What is "Plan A"? It's the idea that if you just ask for a Section 30 order persistently enough, it will be impossible for the Westminster government to say no. Well, that's been proved wrong. Twice. Theresa May said no, and Boris Johnson said no. There's every indication that even if we twiddle our thumbs for the next four years and wait for a Labour government that might never actually arrive, Sir Keir Starmer would then say no anyway. It's unclear why "Plan A" fans are so convinced that a strategy that has so conspicuously failed to work for several years will suddenly start working if we wish hard enough, but if they do believe that, the onus is on them to supply some proof that they're not asking us to flog a dead horse for another few years. The onus is most certainly not on those who make the eminently reasonable point that a failed strategy must be replaced - and that if you don't replace it, you don't believe in independence in any meaningful sense.
And that's the nub of the issue, isn't it? "Plan A" diehards demand to be shown absolute certainty that "Plan B" will lead to independence, but the reality is that "Plan B" would be demonstrably superior to "Plan A" even if it only has a chance of delivering indy. There is no such chance with "Plan A", which requires the Scottish Government to take no further action when the Westminster veto is deployed. If anyone can explain to us how quite literally doing nothing can lead us to our objective, I'm sure we're all ears.
But you'll search in vain for any answers of that sort in Pete Wishart's latest blogpost (which like all his previous ones he'll inevitably describe as "the blog that everyone is talking about!"). His lack of self-awareness is truly astounding - he sneers at the idea that, having refused a referendum, the UK government will accept an election result as a mandate for independence. And yet Pete's own implicit argument is that, having refused a referendum, the UK government will suddenly do a U-turn and grant a referendum because of opinion polls showing that Scots aren't happy. In other words, Boris Johnson will be far more impressed by opinion polls than by election results. Oh-kaaaaay, Pete. Best of luck with that one.
Back in the real world, it's the obvious fact that election results are harder to ignore than opinion polls that gives "Plan B" a realistic chance of gaining some traction. I'm not necessarily claiming that it would "work" in the sense of forcing London to negotiate an independence settlement straight away, although I do think that's possible if the mandate is strong enough. But at the very least I think that a crisis of legitimacy would be created, and that the UK government might end up at the negotiating table to resolve it. That could, for example, lead to an agreed referendum.
Pete asserts that "Plan B" could take us into a Catalan-style "hellish limbo". But let's turn that on its head for a moment and imagine what would have happened if the Catalans had adopted the "Scottish model" of asking politely for a referendum and then taking no as a valid answer. It's not hard to work out: nothing would have happened. Madrid would have said no, Barcelona would have said "that's fine", and Catalonia would currently be living through precisely the kind of "hellish limbo" that Scotland is living through. What exactly is your point here, Pete?
Oh, and I must just address a very silly straw man from Pete's blogpost -
"[Plan B] would therefore mean that the 2021 election ceases to be a General Election in the conventional sense and instead becomes a single issue plebiscite exclusively on the proposition that if the SNP secures a majority we move towards becoming an independent state. If it was to happen there would be no programme for Government, no defence of a record in power, just a straight forward one issue independence question."
Absolute rubbish. To gain a credible mandate, independence would have to be Item 1 in the manifesto, but there would be lots of other items as well. Independence would take months or years to negotiate, and no party putting itself forward for government for such a long period would ever present the electorate with a blank sheet of paper. So, no, it wouldn't be a single-issue election - merely one in which the independence issue is predominant.
Everyone else in Scotland: "But, Pete, we're already in a hellish limbo. How would we actually tell the difference?"— James Kelly (@JamesKelly) June 21, 2020
Pete Wishart: "It's the blog that everyone's talking about!"https://t.co/rrtyX28GGc
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Yesterday, Iain Macwhirter gave Nicola Sturgeon what was quite possibly the worst piece of advice she's ever received. He told her to just "go with the flow" and abandon the 2 metre rule if that's what England decides to do. Has he learned no lessons at all from the catastrophe of March? How many more thousands of innocents must die because some people seem to perversely think that the purpose of devolution is to obediently rubberstamp decisions made in London?
I was trying to work out what Iain's tweet reminded me of, and I suddenly realised it was the philosophy of passivity put forward by a rather sinister rabbit in Watership Down -
"Take me with you, wind, high over the sky. I will go with you, I will be rabbit-of-the-wind...
Take me with you, stream, away in the starlight. I will go with you, I will be rabbit-of-the-stream..."
My hope and expectation is that the Scottish Government have well and truly learnt the lesson from March that "going with the flow" kills people by the thousand. Let's follow the science instead.https://t.co/cNNL7Oc4do— James Kelly (@JamesKelly) June 21, 2020
Unless you've been told by a Scottish Govt source that Scotland will be adopting the rule change on Tuesday (unlikely given the mood music), the use of "UK" in this tweet and headline is irresponsible, and increases the risk of people breaking the rules.https://t.co/n05ZNPDn5k— James Kelly (@JamesKelly) June 21, 2020