Aaand we’re off, you can tell when the British nationalists are rattled when they wheel out “experts” to tell Scotland “Naw, ye cannae” because we’re too wee. too shtupit, too poor, too insignificant [delete as appropriate]. The latest entry in the genre has been dredged up by the Herald’s resident SNP baddist Tom Gordon, who has called upon Professor James Mitchell of Edinburgh University to provide a suitable, “But they can’t Colin, they just can’t” quote as clickbait for the British nationalist frothers who infest the comments section of a newspaper which still claims to be “neutral” on the topic of Scottish independence. That would be the rabidly SNP hating Professor James Mitchell, who has a long and inglorious record on badmouthing the SNP, the Scottish Government and Nicola Sturgeon in particular, Mitchell is impartial in exactly the same way that the Herald is neutral on the subject of Scottish independence.
The Professor is keen to let us know that there is no such thing as a de facto referendum, an election is an election he tells us, and the SNP cannot dictate the terms of the election. “But they can’t Colin, they just can’t.” However that is not what the SNP is proposing. The SNP is not in the business of telling other parties what platforms they can stand on, that would be the British nationalists who do that sort of thing. The Tories, Labour, and the Lib Dems can put whatever propositions they like before the electorate, and so can the SNP and other pro-independence parties who agree that this election is aimed at securing a mandate for independence. However if this is a de facto referendum on independence we will all be voting in full knowledge that the British nationalist parties have stripped any meaningful sense of union from the polity known as the United Kingdom and will have denied any validity to their once proud boast that the UK is a voluntary partnership of nations.
The SNP’s manifesto for the 2019 UK General Election was 52 pages long. It contained policies on health, tackling poverty and inequality, a call for the devolution of employment law, and a whole lot more besides. While it is not for me to pre-empt the SNP manifesto in a UK General Election which will be a de facto referendum on independence, I suspect that the SNP manifesto in that election will be considerably shorter, possibly just one brief sentence along the lines of “Scotland should be an independent country.” The manifestos of the other pro-independence parties may be very similar. Tom Gordon and his pet “But ye cannaes” should look up the UK General Election of 1918 because Sinn Fein did precisely that in order to secure a mandate for Irish independence at the 1918 election, if the SNP declare that a vote for them is a vote for independence and wins on that issue, no amount of British nationalist pettit lips can change the fact that Scotland will have voted for independence in a lawful vote and will have done so without the permission of the occupant of Downing Street.
Tom Gordon has got in his first “blow for the SNP” early, risible as it is. Knowing that they have lost control of the process the apologists for British nationalism are desperate to delegitimise the vote in an effort to discourage voter participation. We will be seeing a lot more of this sort of thing in the weeks and months ahead. This is what counts as a case for the union these days, at least that is what we are still calling it for now, until either Boris Johnson or the UK Supreme Court plunge a stake through its heart.
They are also trotting out their other tropes from 2014. Expect plenty of references to “Nicola Sturgeon’s referendum” just as the last time round it was “Alex Salmond’s referendum.” It’s an “SNP referendum” not an independence referendum. It suits the British nationalists to pretend that Scottish independence is wholly owned by the SNP as they try to peel off voters who might support independence but who don’t support the SNP and hope that they don’t remember that an independent Scotland will be a democracy, indeed far more democratic than this so-called union and people will be perfectly free to vote for whomever they choose.
Ever since the First Minister made her announcement there has been a lot of angry noise and deflection from the British nationalists, however not a single one has been able to give a credible alternative route to independence, because if the democratically elected Scottish Government are not able to hold the referendum that they have been elected to hold then what exactly is the democratic route to a referendum?
It’s a question that goes to the very heart of the nature of this so called union, and it’s a question that remains unanswered because the likes of Tom Gordon who are so numerous in the Scottish media are far more interested in finding “blow for Nicola Sturgeon ” quotes, however spurious or irrelevant, than they are in questioning the nature of this supposed union that they are so keen that Scotland remains a part of.
The answers to the question that they do elicit from the Tories are even more risible than Tom Gordon’s “blow for Nicola Sturgeon,” a “blow” which even if it were something substantive would not be a “blow for Nicola Sturgeon” but a blow for meaningful democracy in Scotland as a part of the UK, not that that appears to trouble the Scottish media. On Tuesday the BBC’s Glenn Campbell asked Douglas Ross what the democratic route to an independence referendum was if it is not a majority for one in Holyrood. Ross insisted that there is indeed a democratic route to another referendum but refused to say what it might involve because he’s “not in the business of helping to break up the UK”. So his position is that there really is a democratic route to another referendum but it’s a super secret one and he’s not going to tell anyone what it is because it might encourage people to use it. This arrant nonsense appeared to suffice for Glenn Campbell, who proceeded to button up the back of his head and hoped that viewers would do likewise.
Between now and the inevitable independence vote we will be seeing a lot of “blow for Nicola Sturgeon” headlines. What we won’t be seeing is a positive case for Westminster rule or a credible means by which Scotland can be guaranteed that it can get what it votes for while remaining a part of the UK, because no such case and no such guarantees exist.
That is because if the Scottish media did start to interrogate the nature of the “union” instead of allowing Douglas Ross to fob off the question with intelligence insulting drivel they would find that it is founded on a lie. The real purpose of the anti-independence Scottish media is not to hold power to account, it is to fend off independence and to deflect any potential criticism of their beloved British state. Scotland, you had your wee dalliance with democracy in 2014, you are not allowed to change your mind no matter how many lies were told in order to secure the result that the British state wanted, no matter how much circumstances have changed. Now trot along, shut up, and do what you’re told. Westminster has some human rights to strip you of. Now here’s the terribly important Andrea Leadsom to ask “What currency are you going to use?” As though that were some clever gotcha and not just her displaying her usual Tory arrogance and ignorance, an arrogance and ignorance which is a powerful argument for independence all by itself.
I won’t be about tomorrow (Friday) as I have to go in to Glasgow for a disability assessment. I’ll be back blogging on Monday, by which time I’m sure that there will be plenty more British nationalist desperation to scoff at.
Many thanks to everyone who kindly supported the annual fundraiser. It’s always a nerve wracking time, I’m literally asking people to put their money where my mouth is. I’m delighted to say that the target of £5000 wasn’t just reached it was smashed. From all sources, the Gofundme page, PayPal donations, and direct donations by cheque or into my bank account, the grand total raised was an incredible £11,094. In my wildest dreams I could not have expected it to go so well and my deepest thanks to everyone who contributed. It is heartening to know that so many people value my writing and that there is still an appreciative audience for a positive pro-independence message that concentrates on making the case for independence and debunking the arguments of the real enemies of Scottish independence, the Conservatives and their little helpers. That’s what I will keep doing thanks to you.
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