Came across a great wee programme on the BBC world service the other night – kids asking science questions. One was “why do we have five fingers on each hand”. Elementary my dear wean – we need ten digits through which to view either the Scottish football team, or Scottish politics.
I’ve never been entirely sure whether our footy is a metaphor for our politics or vice versa. Both have an unfortunate habit of missing open goals. And now that the tartan army has at last good reason to boogie (am awaiting cosmetic surgery to take the grin off my coupon), let us contemplate where we are – or aren’t – in what I fervently hope is the future defining independence fixture.
It’s no secret, and certainly no surprise, that the mass Indy movement comprises different tribes with different priorities. Broad churches and all that. However what is perfectly scunnering is the lack of focus in some quarters; the notion that if an independent nation fails your personal purity test, then it can’t be worth having. Better Boris than the “wrong” kind of new nation. Set up the team in my preferred formation or I’m taking the ba’ hame. Self indulgent mince.
To that particular posse I’d say; if your fidelity to the over arching goal of statehood is so flimsy and fairweather then please get off the pitch. Stop riding your own hobby horses over other people’s dreams. Ultimately the Scottish electorate will fashion the destiny the majority favour. They call it democracy. Meanwhile could you please at least await the arrival of the pram before chucking your toys around.
This shouldn’t be a news flash, but there are folks all over the pro Indy movement whose views can’t be neatly filed as left or right, woke or unwoke. Like most of the human race, they can be pro this yet anti that. What one thing binds the true believers together is that Scotland will be a better nation when it controls its own destiny. It will no longer have to throw good taxpayers’ money after rank bad and punitive Westminster policies on social security, immigration or anything else..
Never forget the Scottish body politic can be remoulded according to personal inclination post Indy. Those indy inclined Tories – and there are a few more of them than you might think – can vote for the party whose prospectus appeals. Those indy supporting Labourites – and there are masses of them – may try to rebuild their party’s fortunes. The Greens can concentrate on their principal agenda, and the Lib Dems might even rediscover their historical commitment to Home Rule.
And then there’s the SNP. Clearly its founding mission will have been accomplished. Yet I’m guessing it will remain on the park as a social democratic entity, shorn of some adherents on left and right, but perhaps attracting some left of centre erstwhile unionists. Whatever. The point is there is all to play for. There is the glittering prize of Scotland at last getting a fully sovereign government it votes for. The Euros and the World Cup finals rolled into one.
FIRST PUBLISHED IN THE NATIONAL
Yet it’s not just the indy supporting voting tribes which need urgent focus, but the indy supporting government too. Several clocks stand at a minute to midnight right now. We have the Brexit express coming down the track like the night train to total disaster.
Amongst the things it can threaten and destroy are many months of pandemic planning. Not to mention the safe delivery of vaccines. And huge swathes of Scottish businesses and industry. Plus we have the internal market wrecking ball about to be swung at the very foundations of Holyrood.
There was a flutter in the doo’cots yesterday at an interview in the Sunday National with Westminster SNP leader Ian Blackford suggesting the Scottish government would be staging a second Independence referendum next year. I wonder. For one thing Blackford’s government still seem wedded to the Section 30 course. That door has been knocked on so long, it must be in need of some serious joinery.
For another it plays into the much repeated fiction that Westminster currently wields an effective veto. That is a matter yet to be legally determined and is currently been taken through the courts by Martin Keatings’ People’s Action on Section 30.
This move to determine Scotland’s right to hold such a referendum irrespective of London’s view is likely to be heard in January. One of the reasons the hearing has been long delayed is that the Scottish government suddenly withdrew from the action requiring much revision of the documentation. This does not give me huge cause for comfort.
Let’s suppose the court comes down in favour of a Johnson veto. We would be no worse off than now. And if Keatings wins on our behalf there is no further need, as the Wee Ginger Dug often observes, to tuck another mandate behind the clock on the mantelpiece.
Mr Blackford, in the course of his interview, asserted that the SNP cohort in the Commons had become “a thorn in the side of the UK government.” So much of a thorn, that the chamber ostentatiously empties whenever he or his troops get up to make a perfectly valid point. Not his fault, but a serial embarrassment to our nation.
What IS a thorn in the Johnson administration’s side is a series of polls taken in Scotland where the Scottish electorate is now consistently indicating a majority favour independence. Not least because that self same London administration is busy demonstrating that a piss up in a brewery would be too challenging to organise. To describe the Number Ten shenanigans this last week as a soap opera is a serious calumny to well crafted episodic drama.
The latest polling also suggests that voters, of all political persuasions and none, believe that Holyrood and its limited powers are in imminent danger of being bludgeoned to near death. Never mind appealing to the Ref. Get up the park and stick a couple past their goalie. He seems a wee thing distracted right now.