I’ve made my views clear about the new Alba party and Alex Salmond’s real motivation for setting it up. This blog will continue to advocate SNP 1 and SNP or Green 2 in the elections which are just six weeks away now and to provide a space for people who continue to support Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP. But the Alba party has been launched now, it’s a done deal, and whatever our views about the former leader of the SNP and whether this move is a help or a hindrance to the independence cause, it’s in the interests of all of us to ensure that the presence of the Alba party increases rather than diminishes the total number of pro-independence MSPs in the next Scottish Parliament and that we maximise rather than reduce the total number of votes for all the pro-independence parties. Successful and pragmatic politics means dealing with the situation we actually find ourselves in, not the situation we wish we were in.
It is doubly important that we all now work to maximise the vote for pro-independence parties and to concentrate our rhetorical fire on the Conservative and Labour parties and not on each other because even should Alex Salmond succeed in his gamble with all our futures and we win a new Scottish Parliament with a healthy and unassailable pro-independence majority, Boris Johnson and the Conservatives will only seek to shift the goalposts and will point to the total vote share received by the pro-independence parties. If that total is less than 50% they will use it to claim that the people of Scotland have rejected independence and cite that as a reason why they feel justified in resisting the democratic will of the people of Scotland to revisit the question of Scotland’s constitutional relationship with the other nations in this wet and windy archipelago sitting just off the north west coast of Europe.
It will of course be an entirely specious and hypocritical argument. The vote that Scotland faces in a few weeks time is an election not a referendum, but when did hypocrisy ever stop a Tory? Under the rules of Westminster elections, the Conservatives got a mandate to pursue their vision of Brexit despite securing less than 45% of the popular vote. Under the rules of the far more proportional and fair electoral system used for Scottish Parliamentary elections, the if the pro-independence parties win a majority of the available seats they will likewise secure a mandate to pursue their policy of a second Scottish independence referendum even if their total vote share is slightly less than 50%. Them’s the rules. The Tories don’t get to retrospectively change those rules just because the outcome was not to their liking.
Nevertheless that won’t stop the Conservatives and their allies from trying. They will be aided in their efforts by the BBC and the overwhelmingly anti-independence media. That makes it all the more important that as independence supporters we redouble our efforts to attack the anti-independence parties and rebut their arguments in order to minimise their voter appeal as much as we possibly can and by reducing the anti-independence vote to a minimum to deprive Johnson and his allies of any wriggle room.
Over in the Scotsman, the Über unionist British nationalist Brian Monteith is getting his excuses in early. In an article published today https://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/columnists/alex-salmond-has-plunged-a-stake-into-the-heart-of-scottish-democracy-brian-monteith-3181513 he accuses Alex Salmond of plunging a stake into the heart of Scottish democracy. To be fair Brian knows a lot about plunging stakes into the heart because he’s a long-standing close associate of Michael Forsyth, the Thatcherite Dracula of Scottish politics. It’s pretty rich of a man who has argued that the Conservatives in Westminster should simply ignore and override the outcome of a Scottish election to argue that someone else is plunging a stake into the heart of democracy by [checks notes] standing for election in a democratic election, but as previously noted the Conservatives are no strangers to hypocrisy. They are however most definitely strangers to self awareness.
Of course what is really thrusting a stake through the heart of Scottish democracy is a Conservative government in Westminster which, without any democratic mandate for it in Scotland whatsoever has unilaterally embarked upon a weakening and hollowing out of a devolution settlement which Scotland overwhelmingly supported in the referendum of 1997 and which the people of this country were promised would be strengthened and entrenched in return for a no vote in the referendum of 2014. Yet despite receiving nothing from the people of Scotland which remotely approaches a mandate for reducing the powers of the Scottish Parliament or allowing Westminster to intervene in areas which are supposed to be devolved, that is precisely what the Conservatives are doing.
Furthermore the Tories have made no bones about their intentions to disrespect the outcome of the Holyrood elections if the people of Scotland give their parliament a mandate for a second independence referendum. It is because Scotland possesses no mechanisms within the structures of the British state as it is currently constituted in order to ensure that a British government must comply with the democratic will of the people of Scotland, and because the promises and commitments made to Scotland by the Better Together parties in 2014 have been so comprehensively traduced that so many people in this country believe that we must revisit the question of independence as a matter of urgency. The fact is that Scottish democracy faces an existential threat from this Conservative government.
The thrust of Brian Monteith’s article was to complain about the supposed unfairness of pro-independence parties gaming the system by calling on the anti-independence to game the system themselves. The Conservatives have indicated that they may not stand candidates in certain seats in order to encourage anti-independence voters to vote tactically. That only reinforces the importance of supporters of the Alba party campaigning to ensure that the SNP sweeps the board in the constituency vote, the success of their party’s super-majority strategy depends on it. As independence supporters above all we must use these elections to thrust a stake through the heart of the Conservatives’ anti-democratic vision for an emasculated and enfeebled Scottish parliament and not to shoot ourselves in the foot.
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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