Independence or not…

Nicola & PatrickI’m intrigued by this suggestion from Lesley Riddoch.  Is it possible?  Can the SNP and Scottish Green Party have some kind of joint manifesto?

Personally, I remain unconvinced, not out of spite or hatred for either party, far from it.  No, my doubt is there because I wonder what reaction this would get from the supporters of both.

The only question that both sets of supporters need to ask, in my opinion, is this: Do we really want independence?  If the answer is an unequivocal ‘yes’, then there really is only one choice and this is for both sets to vote for the SNP.  In a WM general election the Green vote can only succeed in splitting the votes for pro-independence candidates.

Now, this may not serve democracy, in that choice is being limited, but should the Scottish Green Party sit this one out and urge their supporters to vote for the SNP?  There are calls from Unionists for a Labour/LibDem/Tory attack on the SNP.  To me, every single supporter of independence needs to support the SNP at this one general election.  The ends will justify the means.

So, do they want independence?  Yes or no?

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Anything is possible

My first instinct is to regard Lesley Riddoch’s suggestion as a political non-starter. Two parties – SNP and Scottish Greens – sharing a manifesto, or even part of one, seems like just too much of a departure from normal politics to be feasible.

But then I think of all the other things that seemed impossible. The reconvening of Scottish Parliament. An SNP majority at Holyrood. Securing and independence referendum. The almost miraculous phenomenon of the Yes movement. The SNP landslide of 2015. Three successive pro-independence administrations in Scotland. All of these things were impossible… until we did them.

And that is the point. We did all this. We, the people of Scotland, have done impossible things. Doing the impossible has become almost commonplace for us. So why not the seemingly unachievable development of the kind of inter-party cooperation Lesley speaks of?

The SNP didn’t drag us along on its quest for political power. We pushed the SNP to the vanguard of our quest for independence.

This too will be an achievement of the people of Scotland. We have to play our part. Both parties, but particularly the SNP, need to feel absolutely confident of our support. There has to be a general acceptance that the SNP is the de facto political arm of the independence movement and that, by simple force of arithmetic, the Greens have a role which is, in a strictly arithmetical sense, subsidiary to the SNP.

Given a sufficient level of commitment and goodwill on the part of the electorate, and a certain boldness on the part of the parties concerned, a transformative pact between the SNP and the Greens may actually happen. And Scotland will have taken another step on the road to independence and the better nation to which we aspire.

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Now is the time!

James Kelly makes a very important point. The SNP – and by an association that no sane, sober and sensible person will now deny, Scotland’s independence movement – must win decisively. The British nationalists, on the other hand, need only some small thing which can be spun by the media as a ‘blow to Nicola Sturgeon’.

But there is a possible advantage in this for the SNP and the Yes movement in that the situation is very easy to understand and convey to the public. It should be fairly easy to impress upon voters the absolute and urgent necessity of setting aside other considerations and voting for the SNP.

The corollary of this, of course, is that they alternative must be clearly spelled out. People must be made aware of what lies in store for Scotland should the British political establishment be able to claim victory over the SNP. Or should they be presented with even the tiniest blip in the party’s electoral performance which can be amplified into a crushing defeat and a major setback for the ‘separatists’.

In the first referendum campaign, The Yes movement became obsessed with being ‘positive’. So much so that many opportunities to attack the anti-independence propaganda were missed. We cannot afford to let that happen again.

Independence must be won from within the British state. Which means that it must be won using the methods that are effective in the context of the British political system. A system which over many years has evolved defences against democratic dissent such as might threaten the structures of power, privilege and patronage which define the British state.

Scotland will break free of the British state only when the people decide to deploy the brute force of an unchallengeable mandate.

The good news is that we only have to win once. The forces of British nationalism have to win every minute of every day. And they are weak.

Now is the time!

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Now the gloves are off…

Theresa MayBloody hell, I take a few days off for Easter, and missed being able to comment on the great Holyrood boycott from Ruth and her mates.  Ruth Davidson supporting the absolutely ghastly and inhumane rape clause.  Then today, St Theresa of May, she of the ‘we are all as one‘ Party has gone and called a General Election in June.

Down here, in the office, they reckon that May has pulled a blinder and that this will neutralise the SNP in Scotland.  Naturally…I disagree.

In a very short space of time, the people of Scotland need to answer just one question:  what kind of country do I want Scotland to be?

If you are happy to be isolated in the world and tied like some third-rate appendage to England, then vote to stay in the UK.

If however, you want to live in: a forward looking, inclusive, progressive and modern country that makes its own decisions, then it has to be the SNP or the Green Party.

That’s it, it’s that simple.

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Malicious flouncing

Exactly what does Ruth Davidson hope to achieve by her threatened boycott of Holyrood? There is no quorum for proceedings in the Scottish Parliament. So it’s hard to see how the Tories would be missed. It’s not as if they ever make any worthwhile contributions to those proceedings.

It could be that Davidson has reason to expect that the other British parties will follow the Queen of the British Nationalists as she flounces out of the chamber. Again! So what? They are no better than the Tories and their absence would be more likely to enhance Holyrood than diminish it.

Of course, having walked away from their ‘day job’ in a fit of pique, the British parties could then question the legitimacy of any measures passed by the Scottish Parliament. Once again! So what? They spend all their time trying to deny the legitimacy of Scotland’s democratic institutions anyway. Doing so from outside the chamber can hardly be more effective than doing it from inside.

It would be grossly hypocritical of them to complain about the Scottish Parliament not being properly representative when it is they who are making it so by refusing to attend. But when were the British parties ever troubled by such hypocrisy?

There is one possible purpose for the Tories, and possibly the other British parties, abandoning Holyrood. One of the things that the British establishment finds particularly disconcerting is the fact that Holyrood has almost entirely supplanted Westminster as the locus of Scottish politics. If all the British parties are outside, then this would give the BBC and the rest of the unionist media an excuse to ignore the Scottish Parliament in favour of this cabal of British nationalist ‘rebels’.

British nationalists have decided that, if they can’t control the Scottish Parliament, then they must destroy it. Taking media attention away from Holyrood would be just one more part of this malicious effort.

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Let’s stop the victimisation

In an otherwise excellent article, Iain Macwhirter gets himself a little bit tied in knots with his assertion that “eventually Nicola Sturgeon is going to have to decide whether she gives priority to compensating rape victims with children”.

In the first place, there is no reason at all that the First Minister should come under any pressure from the electorate to mitigate the British Government’s vicious assault against the economically powerless. People aren’t stupid. They understand that the Scottish Government cannot possibly palliate every such onslaught. It is simply not economically feasible. Besides which, mitigation only encourages further measures aimed at penalising the poor and the vulnerable in the name of Tory austerity.

People also understand that demands for mitigation from the British parties are motivated, not by the slightest concern for the victims of British Government policy, by by naked political opportunism. As Ruth Davidson has amply demonstrated over the rape clause, British nationalists are capable of extraordinary moral contortions and unconscionable hypocrisy when driven by their dogma of ‘The Union At Any Cost!’.

Macwhirter also shows his confusion when referring to Nicola Sturgeon being urged to compensate rape victims with children. In fact, that is what the rape clause is intended to do. It’s purpose is to exempt children ‘conceived without consent’ from a policy which excludes all third and subsequent children from the state support considered necessary for the first two children.

Abhorrent as it may be to discriminate against innocent children in this way, this is as nothing to the gross inhumanity of forcing women to ‘prove’ that their child was born of rape.

Even writing those words soils my soul.

What Iain Macwhirter meant to say, I’m sure, is that Nicola Sturgeon is going to have to decide whether she gives priority to compensating victims of British Government policy. But that is a project without end which would require similarly infinite resources.

The only solution is to rid ourselves of this British nationalist regime entirely and forever. We need to bring our government home.

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Turning the tables on the Tories

I fully appreciate what Mhairi Black is saying here. I totally understand her reasons for urging us not to use our votes in the council elections as a plebiscite on a new independence referendum. There’s only one problem with this. We don’t have a choice.

The British parties have already hijacked the local elections as part of their anti-independence campaign. They have turned these elections into, not only a vote on #ScotRef, but a vote of confidence in the First Minister. And there is nothing we can do to stop them.

The harsh reality is that the local elections were always going to be exploited by the British nationalists. In terms of political strategy, it’s the obvious thing to do. It would be extraordinary if they passed up such an opportunity. The only slightly surprising thing is that they are being so explicit about it. The reasonable expectation was that they would campaign on the constitutional issue as subtly as they could and wait until the results were in before having their friends in the media ‘interpret’ even the smallest blip in support for the SNP as a ‘devastating blow’ to Nicola Sturgeon and a ‘major setback’ for the independence cause. But they have opted to be totally upfront about it. Why?

My guess would be that they realised they weren’t going to be able to conceal or even disguise what they were doing. They would be obliged to push the anti-SNP line so hard that it would be ridiculous to deny it. So they chose to brazen it out, knowing that the power of the media would make it impossible to counter their effort to commandeer the council election for their own purposes.

But we should note two things. Firstly, this is a risky strategy for the British parties. They are relying absolutely on being able to reduce the overall vote for the SNP and other pro-independence parties. Should they fail in this having effectively declared it a vote of confidence in Nicola Sturgeon the whole thing backfires majestically.

The other thing to note is that we can actually exploit this situation ourselves. We can confidently assure people that giving their first preference votes to the SNP serves the dual purpose of turning the British parties’ ploy against them whilst also electing to their local council the candidates who will serve them best.

So long as they can call on the power of the mainstream media, it is unrealistic to suppose we can stop the British nationalists hijacking the local elections. But by doggedly campaigning on local issues while also encouraging people to give the Tories et al a bloody nose, we might very well turn the situation to our advantage.

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All monies received are used in furtherance of the campaign
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