Tuesday, December 28, 2021

What Would Jeggit Do?

For those of you who still wear your WWJD bracelets, you need wonder no longer, because the great man's latest blogpost leaves little doubt that the answer to the question is: give up, throw in the towel.  In fact, Jeggit isn't just giving up on independence for the fabled "generation", but for two generations, judging from his comment about how our grandchildren might yet get it right.

Does Jeggit have a point? Short answer: no.  If the independence cause was as dead as he seems to believe, Scotland would look very different from how it does today.  It would look, in short, like the Scotland of twenty years ago.  There would be a unionist coalition government at Holyrood, with no indication in the opinion polls of a pro-independence alternative being viable.  The SNP would have only a tiny handful of seats in the House of Commons.  Support for independence would be in the doldrums.  All of those things could very well happen again at some point in the future, but for the time being there's absolutely no sign of it.

Instead, what do we have? A majority pro-independence SNP-Green government, which would almost certainly be re-elected if there was an election tomorrow.  Pro-independence parties (the SNP, Alba and Margaret Ferrier) have over 80% of the Scottish seats in the Commons, and that situation might actually improve if there was a fresh election.  And support for independence stands at either 50% or 55%, depending on which of the two most recent polls you believe.  We are, in a nutshell, in a phenomenally strong position.  We have the means to bring about a vote on independence, and we have a realistic chance of winning that vote if it occurs.

There is, admittedly, a practical problem.  Our pro-independence government has been hijacked by an SNP leadership faction that probably still believes in independence in principle, but is far more preoccupied with sustaining itself in power.  If, as a by-product of staying in power, independence was somehow to magically fall into these people's laps, they would be happy enough about it.  But they're certainly not going to take any risks to make it happen.  And in the real world, independence can't and won't happen without risks being taken.

But this is a practical problem with a practical solution.  A useful comparison is the ban on fox-hunting in England, which was brought in under the Blair government.  Labour were elected on a commitment to legislate for a ban, but the leadership had no intention of actually doing anything about it because they didn't want to offend small 'c' conservatives in the countryside.  In the end, though, the Labour grass-roots and backbench MPs piled on enough pressure that the leadership realised they would pay too high a price by failing to act.

So the task for all of us is to make the SNP leadership realise that they will pay heavily if they fail to honour their promise of holding a referendum in 2023.  That pressure can come from within the SNP, or from outside via support for Alba.  Jeggit, however, insists that Alba will never command majority support in Scotland for as long as it holds its current position on the trans issue.  That's odd on two counts: firstly, opinion polls convincingly show that Alba's position on the trans issue is shared by the majority of the population, while Jeggit's position is shared by a relatively modest minority.  And secondly, Alba don't actually need to command a majority anyway - they just need 5-10% of the vote to force the SNP to think about what it would take to win those voters back.  And we all know what it would take - genuine action on independence.

10 comments:

  1. That's it in a nutshell James, and that's why I'll be voting Alba in future, after a lifetime of voting SNP.

    I am slightly more generous in my interpretation of the SNP leadership's motives however. I think they would seriously press for a referendum but only if they thought it was absolutely in the bag. As I've explained before however, that ain't gonna happen, and I don't think the current leadership have the guts to try anything more radical.

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    1. The real problem with the current SNP is that they are doing nothing to advance independence with the wider yes movement. I understand them not wanting to push for a referendum or something else more radical because the poles are not consistently at 60+% but they are doing nothing to get us there. They are actually loosing members and support because of their policies.

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  2. I haven't given up on Scotland's Cause.

    However, I did give up on Jeggit some while back after he took such a belligerent stance on the transgender issue. His opinion essentially, is that there is 'no debate' to be had on the matter. If even mildly questioned on this his reaction is to aggressively denounce his perceived critic as a 'transphobe', much like the more extreme of the SNP youth wings.

    Well, there is a debate to be had. An honest and fair one in which opinions should be explained, listened to and discussed. From the results of the various recent opinion polls and surveys on the subject I feel confident that it does appear that Jeggit is on the wrong side of this debate.

    Regarding the SNP they, or at least the leadership and top hierarchy, appear to have reached some kind of tacit agreement with the Westminster government. They can fashion Scotland however they like under devolution as long as they don't pursue the restoration of our Scotland's statehood. So the SNP are free, and delighted it would seem, to pursue GRA reform, Hate Crime Bill, assessment of jury free trials for some serious crimes etc. whilst their raison d'être of independence is pushed way down the totem pole of priorities.

    At some stage the SNP will come a cropper for their demotion of the importance of the constitutional issue, their pursuit of GRA reform and their authoritarian stance on justice generally.

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  3. "Our pro-independence government has been hijacked by an SNP leadership faction that probably still believes in independence in principle, but is far more preoccupied with sustaining itself in power. If, as a by-product of staying in power, independence was somehow to magically fall into these people's laps, they would be happy enough about it."

    In a way I think it is more complex than that. The SNP must know that there will ultimately be a substantial political realignment in an independent Scotland. It may not be immediately after a Yes vote or even immediately after independence is formally obtained. But at some point in a settled indy Scotland, if the SNP has actually achieved its raison d'etre then the party itself will ultimately change whether it likes it or not.

    If it is genuinely a "broad church" for indy supporters now then it will probably split in different ways. Other new parties or altered forms of existing parties are also likely to appear. Scottish elections will be different in tone, not split by Yes/No but by the electorate considering left/right and/or individual or groups of policies and different visions of the country post-independence.

    If the SNP is more pre-occupied by staying in power it seems likely to me that they would have already concluded internally that one of the biggest risks to actually maintaining that power would be independence itself.

    I'm not saying that automatically means they will rule out attempting to go for independence, but this to me is why the SNP are so happy with the status quo. They have effective domination of the political landscape here now as it is by dint of control of the Yes vote, essentially getting to largely do what they want within the terms of devolution, sending plenty of MPS to Westminster with the short money that results in, and whenever any criticism comes their way they can just wave an elbow at the Tories and mumble something about the current constitutional settlement.

    They must be asking themselves why they would want to give that cosy situation up for an indyref that would, on current polls, be a coin toss (with an uncertain future for the politicians involved should Yes lose again) and, even if Yes win, another uncertain future in whatever the longer-term Scottish party political situation looks like post-indy.

    The obvious answer to why they can't let themselves get too cosy like that is that electorates ultimately get bored with the same party in power for long periods of time.

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    1. In normal democracies, yes, voters typically get tired of prolonged one party rule. Though (until cheese and wine-gate) Tory England and Merkel’s Germany provide counter examples. And Labour Scotland faithfully lasted from the 1950s till a final gasp in 2010. Scots can oppose the Tories while still voting for the same Scottish government again and again. I see no obvious endpoint for this. Not with the current parties and UK dynamic.

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    2. For the avoidance of doubt, this is John Muir's first attempt to post a comment on Scot Goes Pop since 5th November. I remain utterly baffled as to why you posted a comment on Wee Ginger Dug a couple of weeks ago that you claimed I had "nixed'. There are plenty enough comments that I do "nix", but that wasn't one of them.

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  4. The SNP wants us to vote for them but when we do they obfuscate on independence and have the nerve to demand we do the campaigning for them. When will they recognize the people of Scotland are desperate for strong, confident leadership on independence?

    The SNP must find the guts to lead! When they do the people will follow.

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  5. Jeggit? who is he? really I don't know who your talking about can someone please explain?

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  6. Jeggit is an Indy blogger based in Dublin. He was always a rather pretentious 'intellectual type' but in recent weeks has undergone some kind of meltdown with his support for the trans rights brigade. Best avoided these days really.

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  7. good to know, cheers for the info.

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