We're invited to believe that the SNP under the new regime are preocuppied with one over-riding question: how do we get independence over the winning line? To which their answer appears to be: "move the winning line as far away as possible, ideally to Mars". I said a few weeks ago that if Humza Yousaf was arguing that the simple majority defined as the winning line in the 2014 referendum was no longer enough in the SNPs opinion for Scotland to become an independent country, then we needed the new supermajority target to be explicitly defined, so there couldn't be constant shifting of the goalposts no matter how high Yes support rises. Someone on Twitter disagreed with me, suggesting that if the SNP were stupid enough to publicly set a 60% target, that could prove to be as big a hostage to fortune as the "once in a generation" line. Well, for better or worse, Mairi McAllan has gone and done it - she said on Question Time the other night that 55-60% support was required if we're ever going to get anywhere, and as far as I'm aware that's the first time anyone speaking on behalf of the SNP has ever gone on record with the barking mad and utterly unattainable 60% figure (although it's occasionally been rumoured for years as an unofficial target). On balance I think Ms McAllan has done us all a favour, because it's shocked quite a few people who were previously "giving Humza a chance" into realising that he's not remotely serious about winning independence in any circumstances that will ever exist in the real world, and that his departure as leader is thus highly likely to be a prerequisite for independence.
Even worse, of course, Ms McAllan was not even talking about 55-60% support in official votes at the ballot box but instead in opinion polls, which effectively contracts out any exercise of Scotland's right to self-determination to mostly London-based opinion polling firms, many of which have a track record of either conscious or subconscious bias against Scottish independence. It's quite a shock to the system to realise that when Adam Tomkins used to lecture the SNP on how it needed to stop trying to win independence via a simple majority at the ballot box, and instead concentrate on building up a sustained supermajority in YouGov polls, the Yousaf faction weren't furious at the anti-democratic outrage they were being confronted with, but were actually saying "GREAT POINT, ADAM" and enthusiastically taking notes.
There's been a lot of talk recently about a Code of Conduct that anyone who wants to be part of the officially recognised independence movement must adhere to. In my view, any such Code should consist of the following three main points -
1) Everyone must accept the principle of democratic self-determination, ie. that a simple majority of 50% + 1 is sufficient for Scotland to become an independent country. If you think that Scotland should be forced to remain in the UK if 59% support independence and only 41% oppose it, then it's debatable whether you even believe in independence at all, but you most certainly don't believe in democratic self-determination, which is supposed to be the cornerstone of civic nationalism.
2) Everyone must accept that democracy and Scottish democratic self-determination happens at the ballot box, not via YouGov polls. (For people who keep chucking around the largely meaningless phrase "legally-binding", answer me this: what the hell is legally binding about a YouGov poll? Since when did YouGov become part of the constitution?)
3) Everyone must accept that independence is not less important than other unrelated issues, and that differing views on those other issues are thus no bar to inclusion within the movement. Of course there are a few exceptions to that general rule - nobody should be expected to work with far-right extremists, even if they support independence. But where views are mainstream, are legitimately held by a significant section of the population, and are deemed by the courts to be "worthy of respect within a democratic society" (most obviously gender critical views), there should be no question whatsoever of anyone being excluded on that basis.
* * *
I launched the Scot Goes Pop fundraiser for 2023
a couple of weeks ago, and the running total has now passed £1200. The target figure is £8500, however, so there's still quite some distance to travel. If you'd like to help Scot Goes Pop continue by making a donation, please click HERE
. Many thanks to everyone who has donated so far.