How many more times must we be subjected to some posturing intellectual ponderously informing us that “the movement is not the party” as if they were revealing some great truth rather than flogging the arse off a straw man that was long since reduced to a pitiful scattering of chaff?
But at least that little gobbet of glibness makes some kind of sense. Which is more than can be said for the following paragraph.
“But the current impasse has partly emerged due to the SNP’s shift towards a central focus on holding an independence referendum. This is a policy that is widely regarded as having been pivotal in offering a route for voters sceptical of independence to back the party in other electoral contests.”
I’ve read that a dozen times now. But for all the superficial cleverness of the words, I still can’t squeeze any meaning out of that second sentence. To be fair, that may be due to the difficulty of getting past the grotesque fallacy of the first sentence. In the world most of us inhabit, it is the British parties and their accomplices in the media who have been obsessing about a new independence referendum, while the SNP tried to focus on the topics that the British parties and the British media were so desperate to divert attention from – austerity and Brexit.
The fact that the author chooses to run with the narrative pushed by British nationalists is very much in keeping with the tone of the piece. A pompous, lecturing, hectoring tone we have become painfully familiar with from those sections of the Yes movement which find it convenient to blame the SNP for perceived or imagined failings of the independence campaign so as to avoid the need to acknowledge their own part in hindering progress towards independence.
Because this embracing of the anti-SNP narrative of unionist propaganda is hardly unusual. It is to be found everywhere the self-appointed priesthood of the Yes movement are given a platform to peddle their high-minded sermons about how the rest of us are doing it all wrong. One thing the independence movement has never lacked, especially it became significant enough to attract the attention of poll-pondering technocrats, controversialist poseurs and righteous radicals, are people telling how we’re talking to the wrong people, in the wrong places, about the wrong things, at the wrong time and in the wrong way.
And, of course, the SNP is always a favourite target for these snipers from the sidelines. The more the party wins, the more the Yes movement’s cadre of carpers find reasons to criticise and condemn. In some sort of Orwellian process, success becomes failure. Progress becomes retreat. Every advance is perversely interpreted as a retreat. An attitude that is almost entirely explained by a deep-seated aversion to effective political power. An aversion which overwhelms any ambition whose realisation is ultimately dependent on effective political power and leaves in its place a willingness to settle for the tawdry garlands of honourable defeat in preference to the weighty responsibilities that come with achieving a goal as momentous as restoring Scotland’s rightful constitutional status.
There is ample evidence of the corrosive attitude to the SNP that infects a small but very vocal part of the Yes movement. Here is one example that speaks volumes about this self-defeating antipathy towards the movement’s crucial political arm.
“Electoral success is also the best means to smooth over internal dissent. The almost mythic discipline of the party in Holyrood and Westminster can partly be attributed to the fact that it has been able to distribute an expanding set of front-bench and committee posts for a decade.”
Here is a paragraph redolent with a bitterness towards the SNP barely distinguishable from that which suffuses the rhetoric of the British parties in Scotland. Granted, the author only “partly” attributes the SNP’s internal discipline – acidly described as “almost mythic” – to patronage. But why comment in such a vein at all? Why not remark, instead, on the vastly more significant explanation for this discipline – the fact that the party has a unifying purpose in it unequivocal, unconditional, unwavering commitment to the cause of bringing Scotland’s government home?
One can’t help but suspect that this resentment is occasioned in both those who attack the independence movement from outside and those who undermine it from within by an identical appreciation of the SNP’s critical role in levering Scotland out of the union.
If you find these articles interesting, please consider a small donation.
All monies received are used in furtherance of the campaign
to restore Scotland’s rightful constitutional status.