It’s been a busy week in British nationalist panic. You’d almost think that they were terrified that their precioussss is slipping away from them and there’s nothing they can do to stop it. Oh wait. That’s exactly what it is.
However there are obstacles being placed in the way of the indy movement in entirely unhelpful ways by people who are ostensibly on our side. Stewart McDonald, the SNP MP for Selfrighteousness, had a stab at doing the British nationalists’ job for them with an entirely unnecessary sneer at “Commonweal types” whom he claimed were being silent about the theft of democracy in Belarus. Plenty of “Commonweal types” have discussed the situation in Belarus, however they’re rather more concerned about the theft of democracy in the UK and Scotland.
While we are faced with a British Government which baldly states that it will not respect the outcome of the next Scottish elections, the biggest threat to Scottish independence right now is the splits and divisions within the independence movement. Perhaps Stewart would do well to remember that the next time he feels the urge to open his attention seeking gob and crowbar those splits open even wider.
I decided to take a wee break from blogging because it is exhausting trying to keep this movement of ours together. So it’s annoying in the extreme to find that the flames of division are being fueled by an SNP MP over yet another issue which has nothing to do with Scottish independence. While it’s vanishingly unlikely that Nicola Sturgeon will announce tomorrow that she’s going full tilt for another referendum this year, if anyone from her office is reading this, you could do the unity of the indy movement, and my mental health, a huge favour by having a wee word in Stewart’s ear and telling him to STFU. Thanks in advance.
Back in out and out Britnatteryland, we learned that Jackie Baillie has been propounding the mad conspiracy theory that the only reason that Aberdeen went into lockdown again was in order to deflect media attention from unhappiness about the SQA results. Which if true has been remarkably unsuccessful because our SNPbad media has banged on about little else all week. Trying to distract the Scottish media from an SNPbad story is an exercise in futility up there with the election prospects of the Labour party in Scotland. It must be said though that Jackie’s judgement was always a bit suspect. The branch office’s decision to double down on her hardline unionism when 40% of their remaining voters support independence is the electoral equivalent of leaping out of an airplane and hoping to find a parachute somewhere on the way down. However the really surprising thing here was that Jackie Baillie has shown herself to be a David Icke type, when all this time everyone had thought she was one of the lizard people.
Meanwhile the Labour group Scottish Fabians has come up with a wizzard wheeze to save the Union. Despite taking the name of the Labour Fabian Society which has been in existence since before WW1, the Scottish Fabians were only set up in 2012 explicitly in order to campaign for a no vote. Now that they’ve realised that they’d lose another vote, they’re looking at ways to ensure that they can pauchle things while maintaining a veneer of selfrighteous superiority. Clearly they’ve been taking lessons in presentation from Stewart McDonald.
The plan being aired is for a new “Act of Union” which would enshrine the result of the 2014 referendum and make it illegal for the Scottish Parliament to hold a new independence referendum within 30 years of the last one. Additionally a two thirds majority would be required in order for independence to pass. This means that Yes could achieve 65% in the next referendum and No only 35%, but No would still win. There’s democracy for you, Labour in Scotland style. However there wouldn’t be any need for a 2/3 majority in a referendum to ask the people whether they wished to accept this undemocratic new “Act of Union”, because there wouldn’t be a referendum about it at all. This isn’t so much an Act of Union as an act of utter desperation.
Surprise surprise that 2014 referendum whose result is to be enshrined until 2044 would itself have failed to clear the hurdles set by this proposal, but that doesn’t matter because it produced the result that British nationalists wanted. Although it needs to be pointed out here that the Scottish Fabians are not nationalist at all, because they’re British.
Over on the Tory side of the British nationalist panicfest, arch Britnat martyr journo Stephen Daisley – who is, remarkably, still a thing – has proposed a Conservative version of a new “Act of Union”. The plan would strip the Scottish Parliament of the power to hold a referendum on independence and enshrine in law that a vote in a Holyrood election can never be recognised as giving a mandate for another indyref. He explicitly rejects the Scottish Claim of Right. Additionally he wants the provision that Westminster does not normally legislate on devolved matters to be scrapped, along with the permanence of Holyrood. The proposal represents a naked power grab several orders of magnitude larger than anything that the Conservatives have attempted to date.
Even Stephen recognises that it will outrage Scottish public opinion, but he doesn’t care. The lesson for Scotland in this new Act is that Scottish public opinion doesn’t count, and the results of Scottish elections will only count as long as they don’t threaten the power of the British state. This isn’t a new Act of Union, but an Act of Conquest. If the British nationalists ever wanted to throw petrol on the fire of the independence debate, Stephen has just shown them how to do it.
However the biggest Britnat panic over the past week has been in the Scottish Conservative leadership. Ruth Davidson’s protestations that she was an innocent bystander as Jackson Carlaw [checks notes] entirely of his own free will and without any prompting decided to stand down as leader have been shown to be as convincing as Donald Trump’s tan. And likewise they leave a nasty stain on anything that they touch. We now know that Ruth entirely concidentally visited Douglas Ross a few days before Jackson Carlaw’s announcement, and that a website launching his leadership bid was registered before the announcement was made.
Ruth announced last week that she’s accepting a peerage because she wants to make the House of Lords a more democratic place. Which is a bit like slaughtering cattle in the name of veganism. Since Douglas Ross doesn’t have a seat in Holyrood, Ruth will be taking over SNPbad duties until the next election. She’ll now be telling Nicola Sturgeon about how important it is to respect the result of the vote in 2014 after she herself made sure that the Scottish Conservative leadership vote was overturned because it wasn’t to her liking and after ensuring that she can continue to legislate without ever having to be accountable to the voters ever again. So that’s not hypocritical of her at all, oh no.
The name Douglas Ross always makes me think of a broken down lighthouse on a barren and bleak rock, lost in a raging storm far out to sea. Which is a pretty good metaphor for the Scottish Conservatives, come to think of it. Douglas’s job as Scottish Tory leader isn’t even his second job, as he has no intention of giving up his seat as an MP or his real career as fitba referee – which he took on because he felt he wasn’t getting enough hate as a Tory politician. And he’s started as he intends to go on, with gaffes, missteps, and unforced errors. In his first pronouncement as new leader he conceded defeat in the next Scottish elections to the SNP, when he said that his goal was for the Tories to be a strong opposition. They can’t even manage that much. They’ve been so inept this week that even the Labour party in Scotland is feeling sorry for them.
The real reason that Jackson was fired and Douglas annointed is because the Tories know that they’re going to lose the next Scottish elections. They hope that by attempting to shift attention from the independence issue, they can claim that the next Holyrood elections are not really about another independence referendum at all, and then use that spurious and desperate reasoning as a rationale to deny another independence referendum. Their problems however are threefold. Firstly they can’t stop other parties from making the election about another independence referendum, and if those parties win then it’s irrelevant what the Tories have campaigned on.
More seriously for the Conservatives however, they can only convincingly defeat the SNP on other issues if they themselves have a better policy. Unfortunately for them we can all see what’s happening with Conservative policies in England where the Tories do enjoy power and few in Scotland are going to be convinced. It’s not like the SNP have to get over a very high bar in order to do better than Boris Johnson. Additionally they’re going to struggle to attract the votes of people who are opposed to independence, but who are not Conservatives. In other words they’ve looked at the mistake that the SNP made in the 2017 General Election and decided “We’ll have some of that.”
But most seriously of all, at the end of this year the UK will exit the EU transitional period and the full force of Brexit will be felt. Even if a deal is cobbled together, which is looking less and less likely, there will still be a negative economic impact which will come on top of the economic damage done by the pandemic. It’s the Tories who will get the blame for that. By spring next year, remain voters in Scotland will be clear that there is only one way to get a closer relationship with the EU, and that’s with independence. For years now I’ve been saying that British nationalists can have Brexit, or they can have their precioussss union, but they can’t have both. Next year that comes home to roost for the Scottish Conservatives.
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