendettas to the extent that they no longer care what effect they are having on the wider movement or on the perceptions of the undecided voters and soft noes whom we need to get on our side if we are to have any chance of winning independence.
I have always had a policy of not using this blog as a platform from which to attack other independence campaigners, no matter how wrong headed I believe them to be. This and the preceding paragraph are a rare exception to that rule, and shall remain an isolated exception. I believe that if you want a particular voice to become irrelevant to the independence movement you should treat it as though it already is, all the more so when you believe that voice to be ego-driven and motivated by the attention being paid to it. Negative attention is still attention. Public criticism merely tells that voice that it is still being heard and that it is still influential. It acts to encourage and not to dissuade.
Instead I choose to focus on something far more important, and that is to make the case for independence and to talk about the dangers to Scotland that come from remaining under Westminster control. These are topics which the overwhelmingly anti-independence media in Scotland are keen to avoid.
There is no doubt at all that Scotland and the devolution settlement are facing the greatest dangers that they have ever experienced since the restoration of a limited form of Scottish self-government in the late 1990s. The Conservatives have now adopted the mantle of Ukip and become an overtly Brextremist English nationalist party. Given that the Labour party’s opposition is ineffectual and Labour is failing to dent the Conservatives’ lead in the polls, The limited autonomy enjoyed by the Scottish and Welsh Parliaments represent the sole remaing effective resistance to Johnson’s absolute control and power.
Neutering that resistance is a political priority for the Conservatives. Right now the sole factor that is holding the Conservatives in check is the fear of another Scottish independence referendum and the possibility that they might have to try and articulate some arguments in favour of the UK which could help to persuade the people of Scotland to vote against independence in an independence referendum. Once that fear is removed there will be nothing at all to hold the Conservatives and their allies back from mounting an all-out assault on devolution and the powers of the Scottish Parliament.
All that stands in their way is the possibility that the SNP and the Greens and any other minor pro-independence parties do well in the Scottish elections which are now less than two months away. If the SNP fails to do well in that election there will be nothing to prevent the Tories from eviscerating the Scottish Parliament. They will most certainly take steps to ensure that they will never again have to worry about another referendum without the express consent of the occupant of Downing Street. Even if the SNP remains the largest party – which will be the case barring something catastrophic – any failure of the SNP to win an outright majority will be spun by the Tories and their allies as a defeat for those seeking independence and it will be used to justify stripping even further powers from the Scottish Parliament and as an excuse to introduce legislation at Westminster to make it unlawful for Holyrood to hold any sort of referendum about Scotland’s constitutional status.
Once they have done that, the Conservatives will then seek to appease the English nationalists in their ranks by attacking and undermining the Barnett formula in the supposed name of fairness. Scotland will be powerless to resist as the Scottish budget is slashed and or public services are gutted. Labour and the Lib Dems will then shamelessly attack the Scottish government by calling these “SNP cuts”, and they will be aided and abetted in this by the majority of the Scottish media.
The stakes are frighteningly high, while sections of the independence movement devote their time and energies in the pursuit of internecine disputes, the Tories are looking forward to entrenching their power and escaping the scrutiny of the people of Scotland. In May there is only one choice facing the electorate of Scotland, do we want to assert our right to determine the future of this country or do we throw it all away in angry infighting. The Tories don’t care about the rights and wrongs of the dispute between Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon, they certainly don’t care about any of the other issues that divide the independence movement. All that they care about is that our divisions and disputes represent the most likely way by which they will be able to retain power and control.
The good news is that we remain in a strong position and are faced by opponent who have no convincing counter offer top put to the people of Scotland and we have a solid base of pro-independence support from which to launch an official independence campaign. The Conservatives’ only hope is that we self-destruct. It is imperative that w do not play into their hands. It is vital that we make good use of the weeks left to us before May’s election to continue to make the case for independence and to shout from the rooftops about danger that Scottish self-government is facing from this Conservative government. That’s the only way that we can win majority support, no one else is going to do that job for us, and we should not be distracted from that crucial task by those angry voices with agendas of their own.
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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