The conditions that prevailed in 2011 are no more. The 2014 referendum and the ongoing constitutional war of attrition have fundamentally changed the dynamics of how we do politics, of how we think politics. Unionist support is continuing to rally behind the Conservatives, and this, along with the continued success of the SNP in the constituency vote, will now always work against the SNP. Yet, Stewart McDonald is right. The SNP strategy in 2011 has been the only one that has worked, and it has won an SNP majority. It can win that majority again – theoretically, at least.
Conclusion: a single party dominating the Scottish parliament is a mathematical impossibility, it cannot be done. This of course applies, mutatis mutandis, to a single pro-independence party dominating the Scottish parliament so as to stop anything like the 1918 Dáil Éireann election result from happening again; when Sinn Féin took 73 (that is 76.7 percent) of the available 105 Dáil seats. Granted, however, this system was not designed with a view to penalising the SNP in particular.
Yet, the SNP campaign of 2012-14 was itself the product of change. On the eve of devolution, in the 1997 general election, Salmond’s SNP won a paltry six seats. It made no impact on the major population centres of the central belt, had no appeal to the socialist heart of Scotland, and failed to attract meaningful numbers from the country’s minority populations. At that election the SNP felt the full force of a New Labour landslide that swept across the whole of the United Kingdom and brought us the painful disappointment that was Tony Blair.
Saturday is important here because on Saturday a small group of concerned Scottish people went to the border and held up a banner to traffic coming north over the border reading: ‘STAYCATION – KEEP SCOTLAND COVID FREE.’ Not a word of a lie, this is true. It’s all over the internet. Look it up. And almost immediately members of the Scottish government – MSPs and MPs – reacted. And what a reaction! Scotland’s Justice Minister, Humza Yousaf, a man touted by many to be the next First Minister and leader of the Scottish National Party – Scotland’s pro-independence party...
What Pete Wishart is making here, especially when he writes about taking away ‘the whole democratic case of withholding a referendum’ by winning another majority, is a moral argument – and a good moral argument, but a moral argument nonetheless. Absolutely, a democratic majority would morally require the British government to do the right thing. Historically speaking and as our own experience of the British government since 2012 tells us, Britain and ‘the right thing’ seldom appear in the same sentence. As Rob Johns, Professor in Politics at the University of Essex...
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.
Behind this propaganda front, behind the open door between a compromised media and the state security services, is active intelligence – the spooks. Britain makes a habit of knowing its enemies, and the SNP is an enemy of the British state. We know MI5 surveilled and infiltrated groups of environmentalists and tiny Trotskyist political parties. So, to think for a moment the SNP is not under constant and intrusive close surveillance is just plain stupidity. It can be taken for granted that every single text sent by SNP politicians is seen by someone in British Intelligence.
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.