No more Mr Nice Jock!

Why did nobody think of it before? How could it not have occurred to anybody that it would be a good idea to have “an honest assessment of why we lost so many SNP MPs last year”? It seems so obvious once somebody says it. Once it’s pointed out, it seems truly remarkable that nobody in the party has properly reflected on the outcome of the 2017 UK general election.

Not a single person in the SNP has noted that it was a snap election for which the party was ill-prepared. Nor that this made it no different from any other party. It wouldn’t be a snap election if everybody was expecting it.

Nobody recognised that, because this factor was common to all parties, it could not satisfactorily explain any effects that were unique or particular to the SNP. Nobody realised the implication of this – that the SNP vote was especially vulnerable.

It’s startling that it’s taken eight months, and today’s urging from Pete Wishart, before anybody was moved to examine the reasons for this vulnerability. You’d think somebody might have remarked on the fact that last year’s result for the SNP was only a major decline when compared to the 2015 landslide. You’d think somebody might have suggested that such a comparison makes no sense. You’d think somebody might have pointed out that comparing these two results was like comparing coal to diamond.

It is astounding that nobody in the SNP analysed the outcome of the 2017 UK general election thoroughly enough to have noticed that, by all meaningful measures, the party came out of that election in exactly the same position as when it went in. Still a clear majority of MPs from Scotland. Still more seats than all the British parties in Scotland combined. Still the third largest party at Westminster. In terms of what matters within the British political system, the SNP hadn’t lost anything. If only we’d had that “honest assessment” we’d be aware of this.

Notwithstanding the fact that, by any halfway dispassionate analysis the SNP’s result in the 2017 election was a resounding victory, it is reasonable to ask about the factors in that election which exclusively or mainly impacted the SNP. Again, it is incredible that after such a length of time we need prompting from Pete Wishart to conduct this basic analysis.

And it’s not as if it is all that difficult to identify the factors which particularly affected the SNP vote. The party’s failure to get its vote out is, perhaps, the most obvious. Had we got around to this “honest assessment” earlier we might have found the explanation for this in such things as ‘election fatigue’ and a somewhat muted campaign.

Had we not inexplicably neglected the kind of review now being called for by Pete Wishart, we might already have discovered the ‘tactical voting’ by British Nationalists. We might have properly recognised the part played by the British media. We might have realised that the entire election was effectively a contest between the SNP and the British parties, with the latter enjoying ready access to the resources of the British state.

Had we not been in a state of catatonic torpor for the past eight months we might have given the 2017 election result some thought. And we might have concluded that, all things considered, it wasn’t such a bad result for the SNP. Having taken from the campaign whatever lessons were there to be learned, we would then have been able to move on to matters of more immediate importance. We wouldn’t be sitting shame-faced as Pete Wishart points out how remiss we’ve been. We might even be wishing he’d raised the matter earlier.

What are these matters of more immediate importance? Not, I would suggest, a prolonged internal “conversation” within the SNP. Important as restructuring and reorganisation certainly is, we simply don’t have time for any self-indulgence. The threat to Scotland’s democracy is imminent. We have to address that threat now. If there is one thing we need it’s a sense of urgency. I’m not getting that from Pete Wishart.

On the issue of the EU, for example, we find Pete Wishart talking about a process for independent Scotland “rejoining the European Union”. He appears to have resigned himself to the democratic will of Scotland’s people being treated with utter contempt by the British state. I expect nothing else from the British political elite. But I expect better from our elected representatives. I expect them to respect the fact that Scotland voted Remain by a decisive margin. Not ‘Rejoin’! Remain! The first priority of Scottish politicians must be to stand up for Scotland. They should be resisting the British establishment’s efforts to undermine and delegitimise our democratic institutions. Not fretting about how the damage might be mitigated afterwards.

It is true that we need to “design a roadmap” for a new independence referendum. But that roadmap must take account of the rather significant fact that the British state is determined to prevent such a referendum ever taking place. And that Brexit offers an ideal opportunity for a constitutional redefining of the UK which would seek to lock Scotland into the Union.

We don’t only need a ‘roadmap’. We need a timetable. A schedule which takes due account, not only of what we want to achieve, but of what the British establishment will be doing to stop us.

Who could disagree that, whether we’re talking about the SNP or the independence movement as a whole, we “need to be more agile and nimble in response to the quickly changing Scottish political environment”. But, again, this lacks the necessary sense of urgency. We don’t just need to be better at responding to the machinations of the British state and its propaganda machine, we need to be more proactive. We need to be more adept at setting the agenda and pre-empting the intrigues of British political elite, as well as more prompt and vigorous in dealing with the distortions, disinformation, smears and lies peddled by the British media.

What we most certainly do not need is a new vision for independence. The case for restoring Scotland’s independence is made. It doesn’t change. It hasn’t changed in any significant aspect since the Union was imposed on Scotland over three centuries ago. It is a straightforward matter of constitutional justice.

While restating the constitutional case is, of course, an essential part of the independence campaign, it is not enough. We need something more. Arguably, we have already won over all the people who might be attracted by our positive vision for Scotland. What is required now is that we open people’s eyes to the negative implications for Scotland of remaining bound to the British state.

As an ordinary party member, what I want to hear from candidates for Depute Leader of the SNP is, not platitudinous pieties about ‘conversations’, but pragmatic proposals for confronting a British political elite whose malign intent towards Scotland becomes more explicit with every passing day.


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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.
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28 Responses to No more Mr Nice Jock!

  1. TSD says:

    Reblogged this on Ramblings of a 50+ Female.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree with the main thrust of all of this. The one exception is the idea that there was no analysis of where the snap election result left the SNP — I read comments and articles everywhere (but don’t ask me for references!) saying that despite the Britnat media crowing about a “great victory for Ruth Davidson, the SNP had indeed largely maintained its position in Scotland and Westminster.

    I agree that the gloves should come off. In the last election campaign we were indeed too apologetic and too ready to downplay the British Nationalist-inspired second referendum whining. Our response on the doorsteps and in writing should not have been “this election isn’t about Scottish independence”. We should have been replying to every referendum whine with “if Scottish independence is so bad for Scotland, why are only the London-based British parties and media behaving as if they’re frightened of it?”

    We should also be facing up squarely to the possibility that a weak government like May’s is likely to react with violence — troops on the streets — as soon as they smell defeat. I hope that behind the scenes, contingency plans are being made to address that eventuality. The EU (while we’re in it) and the UN must be made aware, and constantly reminded, that despite the many parallels between Catalunya and Scotland, constitutionally the legal status of Scotland within the UK is different.

    Liked by 4 people

    • John Gibson says:

      Why comprehensive analysis
      Get on the front door and not on the back ff
      Oot and cover every eventuality (Europe included)

      Liked by 2 people

  3. geacher says:

    “Hasn’t lost anything” Hahahahahahaha ”
    “Wasn’t a bad result for the SNP” Ooh stop it, you’re making my sides ache.
    You lost 21 MPs and half a million votes. It was a bloody disaster for you guys.

    Like

  4. Hugh Wallace says:

    Bravo. The sarcasm is strong in this one.

    As derekballcomposer says, we – the SNP – should be making every single election about independence and the case for independence. I did not start voting SNP in 1994 so that they could run a nice, non-confrontational government or local council in Scotland which remains part of the UK. I vote SNP because I want an independent Scotland out from under the thumb (well, boot) of Westminster and, quite frankly, I’d accept considerably less competent government closer to home to achieve that end.

    The fact that the current SNP government are doing such a good job leading Scotland may be part of the reason why the drive for independence is not stronger. The ‘I’m alright, Jacks’ are indeed, alright, under the present system (myself included).

    Just a thought…

    Liked by 4 people

    • geacher says:

      “I’d accept considerably less competent government….” Well you certainly have that, and the Tories have set a very high bar for incompetence.
      Over three years after the referendum, and still no currency plan. Still no notion as to how we would cope with the loss of the fiscal transfer. Still the highest GDP deficit in Europe. Still the lowest projected growth of ANY EU country. Education standards still falling, the police still in disarray. And where is Andrew Wilson’s economic plan which was finished last March?
      A good job? Where, exactly?

      Like

      • Where exactly are the SNP administration doing a good job? Well if you only rely on the British Nationalist press and broadcast media, you’ll never know! Inform yourself and stop repeating unionist soundbites.

        Liked by 3 people

      • Hugh Wallace says:

        It is a very strange world, devoid of reality, where black is white and v.v., that some unionists inhabit. Weird.

        Liked by 1 person

      • geacher says:

        Well last time I looked, Audit Scotland, PISA, SSLN, GERS, Fraser Of Allander, Institute of Fiscal Studies were neither British Nationalist Press nor broadcast media. You need to extract your head from the sand.
        21 MPs and 500,000 votes lost is not a Bobby Ewingesque dream, but reality. Support for the SNP and independence is falling. Independence ain’t gonna happen.

        Like

      • Come on Geacher, cherry-picking statistics can make a victory look like a defeat if you’re really determined to distort reality. Did the SNP lose the last election? — no. Did Ruth Davidson win a “great victory” by gaining a few seats? — no.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hugh Wallace says:

        Geacher, you do realise that people like you coming & posting on pro-Indy/pro-SNP sites & telling us how badly we are losing only serves to convince people like me that you believe we are indeed winning. Otherwise why would you waste your valuable time & intellect on trying to convince a decreasing bunch of deluded losers that we are done as a political movement? If we really are done just sit back & watch our dying twitches. I mean, that is exactly why I’m not busy on pro-Labour sites telling everyone how Corbyn/whoever the Scottish leader is this week (delete applicable) is a complete waste of space. Think about it. If you can.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Geacher says:

        Cherry picking statistics? The SNP DID lose 21 seats -and some big hitters also- AND 500,000 votes thanks to Sturgeon’s gamble on the so called brexit bounce…. another .8% of a swing and you would have lost a further 3 seats, but she doesn’t learn, does she? All sensible people realise that a bad brexit fot the UK is a bad brexit for Scotland, and Sturgeon would get much more plaudits (and votes, IMHO) if she stopped the constant niggling and got behind WM and became a force for the good.Oh, and Russel threatening to release the leaked papers earlier this week cost you another raft of votes.
        Face up to the facts. Support for Indy and another referendum is dwindling.
        Oh, and you lost your majority in Holyrood and polls show your vote falling further in both Scottish elections AND the next GE.
        Cherry picking?

        Like

      • I loved the bit about getting behind WM and becoming a force for good. Britnat Brexiteer GERS-quoting trolls are a laugh a minute!

        Liked by 2 people

      • Geacher says:

        GERS is an official Scottish National Party run Scottish Government publication. If you doubt the authenticity, you doubt your own party..

        Like

      • GERS is a yearly report produced by civil servants according to a flawed UK blueprint. It’s not in any way a party political document, and the SNP, far from endorsing it, is obliged to point out its serious shortcomings each time it’s used by BritNats to “prove” something about the Scottish economy which it doesn’t.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ed says:

        UK trollopdim. Everything better in Scotland with devolved governance. Just make SCOTLAND independent, siblings in the struggle,…

        Liked by 1 person

      • Geacher says:

        @Derekball “SNP, far from endorsing it…” What? Salmond in the Scottish White Paper On Independence… “GERS is the authoritative guide to the finances of Scotland,” and he also references GERS a further 14 (that’s *FOURTEEN*!) times in the same document. That’s endorsing it.With added balls. ANd the Civil servants are SG employees, and the SG take full responsibility for the publication. Go on to their website, it will tell you that.

        Like

      • Peter A Bell says:

        Newcomers to this site should be aware that this character is as dishonest and ignorant as any British Nationalist fanatic. The words he puts in quotes do not appear anywhere in Scotland’s Future. The 14 mentions of GERS includes table captions. There’s about half that number of actual references to GERS.

        The most significant word associated with GERS is “estimate”. The figures in GERS are NOT produced by civil servants employed by the Scottish Government, They are produced by UK agencies such as ONS and OBR.

        You’d be well advised to ignore this trolling pest.

        Liked by 2 people

      • GERS is still not a reliable guide to anything Geacher. That’s enough troll-jousting for now. You’re obviously either resident in England, or if you live in Scotland you’re so emotionally programmed for dependence on a neighbouring country that you can only see arguments that agree with that limited view of the world. Gook luck!

        Like

      • Geacher says:

        From ScotGov GERS web page:
        “The Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland (GERS) web area provides information on the annually published GERS report. GERS is compiled by statisticians and economists in the Office of the Chief Economic Adviser of the Scottish Government. The Scottish Government’s Chief Statistician takes responsibility for this publication.”
        So Mr Bell, you were saying?
        I am assuming that you wall have a copy of the White Paper On Independence. Turn to page 67, and there it is: “GERS is the authoritative publication on Scotland’s public finances”
        So Mr Bell, you were saying (part 2)
        @Derek. I am neither. I am just someone that right here, right now, realises that it Scotland were to independent, we would be in the deep brown smelly stuff. Thanks for your time.

        Like

      • Peter A Bell says:

        See what I mean? The dolt doesn’t even know what “compiled” means. And less intellectually bereft readers will note that the words this lying buffoon now cites are NOT the ones originally referred to. Dishonest and stupid. The two main attributes of the british nationalist fanatic.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Geacher says:

        Authoritative: “reliable, dependable, trustworthy, good, sound, authentic, valid, well founded, attested, certified, verifiable”
        Compiled: “assemble, put together, make up, collate, compose, marshal, organize, arrange, sort out, systematize, systemize, anthologize”
        (full) Responsibility: duty, task, function, job, role, place, charge, business, onus, burden, liability, accountability, answerability, province”
        There we go, English lesson over.
        Bluff your way out of that one.

        Like

      • grizebard says:

        All under the management of your miserable Union. Take the blame. We’re wanting something better, cringemeister.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I read and hear many folk saying the SNP should do this, that and the next thing. But really what is needed is for our 120,000 or so activists to get out and campaign. I sense a feelig of frustration amongst activists that so much is happening over which we seem to have no control or say. They want to campaign but are waiting for the spark from the high heid yins to set their campaign alight. Without that they feel unsure of exactly what they should be campaigning on, what tack to take on Brexit. Then there’s the long-awaited Growth Report. No point in printing leaflets if that comes out and contradicts what we have run on.

    I realise the Brexit game is a long one, and one on which May and her Tories are keeping us in the dark. But surely there is some kind of independence-based message we can run on to let us get out there and campaign rather than leaving all the running to the Tories. The Tory shenanigans over Brexit has turned folk off, made them lethargic, and they are turning to other interests in their life. We need to find a way of reigniting their flame. Perhaps the Depute leader contest will do that, but it will take some new dynamism, a sea of enthusiasm, along with a determination to move things forward to make a difference.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Ed says:

      My thinking is that it takes a good blank face to Westnonsense post EU-referenda. Holyrood leads as does the Oirachteas, and we kin all be refocussing with Danes, Swedes, Belgians, Dutch, French, etc, all alike in northwest Europe. Westminster is such a hated blott causing anemia for all with sense, we can shine a bright-eye northwest European guiding lighthouse for the globe to comprehend.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Alan Magnus-Bennett says:

    So far as the 2017 mis-election is concerned then hindsight is a wonderful thing even where Peter Wishart is concerned. That said, I think his piece in the National today is an excellent comment and analysis on what is necessary and what needs to be done over what is left of 2018.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. murren59 says:

    READ. AGREED. MEMED. SHARED.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. benmadigan says:

    ‘election fatigue’ – everything you need to know about “voting fatigue” or “electionitis” and how to get over it!
    Go on – make the supreme effort – you can do it! You know you’re worth it! https://eurofree3.wordpress.com/2017/03/02/referendumvoting-fatigue-also-known-as-electionitis/

    Liked by 1 person

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