‘Someone on the internet said something mean about me,’ joked Paul Kavanagh a couple of years ago as he recounted to me his experience of negative comments online. And this is true; no matter what we do or say, there will always be someone lurking somewhere online — invariably hiding behind an anonymous profile — who will go out of their way to say something biting and nasty. Here we’re not talking about trolls. We have come to expect them and when we realise this is what they are up to we can dismiss them without much thought.
Paul Kavanagh has written an article explaining to his readers why he will be stepping back from the 2021 Holyrood election campaign, and the experiences he has described are truly sickening. As we are all aware, Paul suffered a stroke a number of months ago and is struggling to recover. While he was in hospital, unable to receive visits from friends and loved ones due to the pandemic restrictions, he lost his beloved friend — our beloved friend — Ginger the wee ginger dug.
Our heretofore trust in the idiom ‘Cometh the hour, cometh the man’ has done us no service. Charismatic leadership is rare in the real world, and my regular readers will by now be aware of my negative opinion of messianic thinking in the movement. We have to a large extent hitched our wagon to the SNP and so have been frustrated at the SNP’s lack of movement, its endless carrot dangling, and its constant lip service to the independence cause. But this frustration is our own fault. The SNP is not the political wing of the movement.
Obstructed in Scotland by a constitutional framework designed to eternally frustrate independence, and stuck to a state that will – as it has again and again in the past – change the goalposts to benefit the union, it stands to reason that we can achieve infinitely more and faster by stoking division in England than we ever can by trying to unify a Scotland already mentally colonised and socio-politically divided by England. Those of us of a certain generation will remember the words of Robert de Brus, the father of Robert the Bruce, in the film Braveheart...
Less than fifteen minutes in I was too dejected to listen any more. The social media feed was telling me I wasn’t alone. Another over-hyped empty announcement from ‘the only person who can win our independence,’ another dead-end from ‘the only show in town,’ and another painful frustration from ‘the only party that can do it.’ Of course, I bought none of this. Reason and the experience of the past six years warned me to expect nothing, but hope – that twisted trick the psyche plays on us – had me thinking there was a chance; slim and unlikely, but a chance.
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.
Soft criminalisation is a very effective political weapon in the hands of any state establishment, and has been used countless times against people and organisations which have become too great a threat to the status quo.