The set-to over Sturgeon and Salmond is not only about Nicola Sturgeon and Alex Salmond, this is a proxy for two very different visions of an independent Scotland. We’re divided down other lines too, wrangling between factions with distinct visions of their own. And this idea of vision is, we can be sure, the key to understanding why we are in this maul. Perhaps without realising it, we have moved to the next stage of the independence campaign; the stage at which we have accepted the defeat of the union and have begun thinking about politics beyond independence.
If the Scottish National Party succumbs to this crisis – as it may well do – then we are looking at independence being cast a considerable distance into the future. Either the SNP will have to rebuild and regain trust or – having untangled independence from this one party – we will have to start afresh from the beginning with a new party or parties and work ourselves back up to the level we are now at. During all this time the British state will be constantly at work against us.
Knowing the futility of the unionist cause and unable to make a single convincing argument for Scotland remaining part of the United Kingdom, Stephenson has been at the centre of a Scotland in Union green ink scheme campaigning for the closure of the Scottish parliament – and it is precisely this dislike for democracy that has brought George Galloway to her side. Socialism in Scotland has long since forsaken the union, leaving only the ‘pink socialism’ of the British Labour Party – the Blairite Labour Party – on the Tory’s side. Galloway is returning to Scotland without friends and allies...
Queensferry Crossing, or Nicola Sturgeon’s ‘vanity project’ as the unionists like to style this essential infrastructural development, was closed briefly during dangerous and potentially life-threatening weather. Bearing in mind that bridges all over England were shut for the same reason at the time, to use its closure as a political weapon is right up there were resisting the expense of fire-retardant cladding on high-rise flats. This was not a good look for the Conservatives. That failing to close a bridge in dangerous weather is just inviting a tragedy, is a statement of the obvious.
Please don’t tell me you hadn’t realised this? Gentle persuasion and a ten-year plan will not work for us. The time for that was ten years ago. Now, without a referendum to do the persuading, it seems as though we have run aground. It’s true – only a referendum campaign will shift the balance, and we are not getting one of those anytime soon. I know what you’re thinking; here’s another dose of negativity from Jeggit. But you’re wrong. I am never negative. I will tell you what I think, sure. And telling you the SNP has it wrong would only be negativity if I wasn’t able to offer an alternative.
There is a nagging suspicion in my mind that the impetus to abandon our grievances came from these nefarious sources. I can’t prove it – no one can, but I am suspicious. Scotland has some pretty fantastic grievances, some pretty emotive and powerful grievances. It just strikes me that not to deploy them in an independence debate – that had absolutely everything to do with history – was such a monstrous tactical blunder that it couldn’t have originated with a real independence supporter.
In 2014 we saw ourselves as a small nation in a David-versus-Goliath fight. Realistically, in the beginning we did not expect to win. One theme repeated frequently at the time was that we just wanted to be a nuisance, that we wanted to have a bit of craic, upset the apple cart, and maybe – if we got lucky – give the English political establishment a bloody nose. We saw ourselves as a pesky younger sibling trying to make a point. But something changed. At some point in August 2014 it dawned on us that we might win – that we had a real shot of securing independence.
I am past the point of using this blog for popularity, so I suggest you buckle up. The Scottish National Party is a composite beast; there are many in its ranks who are indeed in this for independence, but they are out-numbered and out-gunned by the journeymen and the purists – those of the old tradition of a Home Rule party for Scotland. Home Rule, as it was in Ireland before us, is compliance writ large. It is the abject acceptance of the political domination of Scotland to England and the English royal and political establishment.