So that’s Ruth Davidson off to ermine bedecked pastures new. The great renaissance of the Scottish Tories that her many media hypesters claimed that she heralded has proven to be ephemeral. She leaves behind a Conservative party that according to the most recent poll is in serious danger of losing a slew of seats at the Scottish election in May and slipping into third place behind the Labour party. This is because whereas Ruth was able to present a veneer of modernity and when she became leader headed a pro-EU party which promised to strengthen and deepen the devolution settlement, the Conservatives are now the party of Brexit and an aggressive and uncompromising English nationalism which seeks to use the Brexit that Scotland didn’t vote for and doesn’t support in order to undermine and hollow out the devolution that Scotland did vote for and does support. While there was always little of substance to Ruth, she did at least give good PR, was comfortable in front of the cameras, and was always ready with a quip or a cheeky photo op. On the other hand when her successor Douglas Ross appears before the cameras he always manages to give the unfortunate and uncomfortable impression that someone has rammed a broom handle up his arse.
To make matters much worse, Douglas and his colleagues have nothing positive to offer the voters of Scotland in this election. Telling voters that you are going to ignore what they vote for and then impose your policies on them anyway is not an attractive look for a political party which claims to be democratic, but that’s exactly where the Conservatives are in this election. They threw everything into their attempt to unseat Nicola Sturgeon, which was the only strategy that they had for this election. Not only did they fail, they were also exposed as shoddy and shameful political opportunists, preaching hypocritically about standards of government in Scotland while turning a blind eye to the rampant corruption, breaches of the ministerial code, lethal incompetence, lies, and deceit, which characterise the behaviour of their colleagues in Westminster.
The problems for the Scottish Conservatives are compounded by the fact that the Scottish elections of 2016 were something of a high point for them and they won many seats on the slimmest of margins. Many of those seats can be lost to them if their share of the vote slips back by even a couple of percentage points. In 2016 Brexit hadn’t happened and most of us in Scotland didn’t expect it was going to happen There was no realistic prospect of another independence referendum for possibly another decade to come, and so in that election there was not the same urgency as there is now for independence supporters to turn out and vote for a pro-independence party. In 2016 I didn’t vote for my local SNP candidate in the constituency vote (although I did vote SNP on the list) because of his opposition to equal marriage and his support for the teaching of creationism in schools. In this election if I still lived in his constituency I’d have no hesitation in voting for him. Ensuring that we have a strong pro-independence majority in the next Scottish parliament is the over-riding priority. We may not get another chance.
There is a small but vocal minority who claim that they support independence but that they are not going to support Scotland’s largest pro-independence party in this election because of what they claim is corruption or because of the party’s support for certain policies which they dislike but which don’t directly have anything to do with independence. No doubt they are under the influence of a particular individual who has set out to burn down the entire independence movement because it refuses to accept his own estimation of himself as an infallible genius who can do no wrong, some of them are even claiming that they don’t want independence until the leadership of the SNP has been cleared out and replaced with one more to their liking. Usually these comments are prefaced with an assertion to the effect that the individual concerned has been a member of the SNP since 1314 and went leafleting in Bannockburn with King Robert the Bruce.
Although they are loud and vocal on social media, such people seem to have a very limited impact in the real world. An opinion poll for panelbase which was published today shows that the SNP remains on course to win a majority in May and the Greens look set to make substantial gains. The Tories are staring into the abyss and could well fall into third place behind Labour. The real priority of anyone who supports independence is to help make sure that happens. It’s certainly the focus of this blog and will continue to be so
However even if we do accept the premise that the SNP leadership is fundamentally corrupt – which I don’t – this is an argument which fails even on its own logic. What these people are essentially saying is that they want to consign Scotland to the rule of a corrupt government in Westminster which the people of Scotland cannot vote out of office because they cannot countenance the prospect of a corrupt government in Holyrood which the people of Scotland can vote out of office. After all, the entire point of independence is to ensure that the people of Scotland get the governments we vote for. If you don’t like what the SNP are doing, you’ll have a remedy for it in an independent Scotland.
Yet what makes this argument even less logical is that if we do not elect a pro-independence majority in May and press ahead with a successful referendum, that corrupt government in Westminster is very likely to take steps to ensure that there will never again be another independence vote and that Scotland will remain in perpetuity under the thumb of whoever wins a plurality of the vote in England under the undemocratic first past the post system to which Westminster is wedded. To be brutally frank about it, it saying that you are an independence supporter who no longer wants independence because you dislike the leadership of the SNP is not so much a political strategy as it is an exercise in spitting out the dummy.
Talking of spitting out the dummy, I have been informed that Stuart Campbell has published a blog piece today attacking me and everyone else who he feels has done him wrong, telling his dwindling band of supporters to stop supporting us. I have not read the piece and have no intention of doing so, yet I have noticed that three people have cancelled monthly automatic donations to this blog, however three new people have started them, and in addition there was a not insignificant one-off donation from someone saying she was grateful to see that I was standing up to Campbell. His influence is clearly not what he thinks it is.
Normally I would not have bothered to mention any of this, I prefer to rise above the petulant attacks and carry on regardless. The only reason I mention this is because others are also finding themselves the objects of Campbell’s ire. The estimable iScot magazine is also on his hit list. It’s a high quality glossy magazine which is well worth a read whether you support independence or not. So let Stuart Campbell know that you will not allow him to burn down the entire independence movement in a fit of pique and take out a subscription today. He does not own this movement and we will not be beholden to him. You can subscribe to iScot at the following link. https://www.iscot.scot/
Update: 7.45pm There have now been nine new monthly donations set up and a considerable number of one off donations including one for a substantial sum. If Stuart Campbell is reading this, perhaps this tells you that the true extent of your influence is very far from what you think it is, sitting as you do in your little bubble of acolytes. You are a busted flush. You told people to stop supporting this blog, the opposite has happened. Tomorrow please write another of your bile filled hate articles attacking me, I’m sure it will only increase support for this blog even more.
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.
You can help to support this blog with a PayPal donation. Please log into Paypal.com and send a payment to the email address firstname.lastname@example.org. Or alternatively click the donate button. If you don’t have a PayPal account, just select “donate with card” after clicking the button.