Wrong narrative

All of this from Pete Wishart, Tommy Sheppard and others might make some kind of sense if anybody was actually pressing for an immediate second referendum. Or if the Scottish Government’s ability to call another referendum was critically dependent on a manifesto commitment to a specific timetable. Or even if talk of a “once in a generation” undertaking wasn’t the vacuous nonsense that it is. Inexplicably, these people are allowing the British establishment to dictate the narrative. And I suspect I am not alone in being both disappointed and thoroughly pissed off.

Let’s deal with the most obvious fallacy first. I am, frankly, appalled that a politician with Pete Wishart’s experience should make a statement to the effect that the SNP had committed to an independence referendum being a “once in a generation” event. I can only assume that he’s read this so often in the British press that, like so many others, he has been duped into accepting it as fact. But, not only was no such undertaking ever given by the party, it would be utterly meaningless even if it had. As Nicola Sturgeon has very firmly pointed out, the whether and when of a second referendum is entirely a matter for the people of Scotland. We tell the politicians. They don’t tell us. Individual politicians may offer their personal opinions on the matter, but only the people of Scotland have the legitimate authority to decide.

Pete Wishart needs to pay closer attention to what his boss is saying.

But that is not the only aspect of the unionist narrative that is being echoed by SNP politicians who really should know better. The idea that the manifesto must contain a detailed commitment to a second referendum in order for that to be possible is every bit as fallacious as the “once in a generation” nonsense. The wrong-headedness of it is exposed by a set of simple logical statements.




Absent a manifesto statement explicitly ruling out a referendum in the period of the next parliament, commitment to the principle of a referendum is absolutely implied.

And there is going to be no such ruling out of a referendum. Again, Mr Wishart and his colleagues need to listen to the party’s leader.

Our manifesto will set out what we consider are the circumstances and the timescale on which a second referendum might be appropriate, but we can only propose.

It’s then for people in Scotland, whether it is in this election or in future elections, to decide whether they want to vote for our manifesto and then if there is in the future another independence referendum, whether that’s in five years or ten years or whenever, it will be down to the people of Scotland to decide whether they want to vote for independence or not.

So at every single stage this is something that is driven by and decided by the people of Scotland, not by politicians.

Nicola Sturgeon has precisely seized upon the essence of the issue. Instead of responding to demands for an immediate referendum that are all but entirely a product of the British establishment’s propaganda machine, she is acutely aware that the real issue is our right of self-determination. It is the right of the people of Scotland to be the ultimate authority in relation to the constitutional status of their nation that must be affirmed and defended.

I am at a loss to understand why Pete Wishart is taking his lead from the unionist narrative rather than from a party leader who clearly has a firm grasp on the situation. I accept that it is necessary to emphasise the SNP’s standing as the only credible party of government in Scotland. But I see no reason why this should require talking down the party’s role as the political arm of the independence movement.

The people of Scotland are not stupid. They are perfectly capable of understanding this dual role.

If the SNP is to be the spearhead of the independence movement, it’s senior figures should not be confirming unionist drivel about a “once in a generation” promise. They should be treating it with the derision it deserves.

They should not be allowing unionists to set contrived constraints on the Scottish Government’s right to demand a referendum on behalf of the people of Scotland. They should be forcefully arguing the case that a democratically elected Scottish Government ALWAYS has that right.

They should not be allowing that the right of self-determination can be limited by the text of a party election leaflet. They should be insisting that this right is absolute and inalienable.


About Peter A Bell

Thinker. Listener. Talker. Reader. Writer. None of my attitudes are immutable. None of my conclusions are final. None of my opinions are humble.
This entry was posted in Politics and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Wrong narrative

  1. jamie vint says:

    As far as I can remember, the once in a generation statement was a comment expressing a personal opinion made by Alex Salmond, and was not then , or ever has been S.N.P policy, It’s almost as ridiculous as trying to hold the conservative party to stand by the comments made by a certain Margaret Thatcher concerning the S.N.P not needing a referendum to gain independence, merely a majority of M.P’s elected to the Westminster parliament.


  2. daibhidhdeux says:

    If Mr Wishart intimated this, his coat goes on to a very shooglie peg.

    The sovereign will of the citizenry of Scotland is paramount; our servants at WM and Holyrood just that with our FM and MSPs in the re-constituted Scots parliament outranking the 56 at WM – the latter had better not get any ideas above their station in this respect as they are subject to our will and it via our elected government at Holyrood and should be perpetually on re-call status especially after the incoming Holyrood results and until we, the Scots electorate, tell them any differently.

    This is non-negotiable.

    I hope and trust Mr Wishart has mis-expressed himself as I have a great deal of time for him. Mr Sheppard et al, also.

    However, they need to get a very firm grasp on their status within the Scottish democratic-constitutional pecking order wherein they are of a vital but subsidiary layer regardless of how much WM’s affectations may seek to infect them.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. BampotsUtd.wordpress.com says:

    a feel we are doing the right thing with the indy topic kick in to touch get our breath back watch Europe then in 2020 go for it via manifesto for 2021 or 22 our gov is patching up the Tory cuts well and we are helping the rest of the nations just now via opposing the cuts so we are being supportive and giving unionists a chance to see what the union is really about a self serving robbing cabal so its just a case of waiting and seeing how things eu wise unfold nicky has stated its a game changer on indy2 so its time to chill and plan the steps ahead ,we all want indy 2 but we have to choice the time with our heads and not our heart its a gamble a second ref so we have to play our cards right or the evil westmonster will kick the idea into touch for a generation if we have 2 no wins we have to have good polls for it to and a labour gov could mean a fairer deal to

    south want out of Europe Scotland wants indyref2 if this happens this is one to hold to before judgment its a game of poker against the evil empire ! keep the faith and keep the heid !

    Liked by 1 person

    • scottovoce says:

      We cannot afford to ease up on the constitutional issue. The British establishment would like nothing better than to be able to portray it as a dead issue that people had lost interest in.

      There is too much focus on a manifesto “commitment” to second referendum. The immediate issue is our right of self determination. And the best way to affirm that right of self-determination is to campaign for a second independence referendum. That is what Nicola Sturgeon has asked for. She wants cler public demand for another vote. She wants the process to be driven by us. So let’s get on with it!


      Liked by 1 person

      • BampotsUtd.wordpress.com says:

        my own thoughts are the south will vote us out of eu so this is the time to me for nicky to act and push for it a understand the need for keeping it a topic and alive but am going with the official snp stance so we keep the momentum going we lead no in polls to so demand is there we just have to keep patient trust is a big part of it and social media the more we discuss it and its benefits to ,the manifesto thing is a red herring the torys want it out so they can say yous dont have mandate but scotland voting stay in eu and westmonster taking us out is the one as Murdoch everyday blames eu migration rules for prejudice south to blame someone other than westmonster so its a yes for out devo in the euref as they listen to msm so its looking good but all discussion blogging and anything pro indy2 is good until then !


  4. BampotsUtd.wordpress.com says:

    Reblogged this on Bampots Utd.


  5. BampotsUtd.wordpress.com says:

    a for got to add most polls have yes slightly ahead !

    Liked by 1 person

  6. bjsalba says:

    As far as I am concerned the “Once in a generation” is on a par with “The Vow”. If we don’t get “the most powerful devolved government” delivered IN FULL, then once in a generation is irrelevant.


  7. For the SNP, campaigning for independence was never a fad or a gimmick. Independence is at the core of SNP beliefs, the rock on which all else is built. So I get somewhat irritated by those who accuse the party of going soft on independence, back pedalling, or becoming too cosy at Westminster. The SNP has a clear strategy but tricky routes to negotiate to reach its goal. This is not a game, nor is it something that can be rushed. As the Scottish government, the SNP has to ensure Scotland is in as fit a state as possible economically before another referendum – otherwise the unionists will bring out all the scare stories again. It is forging relationships abroad, building trade links, trying to grow the economy at a time of austerity, ensuring we have the health and well educated folk to run a new country. After years of wealth being siphoned from us, the government has to put Scotland on a firm footing for what lies ahead. All that takes time. Some of us have waited a lifetime for indy. But it seems others are reluctant to wait months.

    We need to show some trust as well as patience. And we need to remember that the road to indy will not be driven by the SNP but by members and supporters continuing to persuade fellow Scots of the need for it. If that drive is successful, then whether or not another referendum is mentioned in the May manifesto or not is much less important.

    Liked by 1 person

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