Thursday, November 22, 2018

Putting a second indyref on pause for the last eighteen months may yet prove to have been beneficial, but only if that pause ends soon

Robin McAlpine has another article over at CommonSpace in which he castigates the leadership of "the movement" (by which he presumably means Nicola Sturgeon and her colleagues) for inaction on an independence referendum, and for potentially letting a historic opportunity slip by.  I'm trying to work out how much of it I agree with.  There's one small part that I definitely disagree with, because it's factually inaccurate - Robin claims that it's been almost two years since an opinion poll last pointed to a pro-independence majority at Holyrood, but that's categorically not true.  A Survation poll as recently as July suggested that the SNP and Greens between them would have a fairly comfortable majority.  Obviously there are a number of different projection models, but there was another poll as recently as last month that might just about have translated into a pro-indy majority.  It's true that most recent polls have suggested the SNP and Greens would fall short, but not all that far short, and there are still two and a half years to go until the next election anyway.

I'm also inclined to disagree with Robin's call for the development of a detailed prospectus for independence.  Clearly the public need to be inspired by the possibilities of independence, but what we shouldn't do is require "the movement" to monolithically support something that closely resembles a party political manifesto for a post-indy election.  There needs to be space for centrist or centre-right indy supporters to say that they hope to take Scotland in a very different direction from the one Robin McAlpine has in mind.  For similar reasons, I'm agnostic about Robin's calls for the SNP to abandon the Growth Commission report, which is very much a radical left preoccupation.

But on the main thrust of the article, I'm just not sure.  As the old joke about the French Revolution goes, it's probably too early to tell. 

In the immediate aftermath of last year's general election, I was extremely worried that the SNP leadership might have lost their heads (over what was, after all, a clear victory), and were about to make a terrible mistake by putting an independence referendum on the backburner as a sop to voters in the minority of seats that were now held by the Tories.  I wrote blogpost after blogpost urging that the triple-lock mandate for a pre-2021 referendum should be honoured, and at one point I was even quoted in the Financial Times with words to that effect.  That attracted the anger of a number of fellow SNP members who loudly told me, in defiance of quite a bit of publicly-available evidence, that the leadership's position was absolutely unchanged.  "Just trust Nicola" was a common refrain.  When the new policy was eventually revealed, it of course turned out that there had been a significant shift, but I nevertheless breathed a huge sigh of relief.  I didn't personally agree with an eighteen month pause in the plans for a referendum, but as long as we were still headed towards the same destination, that was all that mattered.  And I could see that there was a plausible argument that voters would in the long run be more accepting of a second indyref if the SNP had spent a decent period of time concentrating on securing the least worst Brexit for the whole UK, and had been seen to fail in spite of their very best endeavours.

But of course everything hinges on the assumption that the SNP leadership were being honest that this attempt to improve Brexit is strictly time-limited, will come to an end soon and will give way to a renewed all-out push for independence.  If that's what happens, the delay could well have been beneficial and Robin will be proved wrong.  But if the pause was instead a cover story for the beginning of an indefinite delay and for the SNP's gradual transformation into a primarily anti-Brexit party, then Robin is right and those who "trusted Nicola" made a mistake.  I genuinely don't know which way it's going to go, but I still very much live in hope.

One thing Robin is undoubtedly right about is that it's not good enough for the leadership to say to the rank-and-file: "stop thinking and talking about process, just leave all of that to us, we know what we're doing, and you don't need to know what we're planning".  I am inclined to trust Nicola Sturgeon, but at the end of the day those of us who are members of the SNP joined because we believe in Scottish independence, and not because of a quasi-religious belief in the infallibility of one person.

*  *  *

39 comments:

  1. He is behaving like a wee Pol Pot over this.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. GWC AKA The Hon. Cordelia Bracely-Dubois of the 77th (Manky Shirt, Self Funded) Auxiliaries and its ultra-right-wing screams.
      Poor, tormented, xenophobic Cordelia.
      So much impotent rage.
      So very funny.

      Delete
    2. Anon, wrong again ya pea brain.

      Delete
    3. Peas and beans, legumes we call them in French... Those carefree days we enjoyed at the hotel by the Canal du Midi on those long, rustic summers of youth. Walking to the shop for legumes along that dusty path with Laurent and his sister, Regine. Mummy's attempts at cassoulet. Mme Panoyse's polite approbation. The first stirrings of youthful romance at the fair. Happy days. Then Mummy met the owner of Le Moulin des Gris and it all came crashing down.
      So please, GWC2, do not talk jocularly of the humble pea.

      Delete
  2. Feels like Commonspace is trying to hive off the impatient, frustrated elements in mainstream Yes support to increase their numbers, because they know they will never achieve anything via the ballot box for their prospectus.

    I'm always waiting for the left-wing of the independence movement to actually start being actively damaging instead of just threatening it, and I worry that Robin's tactic could pay off (and help fragment yes support).

    Agreed about the detailed prospectus for independence - we need to ignore Robin et al hopping up and down about the Growth Commission being awful and aim for middle of the road potential No-to-Yes switchers.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Over wan million Jocks voted to leave the corrupt Mafia EU. That means we still have the making of a decent society and the corrupt crawlin Nat sis have a fight on their hands.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mair jocks voted tae leave the corrupt UK.

      1.6 m votes to leave the UK. Just 1.0 m to leave the EU. That's 1.6 x as many wantin oot the UK.

      62% Yes for the EU but only 55% for the UK. The prefered union is clear for all to see. The people have spoken and the EU is more popular than the UK in jockland.

      Delete
    2. Fake news, playmate. Nice try, but untrue.

      Delete
    3. The sheer desperation shown by skier who claims to be from British NI and threatens to move to ROI. The EU vote was an all British vote. The sooner you leave the better as it will be, one less vote for Sinn Fein IRA.

      Delete
    4. GWC AKA The Hon. Cordelia Bracely-Dubois of the 77th (Manky Shirt, Self Funded) Auxiliaries and its ultra-right-wing screams.
      Poor, tormented, xenophobic Cordelia.
      So much impotent rage.
      So very funny.

      Delete
  4. I am pretty sure that the major reason why the FM and the "leadership" are being so cagey about their plans is that they want to give Theresa May her own back by playing their cards close to their chests. If you're in a fight with someone, you try not to signal your moves...

    The thing is, whether you have confidence in the FM's judgement or not, the "leadership" is well aware of the currents of opinion within the SNP in particular and within the wider society in general - how could they not be? Their fingers are very much on the pulse.

    Just as a by-the-way: I haven't seen it mentioned elsewhere, but post-independence there will undoubtedly be some movement of diehard Unionists down to the rUK, including the more Unionist parts of Northern Ireland; not many, I'd wager, and far fewer than the number of those who keep threatening to up sticks and flounce off.

    I would expect that particular mini-exodus to be more than outweighed by the certain influx of returning Scots - Lady Moan not among them, hopefully - and also more EU nationals, returning new Scots and new new Scots, once we are seen to ditch and denounce Ms. May's "hostile environment" for the unlawful moral outrage it is, and very evidently respect and welcome all people within our jurisdiction as equals.

    To put that another way, there will be approximately zero chance of popular sentiment moving in favour of returning to the Union - particularly if the Government of an independent Scotland exercises a reasonable degree of control over foreign ownership of Scottish media outlets - which is not at all to say that the people of Scotland should be denied access to media from outwith Scotland, because we should welcome as many sources of information as we can - except when they contain hate speech.

    ReplyDelete
  5. There's no doubt that some degree of faith is being asked for, from the Indy front. At such a sensitive time, Robin MacAlpine plays the "doubt" card?? I would think, that, it is a bit OTT to think that the decision of how and when, is down to one person in the SNP leadership, namely Nicola Sturgeon. However, she has never withdrawn from the insistence of "clarity" first. Also, Commonspace had misreported that the SNP have hinted a new mandate required for a Referendum. She was explaining that it may be necessary to use an Election as a Referendum. I would also assume, that the stirring of the proverbial, is meant to weaken the resolve. We are just not going to know, until it happens. Hopefully the waiting game is near the end.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Moi, je te desire aussi, ma belle. Maintenant.

      Delete
    2. I like pouring olive oil over my pants.

      Delete
  6. I think Robin McAlpine is industrious and well-meaning. Perhaps I should say no more than that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think Anna Karenina is a silly tart. Perhaps I should say no more than that, implying I have something so impart that is ever so naughty or knowing. Maybe I should just say "I am a dopey twat but fancy notions".

      Delete
  7. For the last 2 months from Pete Wishart, Philippa Whitford and the First Minister and others. Have been saying that the Time to campaign is now! Why exhort both the SNP and Yessers to expend energy campaigning, if there is no need. It would only cause disillusionment. for activists and a collapse of the independence movement.

    ReplyDelete
  8. James, you have summed up my feelings on the SNP position and strategy up till now exactly, thank you. I live in hope too but my patience is running thin. It's got to happen soon I believe. meanwhile I'll keep supporting them.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Nicola Sturgeon is doing exactly the right thing, and I trust her absolutely. Commonspace is a traitorous online magazine.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jimmy Savile was British. Pat Colombes was British. But Agatha Cat is Universal.

      Delete
    2. GWC AKA The Hon. Cordelia Bracely-Dubois of the 77th (Manky Shirt, Self Funded) Auxiliaries and its ultra-right-wing screams.
      Poor, tormented, xenophobic Cordelia.
      So much impotent rage.
      So very funny.

      Delete
  10. Any referendum is a choice between a change and a status quo ante. There is no status quo at present eg if Art 50 is recallable, we might still be EU citizens next All Fool's Day.

    It is pointless to give battle til you know where your opponent is

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree. But my sister-in-law Lauren has been trying to get Desmond Tutu essence for a cake she's making for Tommy's birthday, and they don't seem to stock it around here any more. Could you let me know any stockists in the Rutland area. Many thanks.

      Delete
    2. Try Coco Chanel's shop near the bus station. She used to stock Tutu essence.

      Delete
  11. So, brexit voters say to Spanish people: "We don't want your sort here. You come to Britain, taking our jobs whilst living the high life on benefits and not paying for NHS treatment through taxes like we do. Go back to where you came from! We want to be able to come and live in Spain, taking jobs there, pushing up house prices and putting pressure on medical services as we age; just don't you think about coming here!".

    And unsurprisingly, Spain isn't super friendly when it comes to UK demands to retain access to its / the EU market.

    Anyway, I understand Gibraltar is going to seek a greater degree of Independence from the 'UK family' (that's such a creepy blood and soil term the British nationalists use) so it can effectively stay in the EU union (customs and/or single market) anyway. Just like N. Ireland that would be another bit of the crumbling empire remnants falling off.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Unionists betrayed again. N. Ireland staying 'in', Gibraltar staying 'in'...

    England only too happy to wave goodbye to staunch brits if needed.

    ---

    https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-britain-eu/gibraltar-deal-clears-way-for-sunday-brexit-summit-idUKKCN1NS2DY

    The British government released a letter from the British ambassador to the EU Tim Barrow to the head of Tusk’s secretariat spelling out that Britain would make no presumption that any future EU-UK trade pact would apply to Gibraltar.

    ---

    Presumably a special deal can apply to Scotland too? It could only be anti-Scottish racism if this doesn't happen.

    N. Ireland voted Remain = special deal
    Gibraltar voted Remain = special deal
    Scotland voted Remain = shut up jock scum

    The unionist claim that violence is needed in Scotland to achieve the same deal in as N. Ireland obviously doesn't wash if Gibraltar gets special treatment without that. Clearly all that's required is a distinct legal system with existing autonomous governance. That and me being wrong about anti-scottish racism in Westminster.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Completely agree:

      Ireland - NI must have a special deal
      Spain - Gibraltar must have a special deal

      Both were threatening to stop the Brexit deal if the UK did not give special deals to NI and Gibraltar. Cant see any EU country asking the same for Scotland, clear signs of racism against Scotland in the EU.

      Delete
    2. How can Scots be a race? Man shags wummin an wummin have weans. Are the sperm racist? Scots are such moaners with their hard dun tae stories and it is the country that does university moaning degrees.
      Only in Scotland do you have a 25 hr helpline.

      Delete
    3. Best argument for staying in the EU with free movement I've heard yet Glesga2.

      Brits are nae different tae those across the channel; French Mrs SS is just like us! Hell, English is even a Germanic language!

      Still, in the pub earlier the talk from the all the soft no unionists was why wasn't Scotland getting a special deal like N. Ireland and Gibraltar? Pro-devo folks like Murray Foote and the big Yin saying it was 'racist / anti-Scottish' and they'd be voting Yes next time.

      Certainly, as an indy supporter, it's not me that want's a special deal for Scotland within the UK. I want the feck oot of the UK. A special deal for Scotland would only help tae save the union; why the hell would I want that! The best thing for me is for Westminster to crap on Scottish unionist heads from the greatest height possible. You know, like has been happening to Mundell and co of late. Humiliation after humiliation. Betrayal after betrayal.

      Anyway, I see the N. Irish unionists are turning on the English Tories. Saying they're going to end the coalition over the 'Great British betrayal'. That broken trust can never be repaired. Going to be funny when they take down May and you get an English Corbyn brexit lol; he'll let Scotland have an iref and hand N. Ireland to the republic on a velvet cushion. After all, the Labour sister party is the SDLP!

      Tick tock. :-)

      Delete
    4. skier I am keen tae giv ye inspiration tae tak time aff fae drinkin innat.

      Delete
    5. GWC AKA The Hon. Cordelia Bracely-Dubois of the 77th (Manky Shirt, Self Funded) Auxiliaries and its ultra-right-wing screams.
      Poor, tormented, xenophobic Cordelia.
      So much impotent rage.
      So very funny.

      Delete
  13. Never ceases to amaze me how hardcore unionists seem to think devo and special deals are a nat wheeze, ergo it makes sense to attack them.

    A wee reminder...

    45% voted against devolution in 2014. The devo max supporters are the 29%+ (45%+29% = 74% Yes 1997 = devo max now) on top of that; they voted No / for the UK.

    Indy supporters ultimately don't want more devo nor a special brexit deal for Scotland in the UK, they want Scotland the fk oot of the UK. Staying in the UK is unionist. It's soft unionists that want a devo maxed Scotland in the UK with a special customs union / free market deal.

    So, when the English Tories try to roll back devo and refuse a special deal for jockland when everyone else in the 'UK family' (#bloodandsoil) who voted Remain is getting one, it's Scottish devo unionists being crapped on, not indy supporters.

    I can only conclude that hardcore loyalist unionists are f'n idiots of record-breaking thickness to not realise this. Or maybe, at least in London, because we now have an English government, they're so ignorant of other UK countries that they just don't know what they're doing and, well, don't really care. I mean it’s not as if Tory voters from the leafy shires love the N. Irish unionists back right? No, the latter are like some backward, orange sash wearing, pee smelling old drunks to them.

    Probably a bit of both to be honest. But as a pro-indy supporter, watching Scottish unionists be attacked time and again by the English government really is something incredulous to behold. Can’t say I’m complaining, certainly.

    Remember, we even have Mundell threating to resign 1690 times now! Sure he’s such a pathetic little weed he’d never actually do this, but just take that in. The little shoe shiner is even having is undying love for England shoved back in his face to the point he’s pipsqueaking.

    Things are going really, really badly right now for UK unionism and it’s nothing to do with pro-indy folks. We’re just sitting at the side eating popcorn. In between quietly bringing a few more on side door to door that is.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. To quote a unionist:

      ---

      Andrew Adonis
      @Andrew_Adonis
      15h15 hours ago

      Northern Ireland semi-detatched from the UK. Scotland demanding the same deal as Northern Ireland. Now Spain half way to getting Gibraltar.

      England Alone - destroying both of the democratic unions of which it is a part, the UK and the EU. And for what?

      ---

      And something for pro-indy supporters to remember... Do you think the UK government is really clever and has carefully thought out devious plans to keep Scotland in the UK? That it has been through every line of the laws of the UK nations... of 1997 devo legislation and has loads of cards up its sleeve to slash our hopes and dreams? That it has a rock solid grasp of international law and self determination? That it's in full 'no surrender' more in terms of bits of the UK (like say Gibraltar or N. Ireland) dropping off?

      Just have a look at brexit and dwell on that for a minute.

      The SNP are right to bide their time and wait for just the right moment. England is way to distracted fking things up for itself right now to put up any serious resistance.

      Delete
    2. Where are you lot going to get 2% of GDP for NATO and the annual EU payment to keep the Franco Germans in their lifestyles.

      Delete
    3. GWC AKA The Hon. Cordelia Bracely-Dubois of the 77th (Manky Shirt, Self Funded) Auxiliaries and its ultra-right-wing screams.
      Poor, tormented, xenophobic Cordelia.
      So much impotent rage.
      So very funny.

      Delete
  14. Hey James, "When the new policy was eventually revealed, it of course turned out that there had been a significant shift, but I nevertheless breathed a huge sigh of relief. I didn't personally agree with an eighteen month pause in the plans for a referendum,"

    I have no knowledge of the "new policy" being revealed by the SNP even though I'm a strong Indy supporter. How and when did that happen?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I strongly suspect that's intended as a wind-up contribution, but I'll go through the motions of taking your question seriously. The new policy was announced by Nicola Sturgeon in the Scottish Parliament on 27th June 2017. It was widely reported at the time, and I very much doubt you slept through it.

      Hope this helps.

      Delete
    2. Thank you. And it was not a windup Q.

      Delete
  15. Wish you a very 26 January Happy Republic Day 2019 to all of you. January 26 is our Republic Day. We celebrate this day every year. In 1950, our India became a sovereign democratic republic and it had its own constitution.
    Source: https://www.26januaryhappyrepublicday.in/

    ReplyDelete